Be part of the in-crowd and receive exclusive party invitations and fabulous offers.SIGN UP WITH TATLER
Found on the first floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Central, the modern yet minimalist dining room is designed in tones of browns and blue-greens and is flanked by a bar area for aperitifs close to the entrance. There is the option of a private room at the opposite end of the room which can seat 14 though this is only sectioned off when in use. Elegant and comfortable pale blue-green armchairs flank well-spaced tables, equipped with impressive tableware and precise settings. A bar along one side of the restaurant allows for views into the kitchen, and reveals a presentation bar of oysters on ice.
Mandarin Grill serves Modern European cuisine with a twist, and offers a choice of a la carte, as well as two tasting menus. Following the serving of homemade sourdough and soft brioche rolls served with a choice of four different olive oils, and opting for the a la carte, it’s hard not to choose the signature starter of the Flower Pot which has established some renown. The intriguing dish is impressive not only in its presentation – it looks like it could have been taken out of someone’s garden rather than brought from the kitchen – but also in its combination of tastes and textures. The “soil” consists of blended rocket and spinach topped with black and white sesame seeds and pumpernickel bread crumbs while a light kombucha dressing is sprinkled from a silver watering can-shaped jug over organic vegetables including baby purple cauliflower, baby carrots planted in the “soil”, baby tomatoes and fresh green leaves. The impressive nature of the presentation is equalled in the quality of produce and innovative composition of the dish. The King Crab with uni and watercress starter is less dramatic in its presentation, resembling a large spring roll yet it is the most indulgent you might find. While the taste of uni is faint, the roll is lightly fried, not overly greasy and loaded with meaty crab. For main courses, the signature Beef dish is composed of beef two ways with short rib and rib eye beautifully presented. The rib eye is not as tender as might be expected but both beef cuts have good flavour – the short rib particularly buttery with a crisp edge. The Seabass is sustainably caught, in line with other seafood on the menu, and is well-seasoned and served with chicken jus and purees of Romaine lettuce and Girolle mushroom, as well as new potatoes topped with mushrooms in small onion boats – no detail left unattended. For dessert the raspberry soufflé is outstanding, presenting amazing textures – under the fluffy risen, light top, the soufflé is somehow smooth and creamy augmented by the accompanying sorbet. The baked cheese cake appears in a round wooden box as you would find a camembert and is rich in flavour yet surprisingly light in texture with an indulgent blueberry compote. To end, flora and fauna as the inspiration returns with a pot of edible sugar flowers, a green sponge moss and ladybird chocolates set amongst chocolate-coated nuts.
The wine list is a weighty tome with a broad range of bottles of all sizes from all the well-known wine producing regions as well as from ones of lesser renown. There is little under the HK$650 mark, but plenty for the big spenders in the five-figure range. By-the-glass offerings change frequently and a recommended Montreuse from Burgundy is delicious, fresh and crisp and a good accompaniment to the food.
Service from the get-go is excellent with staff greeting by name on arrival. Knowledge of the menu and the ingredients is impressive and a member of staff is never far away so guests are left wanting for nothing.
Tasting menus start from HK$1,688 per person excluding wine pairing. The a la carte is priced according to the number of courses and a three course meal for two comes in at just over HK$3,000. With the addition of wine the total is likely to be closer to HK$4,000.