Living in Hong Kong, we’re fortunate to be able to sit outside for the majority of the year – once we’ve acclimatised to the ridiculous humidity. That being said, I often struggle to think of restaurants that have a casual, relaxing atmosphere and alfresco seating that aren’t ridiculously expensive. Quayside Harbour Front Restaurant & Bar has just taken over the space that was formerly Quarterdeck in Wan Chai’s Fenwick Pier.
The 7,000 square foot space has been completely transformed since its slightly scruffy Quarterdeck days. It now seems a lot bigger and brighter, with a black and orange colour scheme, polished wooden floors and natural light streaming in.
A lovely terrace wraps around the exterior of the restaurant, split into table seating and more casual lounge seating. It’s probably a bit too hot and humid at the moment to endure an entire meal out there, but I would imagine it’s a pretty popular spot for after dinner drinks.
The menu, helmed by Chef Bruno Gautier from Brittany, includes a decent range of international dishes with a notable French bistro influence. It’s very simple food with something for everyone!
We started our lunch with the green asparagus with a soft poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Provided you like these three ingredients, then this simple dish is very hard to fault. Just don’t order it to share, as a single, perfectly runny poached egg doesn’t go very far…
Quayside has its own take on a Niçoise salad, using sashimi-thin slices of seared black pepper-crusted tuna instead of a tuna steak. Again, it was a simple dish with lovely fresh flavours, perfect for summer.
My favourite of the starters was the St Maure goat’s cheese on crusty slices of toasted baguette, served with salad leaves, pine nuts, semi-dried tomatoes and a shallot and herb dressing. The goat’s cheese was grilled to perfection and beautifully creamy; everything else was just a bonus.
I wasn’t particularly wowed by the Mushroom risotto. Although it had a pleasant flavour, packed with enoki, shitake and white mushrooms, the texture was a little stodgy and heavy for my liking.
The grilled Norwegian salmon was another simple dish that’s quite hard to get wrong. There wasn’t anything particularly special about it, but it had a wonderfully flaky texture and a lovely slightly charred flavour that made the white butter and chive sauce that accompanied it rather unnecessary.
Although at first sight I’ll admit that Le Tartare didn’t look particularly appealing, it was generously seasoned with capers, shallots, gherkins and cayenne pepper and tasted delicious, particularly with the crispy accompanying French fries. I would have liked the beef to have been cut into bigger chunks, but I think that’s just personal preference.
Since cream isn’t high on my list of favourite foods, I’ve never cared much for profiteroles – in fact, if I do eat them, I usually scrape out the cream and eat just the pastry. Quayside’s profiteroles, however, are stuffed with vanilla ice cream instead, and then smothered in hot brandy flavoured chocolate sauce…. so I was a big fan of these!
The nougat glacé was a little too sweet, although the forest fruit coulis did cut into this and gave it a nice balance. The chocolate marquise was possibly my favourite of the three desserts. The coffee custard was only subtle and complemented the richness of the sweet chocolate.
Service was efficient and friendly. Prices at Quayside are affordable on the most part, with most starters and mains around the $150 mark (I don’t quite understand why starters and mains cost the same…) and desserts around $80. The food isn’t anything spectacular, but it is decent, and since they offer a 2 for 1 Happy Hour deal every day between 4pm and 7pm, I can see many an evening spent on that terrace sipping cocktails and enjoying some simple yet tasty bar snacks.
Quayside Harbour Front Restaurant & Bar, G/F, Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier, 1 Lung King Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2661 6708, www.quaysidehongkong.com