25 April, 2012
Eat & Drink

Felix at The Peninsula – incredible food, incredible views

25 April, 2012

Having already reviewed Spring Moon at The Peninsula and been totally wowed by it, you can imagine my excitement at the thought of reviewing Felix. Felix utters the same class and sophistication as the rest of The Peninsula, but this time the sophistication reaches another level – both literally and metaphorically.

It sits on the 28th floor of the hotel, showing off the incredible view of the harbour, a view that is always better from the dark side, and is even better from Felix; you can even admire the view from the toilets! Having heard how amazing the men’s loos are and obviously unable to experience them myself, a gentleman on a neighbouring table who knew I was writing a review, kindly sent me some photos he took of the urinals overlooking the view… the things people do for the sake of Sassy!

Designed by Philippe Starck, Felix is modern and chic, to the extent that the menus are in fact iPads. As you scroll through the menu, selecting dishes you like the sound of, beautiful high-res images of the dishes appear before you. Although you can’t actually order from the iPad (as otherwise the dishes wouldn’t arrive at the same time), you make your selections and add them to a shopping list to show your waiter.

The restaurant is decorated as a tribute to employees of the hotel who have either reached a managerial level or have worked at the hotel for over 30 years. On each and every seat is a black and white photo of a Peninsula employee to thank them for their hard work – such a lovely touch I think.

We tasted Chef Kaji’s Signature Menu, with a few gluten-free substitutes. The friendly waiters were more than accommodating to my last minute decision to go gluten-free, something that a lot of restaurants in Hong Kong aren’t able to do. I was still very sneaky and tried the dishes I wasn’t supposed to eat however!

The signature menu kicks off with pan-fried French duck liver with caramelised strawberries. This beautiful combination of flavours and textures is divine, the foie gras so smooth and the crunchy caramelised strawberries offering a slight tanginess to balance the rich duck liver. A separate little bowl of frozen French duck liver parfait with gingerbread complements this perfectly. The liver here is marinated in Grand Marnier to give a distinct orange flavour and topped with roasted almonds to create a super sweet flavour that goes with the sharp strawberry and liver dish.

The gluten-free option was Japanese hamachi sashimi with quail egg in a tomato ceviche sauce. Although a slight food envy kicked in and I must say I preferred the foie gras, this was nevertheless a lovely dish. It was very light and refreshing and I particularly liked the differing textures yet again.

To follow, a fennel consommé with yoghurt-lemon verbena mousse and Canadian shrimp dumpling with fennel-orange purée was the normal option, whilst a lobster consommé was the gluten-free option. Again, I preferred the non gluten-free dish as the dumpling and the purée were incredible, but I could not fault the tenderness of the lobster and the freshness of the consommé as a whole, lightly fragranced with lemongrass.

A delightful dish of pan-seared Canadian cod and black olive brandade was thankfully already gluten-free! The cod was perfectly flaky and fresh, the mashed potato with olives and fresh salt-cod deliciously creamy – all in all a perfect dish.

Even better, however, was the roasted Japanese beef tenderloin. The meat was so incredibly tender and full of flavour, and I loved the mini gratin potatoes. 100 percent my favourite dish of the night!

A rather bizarre parmesan crème brûlée and a strawberry soda arrived to cleanse the palate. I couldn’t quite decide whether or not I liked the crème brûlée as it was like nothing I have ever tasted! For me, the determining feature of any crème brûlée is the crispy top layer. This one was unfortunately rather thin and didn’t crack the way I like it. Had it been thicker, perhaps the contrast between the sweet caramel and the salty Parmesan would have won me over. What did succeed in winning my love, however, were the caramelised strawberries atop the soda, possibly because they reminded me of the strawberry fruit roll-ups I so loved in my childhood!

The standard dessert was a thyme-marinated grapefruit tart with citrus sorbet, grapefruit whipped cream and lemon jelly. What shone for me here was the sorbet, as I adore all things citrus. Paired with the crystallised thyme leaves, the citrus sorbet was even better.

For the first time in the meal, however, the gluten-free dessert won hands down. It was Piña Colada in dessert form, with amazing textures to match: coconut meringue, chunks of pineapple, coconut panna cotta, whipped coconut cream – all lovingly sprinkled with cinnamon.

As if we hadn’t eaten enough, delicious little strawberry macaroons and fig cookies appeared before us, just begging to be eaten. It would have been rude not to!

The Chef’s Signature Menu, which changes periodically, costs $1,388 per person. Obviously not the cheapest meal in the world but when you’re being served incredible food looking over one of the world’s most spectacular views in a leading hotel, you can’t expect much less. Come between 6 and 7pm, however, and you can enjoy the Early Dining Menu for only $458.

Felix 28/F, The Peninsula Hong Kong, 19-21 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
23153188 www.peninsula.com/Hong_Kong/en/Dining/Felix/default.aspx

Check out more from Ale on her fab blog, The Dim Sum Diaries!

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