Thursday, January 30, 2014

glass brasserie

most of last week my dad went on a business trip even though my grandparents are here, so long story short, his boss felt bad and decided to pay for dinner within a certain budget (without him being there). so i thought-why not go to a hatted restaurant?! i have a thing with hatted restaurants, hotel restaurants and celebrity chefs.

glass brasserie at the Hilton Hotel is Luke Mangan's restaurant, the guy who does Virgin Australia airplane/lounge food (btw, i love airplane food). i think this was a super good choice for us. not too over priced compared to other restaurants at this level, lots of variety in terms of food and good location.

first things first, the service was amazing. when we got there the waiter asked if we wanted sparkling or still water. i accidentally said still since he didn't give the option of tap water! so once he came he started poring water from bottles i.e. i knew immediately it would cost a few dollars per bottle. so my mum asked if it costed money and pretended we didn't know much about fine dining, like not many people go out with their parents and kids on a thursday night. so after he poured out 2 bottles, he just said he wouldn't charge for them. also, my grandma is vegetarian and my grandfather only eats soft stuff and only certain types of protein, and they both hardly eat much, so there wasn't any point in getting a dish each-and it's not cheap either. so we asked the french waiter if it's ok to share. like seriously, who normally shares at high class/non asian restaurants? but the guy was like after a pause "it would be a bit awkward to eat, but it should be ok". that's the difference between one hats and two hats like places at Aria, they definitely won't allow you to share, you can feel the vibe (as well as dress codes are stricter higher up). and he gave new plates to us after entree, main, second main and dessert (even though there wasn't any need). 24 extra plates for the dishwasher, normally you just have one plate for each course. there would be another person or two coming with the food, and our main waiter would kind of have to explain that we are sharing. oh, also hot water (for grandparents)-no charge. it came in a cute teapot as well. i've found places at the rocks charge for hot water at restaurants/cafes etc, i have yet to be proven wrong...

ok, on to the food (which is worth uploading from my camera, which i'm usually can't be bothered since it takes forever to upload onto blogger).

each night they would have some sort of special (not in terms of price, but the dishes they make)

13m high ceiling. felt quite grand yet modern (:

wall of wine. their wine book is 44 pages. when we finished ordering, the waiter had to ask if we would like to order wine even though we were two "kids" and had 2 elderly people. then again, they earn so much on wine. i only saw two other tables with kids (as in primary). the rest were mostly business people having drinks. there were also just people eating by themselves.

the ceiling

i wanted a table by the window, but they could only fit max 5, and definitely no space to share. they have round tables as well which was good for us since they were so big and good for sharing. if we got a normal table for 6, then there wouldn't be enough room to share food, if that makes sense...

fruit bread and white bread. yum (: they took away our second bowl to make room for the entrees, but being asian, we asked for it back.

the entrees came so fast! good to see they have efficient mis en place with everything coming at the same time. only waited about 10-15min.

Signature dish-Organic egg omelette of blue swimmer crab meat, enoki mushroom & herb salad, miso mustard broth 29

the most expensive egg i've had so far, but it was just so yum. you'd think it's weird to have soupy egg, but the miso broth just complemented to crab inside so nicely. the herby salad was definitely herby. i'm normally not an omelette fan since i think they're rip off, but even though this dish was expensive, it was worth it.

 Tea smoked quail, almond cream, prunes, grains, grilled shallot, woodland sorrel 29

 i couldn't get a decent picture of the quail since my brother was complaining about how hungry he was and a waste of time coming to the city for dinner and he had a lot of "work" to do (did not see hims study at all during the holidays), and the quail was too far across the table for me to take a proper photo...this quail smelt so good and it was pink inside! nice and tender, nothing like the fully cooked/overcooked ones i have at home. i don't like prunes, and my brother definitely hates them, but the combination of blended up prunes with grains and herbs tasted so good! kind of reminded me of a sweet mustard, but heaps better. i still think the plate is way to big for those few pieces of quail, but that's the thing with most places like these-massive plate, small servings.

 Crisp zucchini flower with goat’s cheese, corn, preserved lemon, salsa verde 8

my first ever zucchini flower! part of the "tapas" menu. i always see on masterchef how people delicately pipe stuff into them. the goats cheese inside just melted in your mouth, and was balanced well with the sweetness from the corn. couldn't really taste the lemon, but i didn't mind. it was deep fried in a way that it wasn't oily (:

 Pumpkin ravioli, parsley cream, Roquefort, walnuts, sage & fig balsamic, burnt butter 27

i'm not a big fan of pumpkin, but the sweetness of the pumpkin ravioli balanced the rest of the dish so well and cooked so well. the green-pasto like stuff was to die for, i mopped of the rest with my bread (: and yay for croutons. the burnt butter definitely didn't feel fattening/heavy (even though it is fattening).
Waterslide-Muddled watermelon and strawberries, shaken with apple & cranberry juice and topped with ginger beer 10

my bro and i got one each. i could make this at home, but why not try it outside? so glad it only had a little bit of sweetness and refreshing.

mains came out shortly after we finished entrees. ah, i love the timing of food at restaurants like these (: 

Signature dish-Pan fried potato gnocchi, corn, asparagus, zucchini, Parmesan, lemon thyme 37

this was definitely the most appropriate dish for my grandparents- it's vegetarian and it's soft. i have to say, this is probably the best gnocchi i've had so far. the cheese isn't too over powering, and the gnocchi is still quite light and good balance on the potato and flour. i also like edible flowers (: this dish smelt so good. 

