Top 5 Bread Service
It’s safe to say that bread is often overlooked at many restaurants. One usually expects the standard dinner roll or stale “French” stick, so what a surprise it is when you’re presented with a basket, or even a trolley full of warm and beautifully shaped bread. Of course, there is the question of why restaurants should go through the trouble of providing a quality bread service when diners either fill up and order less, or avoid the bread basket entirely. However, we believe that it’s a sign of dedication and attention to detail when a restaurant not only makes their own bread, but offers it to their diners without hesitation. Here, we round up five restaurants where the bread alone is reason enough to visit.
Robuchon au Dôme
While a basket of bread presented prior to a proper meal will suffice for most diners, guests at Robuchon au Dôme in Macau are initiated into the “Robuchon treatment” with the magnificent rolling trolley of bread. One can only describe the scene as magical. A custom-designed trolley (the only one of its kind in Asia) towering with 18 varieties of bread is brought to your table, along with Jean-Yves Bordier butter mounted on a separate gueridon. It would be impossible to limit your bread selection to just one, so you may as well begin with their signature classic mini baguette, or the mini baguette with bacon and Pommery mustard, Parisian-style. Or choose from the perfectly constructed tomato focaccia, which resembles a chequer board, or listen to the sound of crusty bread as it’s being sliced from a whole round of pain au levain. With 20 bakers working around the clock in the restaurant, it’s worth noting that there’s a special section in the bakery kitchen specialising in bread just for the trolley. With this intense dedication to every detail, you can be assured that everything from the flour to butter has been carefully selected in order to craft the finest breads possible.
43/F Grand Lisboa Hotel, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau; +853 8803-7878.
At Caprice in the Four Seasons, diners are thoroughly pampered with thoughtfully prepared dishes from start to finish, beginning with the bread service. As a regular guest blogger for Hong Kong Tatler Dining, the restaurant’s resident pastry chef Gregoire Michaud has publicly professed his love for bread baking. Beautifully-shaped baguettes, rye boule, apricot pecan squares, kalamata olive rye loaf, and layered sesame brioche (all demi size) are offered during service. Except for the brioche, all the breads are based on a sourdough with a fermentation period of 18 hours, which results in wonderful flavour, an excellent crust, and a fine creamy crumb. It should also be noted that the mother dough used in the bread is seven years old, cultivated from wild yeast since the opening of the hotel. Due to the humidity in Hong Kong, timing is crucial in maintaining the freshness of the breads – at Caprice they are baked right before lunch and dinner service. Speaking of butter, not only is Bordier butter served, they’re also delicately hand-molded into perfect little pyramids before being flown in from France. While the decadent main courses are the reason most diners go to Caprice, one shouldn’t overlook the dedicated bread service.
6/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central; +852 3196-8860.
An American-style steak house by a French chef from New York City – with this description, diners may not know what to truly expect from BLT Steak in Tsim Sha Tsui. Although chef Laurent Tournodel heads quite a protein fueled menu, his former pastry chef days are brought to the forefront when it comes to his signature popovers, which are baked-to-order for each diner. These plump, creamy puffs come crisp on the outside and perfectly soft and eggy on the inside. Not quite bread, not quite Yorkshire pudding or choux, these Gruyère-laced popovers are so light and flavourful that you’ll be asking for more before your steak arrives. BLT Steak has also made sure that you can recreate them at home with a complimentary recipe card for those popover-craving days.
Shop G62, G/F, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2730-3508.
Contemporary European dining from WHISK in Tsim Sha Tsui begins with an unpretentious yet refined bread basket representing the collaboration between chef de cuisine Bjoern Alexander and executive pastry chef Jean-Marc Gaucher. Like the dishes served on the menu, the bread basket emphasizes a riot of different textures, shapes and colours. There’s an onion-bacon epi, deliciously airy and crunchy little sourdough rolls, walnut raisin rolls, and the stand-out paprika and squid ink semolina lavosh. Both chefs Alexander and Gaucher make a point to use only natural ingredients to achieve the bright red colour of the paprika lavosh, and the jet-black squid ink lavosh. What’s even better than the assortment of breads are the choice of condiments that come with the bread basket – chili butter, smoked butter with yoghurt, and chef Alexander’s homage to Obazda, the Bavarian cheese spread, here made with brie, butter, cream cheese, bell pepper, garlic, salt and chives. Rather than filling the diner’s stomach, the bread basket at Whisk serves the purpose of priming the palate for an ever more exciting and inventive meal to come.
5/F, The Mira Hong Kong, 118 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2315-5999.
Café Gray Deluxe
At Café Gray Deluxe in The Upper House in Admiralty, it’s easy to see how the menu from chef Gray Kunz translates into a cosmopolitan and international culinary adventure. There’s a fresh approach to dishes that may seem initially familiar, but hints at something a little more modern and unusual, like the dish of charred sardines with saffron and black olive and lavender tomato butter. Then it’s no surprise that diners would be presented with a basket of warm bread, before realising that the familiar loaf is actually a flaxseed-speckled sourdough served with a bright and tangy mixture of yoghurt, sour cream, olive oil and spices, including za’atar and sumac. The bread dip is a refreshing alternative to the standard butter and olive oil, serving the purpose of lightening the appetite with the spices, and the acidity from the yoghurt and sour cream. This is a bread service that inspires diners to actually enjoy the bread prior to the main course.
49/F The Upper House, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty; +852 3968-1106.