Much like New York, Hong Kong is paving the way when it comes to boozy brunch offerings. Though London isn’t doing too badly at playing catch-up, it’s still miles behind in terms of choice and value, with the best hotels and restaurants in Hong Kong offering, in many cases, unlimited food and free flow (of more than decent champagne) for anywhere between $500 and $900 (all prices in HKD $), a fraction of what you would pay to have a fraction of what you ate at any other mealtime. A group of us visited the private dining room at Aqua to make the most of a Sunday Funday, a Japanese-Italian (confusing but it works) restaurant on Kowloon-side overlooking Victoria Harbour which, for me, is the best spot for this particular view.
It’s even more spectacular at night, in my opinion, when all of the buildings are lit up, which I’ll show you soon enough as mum & I recently went for dinner. The brunch menu has somehow gotten even better since we visited, and been renamed “Because Brunch” (rather than “Infinity”), with the main difference being that the sharing starters of antipasto and sushi platters are now limitless though, to be honest, this change wasn’t strictly necessary considering we didn’t even finish what we were served. Still, it makes you feel better about splurging $598 on essentially breakfast. I should also add that this price is insanely good value for the very generous non-stop top-ups of Veuve Cliquout and cocktails, as well as the quality & quantity of amazing food that you get, considering starters from the a la carte menu are all around the $200-$300 mark.
We were off to a good start with bowls of edamame brought and bubbles poured. It wasn’t long before the sushi & sashimi platters of dreams were placed before us, featuring all the fish I could personally want, flown in fresh daily from around the world. The antipasto platters also lived up to expectations, featuring smoked swordfish with green apple, smoked Scottish salmon, Parma Ham and Cantaloupe melon, bocconcini mozzarella, Ascolano olive, tomato gratin and fresh salad.
It was a better (and more generous) spread than I had expected, which almost finished most of us off, until the arrival of the spinach & ricotta ravioli with parmesan and porcini sauce, at which point everyone seemed to get a second wind. Thankfully there was an interval before our chosen main courses arrived, which allowed us to do some shameless camera posing.
In contrast to the sharing starters, the mains are pretty measly in size (not that you won’t already be fit to burst, but it’s purely something to take into account when choosing what and how much to have beforehand). There are two Italian and two Japanese options to choose from (without paying extra), which for us were seabream, grilled ribeye, vegetable tempura or pork loin, though these have now been updated to King prawn in spicy tomato coulis, grilled lamb, Wagyu beef yakitori (with pan fried foie gras teriyaki, I might add, i.e. I will be returning ASAP) and fried salmon (with truffle tartar sauce…!).
A couple of hours in and many a bottle of Veuve down it’s fair to say that we were in good spirits for the arrival of dessert, the “Aqua signature dessert platter”, which offered up homemade tiramisu, an incredibly rich & thick chocolate torte, a delightfully refreshing lemon sorbet (excitingly served in a lemon! yes, I’m easily pleased), berries & ice-cream and a (very) boozy jelly. It was a good array of sweets to finish off the meal and I would have said the perfect amount, had they not decided to drop another platter off due to the kitchen’s over-production… despite the initial groans it unsurprisingly all got polished off. And as if all that food wasn’t enough to last our bellies the week, the staff also kindly brought a (very good) molten lava chocolate cake with a candle and “Happy Birthday” message to celebrate Anthea’s recent turning of another year older.
I’m a big fan of Aqua’s. The views are second to none, both during the day & night, it has a great, buzzy atmosphere and the food is truly excellent (if not a little pricey, but, alas, thank God for brunch!).