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A place must be doing something right when it has been going strong for more than a decade and is full almost every night. Having one of the best views in town helps. Situated on the top floor of the Sheraton Hong Kong, diners have to ascend a short flight of stairs then walk through the Sky Lounge – which is a great spot for pre- or post-prandial drinks with views – to get to the restaurant. We are here on a Tuesday night and the place is filled with families, business people, couples and groups of friends, giving it a gentle buzz. The interiors won’t win any design prizes, with its nineties and noughties mix of neon lights, carpet with wine bottle and glass motifs, and blue stucco ceiling.
Like it says on the tin, oysters are the main attraction, with about 15-20 varieties available on any given day, shucked to order. The indecisive and the greedy should order the Oyster & Wine Bar seafood sampler, a generous pile of oysters, prawns, lobster, scampi, clams, whelks, scallops, salmon roe and sea urchin served on a bed of ice. A queen platter is enough for two to start and comes with four types of oysters, which on our visit includes American kumamotos, prized for its mild, briny and sweet flavour, and French La Royale Cabanon, which has a distinctive meaty taste and texture. Also good are juicy prawns from the South China Sea, while a portion of brown crab holds a large chunk of roe and innards, if that’s your thing. A small serve of salmon roe and sea urchin is an intense explosion of umami, though scallop sashimi topped with oscietra caviar is too cold, masking the delicate taste of the scallop. Another starter, a warm duo of crab cakes, although small, is composed almost entirely of US lump crab meat, with a smear of Louis sauce (think thousand island dressing) adding some tang. Carnivores are also well catered for, and we eye off a neighbouring table’s gigantic char-broiled Wagyu M4 tomahawk rib steak, hoping we might try it next time. The meal ends with a competent, old-school, toque-sized chocolate soufflé big enough for two.
The wine list is presented on an iPad and contains an extensive selection of champagnes, wines and spirits from around the world. A sommelier is on hand to answer questions and guide your selection. There are several reasonably-priced bottles of champagne that would go swimmingly with cold seafood.
Staff are mostly attentive and efficient and keen to answer any questions you may have. Food came out at a surprisingly slow pace, with some long waits in between courses.
Dinner for two with a glass of wine and plenty of fresh seafood and meat comes to about $2,200, which is fair