I love that I’m so near the sea in Hong Kong, and one of the best things about it is some of the stunning views, one of the most famous being that of Victoria Harbour. There’s nothing like watching the sunset between the skyscrapers and the reflections bouncing off the water, as you journey back from a junk trip or take the Star Ferry.
Watermark offers a great waterfront dining experience, especially as it has nabbed a prime location at Central Pier. You’ll spot couples enjoying a romantic meal while taking in the 270 degree view of the harbour or groups of friends having a laugh over a chilled bottle of wine, as they see boats pass by. Having never eaten there before, I was taken by the capaciousness of the restaurant, with its high ceilings and open-plan design, yet there is an intimacy to the ambience. I attribute this to the partitioning of the huge glass windows, which break up the views a bit, but still give diners a spectacular view of harbour activity.
Last month I was delighted to be invited to an eight-course tasting dinner to sample Executive Chef Pascal Breant’s rejuvenated contemporary continental menu. Armed with an empty stomach and a big appetite, I happily grazed my way through five appetisers, two mains (albeit, reduced in size) and a fantastic selection of Artisan cheese and house petit fours. Watermark prides itself on its dry-aged beef, the beef undergoing a dry-ageing process to tenderise the meat and concentrate the flavours and flies in a variety of fresh seafood every week for diners to enjoy.
To start, the others guests and I were greeted by three of the biggest displays of oysters I’ve ever seen. We sampled the Irish Rock Gigas, which was nutty in flavour and soft in texture, the Tasmanian, which was creamy and saltier and my favourite, the French Pinky which was extremely flavoursome and meaty. I had to walk away and substitute eating for drinking champagne instead, to prevent myself from gorging on piles of oysters.
When we were seated, we were first given the Barramundi carpaccio paired with Heirloom tomato and field greens. The carpaccio was very fresh and not too fishy due to the neutralisation of the shallot, ginger and lime dressing.
Next was the crispy jumbo lump crab cake, a deliciously huge lump of crab served with a great jalapeno salsa and the seared foie gras with poached pear which was perfectly cooked.
Another new creation is the white bean cappuccino with pork sausage. The presentation appealed to all the girls- a tiny white cup of the frothy creamy cappuccino soup with a slice of sausage on a cocktail stick perched on top.
If you think your balance is off at the restaurant, don’t panic. At one point I thought my one glass of champers had affected me badly as I kept swaying at the table, until I realised that several boats were passing by and were causing ripples of movement on the pier!
Of the two mains: the pan seared wild seabass and the French tenderloin with fondant potato, the seabass was the highpoint. The fish was beautifully prepared and seasoned and I loved the bulgur wheat and mushroom fricassee. My tenderloin steak was cooked just right, the seasoning was great, but compared to the fish, and other steaks I’ve had, it was at most, good.
I adored the Artisan cheese platter. The selection included Pont-l’Évêque, Fourme D’Ambert and Cabécou cheeses. I could’ve eaten the entire tray. Thankfully three others were sharing with me, otherwise several moments on the lips would’ve become several lifetimes on the hips.
The petit fours were lovely, but by then I was too full to fully appreciate the tiny chocolate gateaux, pastries and custard tarts. I did squeeze in the world’s smallest strawberry ice-cream cone to end an evening by the harbour.
If you’re stuck on ideas on where to go for a date, a special occasion or even Sunday brunch, Watermark hits the spot with its ideal location, charming views and elegant menu.
WaterMark Shop L, Central Pier 7, Top Level, Star Ferry, Central
2167 7251 www.igors.com/igors/watermark.html