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St George is the type of restaurant where tai pans and rich old colonials used to spend their days enjoying roast beef, gin and tonics and vintage ports. The high vaulted ceilings, wooden trusses, crystal chandeliers and leather sofas recreate the atmosphere of a bygone era, but unfortunately on the evening we visit, the restaurant is half empty so the atmosphere is somewhat muted.
The food varied from delicious to slightly bland throughout the evening. We start with the tomato course: heritage tomato served eight ways with black garlic, basil and black oil caviar. Unfortunately, it sounds more interesting than it was, and the reality was a more akin to a tomato salad with a hefty price tag. We followed this with Hokkaido scallops with cauliflower vanilla purée and a pistachio and grape confit – the sauce was delicious and the scallops were tender and well cooked. The lobster bisque came next, served with juicy crystal blue prawns and chunky potatoes and was just spicy enough to warm up a cool winter’s night. For our main course, we also tried the pan-fried Challan duck with goji berries and spring onions, which was the highlight of the meal – smoky, tender and infused with Indian spices such as cardamom; it came with a side dish of smooth mashed potato and fresh vegetables and was a joy from start to finish. The dessert course was not as good as the rest of the meal: we were served a plate of pleasant but unmemorable cheeses with crackers and a somewhat stale banana cake with a good creamy banana ice cream on the side.
The sommelier was away on the night of our visit, but the headwaiter did an excellent job of providing us with wine to taste and recommendations for our meal. The wine list focuses on a classic but excellent Bordeaux/Burgundy selection, although there are limited options from the new world.
Attentive, warm and friendly without being overbearing, the service is excellent throughout. Whenever our glasses were empty, they are readily filled, yet we never feel hurried or overly watched, despite the lack of other clients.
While the setting is memorable and the service is excellent, the food doesn’t yet warrant the hefty price tag. A three-course meal for two with two glasses of wine each costs approximately HK$3,100.