 Confit then roasted duck, spinach, grilled mango & fennel, marsala sauce 47

 i think this was the most average dish. ordered this because i love my duck. the duck was cooked beautifully pink, but i think the mangos were way too sweet and overpowered the dish. luckily we were sharing it or else i would have to drink lots of water to finish the big serving of grilled mango.

Mains to share-Meat for two 140

the meat is pink! ceebs typing again what this came with. was thinking or ordering a 250g angus steak, but i've already had some really good angus melt-in-your-mouth steak before, so it was interesting to see how they cooked a cheaper cut of meat. it came with 2 sauces, salad, and garlic mushrooms. only four of us ate this, but we were so full. i would have loved to just eat the sauces on its own since they were that good-not overly salty and still flavourful, but i was just so full. the mushrooms were way too overly seasoned. even my grandma said they were salty. after a few small spoons, i couldn't have anymore. the beef was nice, not chewy. there were little bacon pieces in there which were salty (i guess that's normal for bacon), but they added some nice crunch. 

also ordered a side of truffled mash 13 and rocket, pair, blue cheese, walnut salad entree size 15

the mash smelt and tasted so good with the truffle oil, but there side wasn't as big as aria's if i remember correctly, which didn't really matter since we couldn't finish it. the mash wasn't overly buttery either. the rocket salad was good, but i thought there wasn't enough cheese. i guess it's because blue cheese is quite strong and if you had a lot, it wouldn't feel as refreshing.

restaurant was quite full for a thursday night. i'd say over 80% full. still heaps of seating behind our table and on the other side of the wine glass wall. there were some tables around us who had people leave and different people come. 

dessert was a slightly longer wait since i wanted to have soufflé. they said it was 20mins, but it didn't really feel like it. they prepare the soufflé outside where there are 2 chefs who plate dessert. so full, but always room for dessert!
it's baking! every time a soufflé is ordered, a chef would just stand by the oven door since it's usually seconds before you overcook a soufflé and it flops.

 Toffee soufflé with pecan butter ice-cream 22

i've had fondant souffles, frozen souffles, cake soufflés, eggy soufflés, but i've feel like i've waited my whole like for a proper soufflé! ok, not really, soufflé was on the menu at aria, and i really wanted to get that. i still remember the waiter there saying their chocolate dessert was very popular so i got that. not that i regret it since it was really nice and had this really cool airy foam with it, but i've been trying to find a proper dessert soufflé ever since, and i finally had my chance tonight! it was so light and fluffy and everything i imagines a soufflé to be. the toffee gave a subtle sweetness (no where as sweet as real toffee). i love how restaurants serve soufflés in those cute copper pots. the ice cream was creamy and had nice pecan bits. i think the ice cream had a good balance of butteriness and sweetness.

 Liquorice parfait “Signature” 20

yes, i do have to order the signature dessert. even if i was eating by myself, i would order the signature dessert over the soufflé. other places do have soufflés, but each restaurant always has a signature dessert that you can't get elsewhere. i hate black liquorice. the only liquorice i eat is darrel lea's flavoured ones. however, i would eat black liquorice any day if you gave me this dessert. the texture of the parfait was perfect-not too creamy and not too icy. it reminded me of this mint dessert i've had before which is meant to cleanse the palate, but this is 100 times better. the lime syrup balanced out the acidity of the lime segments (by themselves, they were super sour). the liquorice had a subtle flavour, so it was actually enjoyable eating black liquorice in this dessert. the piece of chocolate on top was tempered so well that it snapped like you see on tv and was crunchy (: it had a stronger liquorice flavour but definitely not gross and overpowering. yum (:

lovely night eating non asian food to celebrate the end of a lunar calendar. a rare oppurtunity eating as a family at a hatted restaurant in a hotel in Australia (:

first time parking in qvb car park. i think i'm a competent driver, and my dad has countless years of experience in driving, but wow, that car park is so tight! maybe because we drove out big car, but the poles and columns are so close together and the turns onto the ramps, especially the exit after the boom gate, you can see quite a lot of scratches on the walls. they have this hard plastic over the cement columns so that if you do scrape your car, the damage won't be as bad. you can see that plastic thing has also been scratched. even hk carparks aren't as "tight" (only their parking spaces are very small).

looks like he checks his hashtags because i certainly didn't tag him, haha.

and i would like to end this long post by saying free food always tastes better (:

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