I’m a long-time believer that Hong Kong dining doesn’t automatically equal Soho (sorry, Mid-Levels ladies, but there’s a whole lot more to the 852 than Staunton and Elgin!), so I was excited to be invited to accompany Rach for lunch at The Mira hotel’s flagship European eatery, Whisk in Tsim Sha Tsui. Dodging the Rolex touts up Nathan Road, I realised that I’ve never actually visited The Mira, despite their alfresco bar Vibes being on my tourist-friendly checklist, so I was glad to get the chance to set that straight.
After nearly being outsmarted by the lift on the way up (I have an issue with doors that open on the other side to the one you enter!), I was struck by the super-modern ball chandelier that adorns Whisk’s ceiling, falling into the vestibule below where you can spy on other diners at Cuisine Cuisine (The Mira’s Chinese resto) below. The balcony area is perfect people-watching territory, but for a more sociable meal we opted for the comfy main dining area overlooking the enclosed greenery of Vibes bar, The Mira’s urban garden. Food-wise, Whisk is all about European flavours, with a regularly changing set lunch menu designed to showcase the best seasonally available ingredients.
Kicking off with seafood starters, my smoked salmon with cucumber and daikon was delicious and super-fresh, if slightly under-smoked to my taste. However this was totally blown out of the water by Rach’s curried lobster soup with avocado and coconut; a delicately flavoured soupy broth with just the right amount of spice to highlight the lobster without overwhelming it. The very antithesis to boringingly blah broths, I could happily have been served a large bowl of that (along with one of the awesome sailboat-shaped bread baskets) for my main and gone home happy!
My pork belly main was an unusual choice as I tend to steer well clear of fatty meat; nevertheless, I felt that if anyone could do this justice, Whisk could and I wasn’t disappointed. With just the right ratio of lean to fat and a crispy crackling to die for, my only regret is that I couldn’t find room for more!
Rach’s cod with zucchini mousse was also delicious – light, cooked to perfection and with far more flavour that many cod dishes I’ve tried, although it perhaps needed one more texture to really set the dish on fire. We also stole a few tempura king prawns from The Mira’s PR, Jakub and they were wonderful too – a total of three for three on the mains front!
I love eating out with Rach as she is a girl after my own heart when it comes to the best bit of any meal – dessert! You won’t hear any ‘I couldn’t possibly’ nonsense from either of us when something sweet is on the menu, and so I was very happy to trade a few spoonfuls of my dessert for some of her sweet soup of coconut and chocolate chilli ice cream. This unique dessert was simply stellar, a masterful combination of textures, tastes and temperatures (Rach was positively in raptures over it!). Seriously, add a shot of vodka to that and you may well have found my dream cocktail. It’s that good.
Now, I shamelessly measure a restaurant by the quality of its crème brulèe and I’m happy to say Whisk didn’t disappoint with its pandan leaf option, served alongside a pear sorbet. The caramelised sugar was crisp and required a good whack with a spoon to get into, just as it should. The fresh flavours of the pear and pandan leaf really balanced the creamy vanilla custard here, and not a scrap was left behind.
With the set lunch here priced at $288 (it runs on Saturdays too!) and a wine pairing available for an extra $50 per glass, this is a good option if you fancy something a little bit special for lunch that’s actually pretty good value given the quality (you could pay that just for one main course in some places!). The location is well placed for an afternoon of post lunch shopping, but personally next time I’m feeling super-indulgent, a facial downstairs at MiraSpa will be on my menu!
Whisk 5/F, The Mira, 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
2315 5999 www.themirahotel.com/en/dining/whisk.aspx