Back in 1895 Guy Beringer, a British writer, came up with what might just be one of the modern world’s greatest inventions.
Beringer saw the need for a meal that would allow life’s party people to sleep late at the weekend. He created the concept of a lighter, early afternoon feed that would “make life brighter for Saturday night carousers”. In a piece titled ‘Brunch: A Plea’ he argued that this was a meal that was not only “cheerful, sociable and inciting” but also one which “sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week”. Quite frankly, even almost 120 years later we couldn’t describe brunch in more accurate terms.
After years of thorough research, we’ve boiled down the recipe for a great brunch to four simple components – plentiful delicious food, free-flowing but decent booze, a buzz-filled atmosphere and great company. While only you can ensure the latter element, we’re excited to report that we think we’ve found the pinnacle of brunchdom where the other three elements are concerned. Yes, we’re pretty certain we’ve struck upon brunch Nirvana with Duddell’s brand new Saturday brunch.
Every Saturday from 12 noon to 4pm, Michelin-starred Chef Sui Hin Chi serves up unlimited portions of world class dim sum. This, along with free-flow Perrier Jouet, clocks in at a not too eye-watering $580. After hearing glowing reviews and plenty of chatter around town, we decided it was our duty to continue our extensive brunch research and sample Duddell’s offering for ourselves.
Set on Duddell Street, a rare haven of calm in bustling central, is Duddell’s. Duddell’s is a restaurant, bar and art’s club, which has been the talk of Hong Kong since it threw open its doors back in May. That elusive buzzy yet relaxed atmosphere is immediately apparent as you wind up the staircase from the more formal dining room downstairs to the laid-back salon where brunch is served. If it were a sun-soaked Saturday you’d be very hard-pushed to find a better spot to catch some rays than the 2,200 square foot, leafy terrace. If the humidity’s at melting point, where better to settle than in one of the be-cushioned armchairs in the salon overlooking the terrace?
Tables are set with flower-painted Perrier Jouet Champagne flutes that are swiftly filled with crisp, icy Champagne. These are topped-up throughout your brunch by the super attentive wait staff. Set next to your glass is a beautifully illustrated paper menu listing out the abundance of dim sum deliciousness you can order. These dim sum delights are whipped up and delivered straight to your table. Simply take your Duddell’s branded wooden pencil, check the box next to the items you want to try and moments later a procession of bamboo steamers and pretty dishes will make their way out of the kitchen straight to your waiting chopsticks.
When there’s no limit on the number of dishes you can sample, it would be wrong not to eat until you can eat no more and we certainly rose to the challenge.
We worked our way through the majority of dishes on the menu, but a particular highlight was the meltingly tender roasted pork neck.
The sesame seed topped barbecue pork buns and the light crispy shrimp and cheese filled spring rolls were also divine.
While it’s tempting to get to waistband busting levels of stuffed pretty quickly, make sure that you leave at least a corner of room for dessert. We loved the zesty, sweet baked kumquat puffs and even surprised ourselves by gobbling up the strange sounding chilled avocado sago cream. Dusted with with cocoa, this avocado treat is a lovely, refreshing end to your dim sum feast.
As we lazily lingered over a final couple of glasses of Champagne, we tipsily agreed that Guy Beringer would most heartily have approved of Duddell’s brunch. As regular Friday night carousers, we’re thrilled to have discovered the perfect spot to ease slightly heavy Saturday morning heads, blow away the week’s cobwebs and raise a glass to one of the world’s most wonderful inventions.
Duddell’s 3-4/F, Shanghai Tang Mansion, 1 Duddell Street, Central, Hong Kong
2525 9191 www.duddells.co