The rich intensity of wild game meats is a treat we look forward to come the autumn and winter season, their robust flavour belying their low-fat content and lean textures. While Hong Kong may not boast vast woodlands within which enterprising hunters can seek out and shoot their own bounty, we’re lucky to be able to leave this arduous task up to the restaurants that bring in and prepare the best of the season’s game. If you’ve ever had second thoughts about eating Bambi and Thumper, this is the time to put aside your squeamishness and embrace these delicious game menus.
This old stalwart of classical European dining is one of our absolute favourite restaurants, and its nostalgia-tinged menu and vintage décor somehow seems perfectly suited to the act of tucking into a huntsman’s meal. Since October, Hugo’s has introduced a game menu (the pan-seared red deer with chestnut polenta, roasted root vegetables and dark chocolate jus pictured above was just one of the offerings), and at the beginning of November the menu will be revamped with more seasonal plates. Heavier, warming dishes such as braised wild boar leg served with homemade tagliatelle, roasted pears and walnuts will be served, and from December we will be hankering after the traditional braised hare ballontine à la royale, a fulfilling dish combining hare meat, foie gras, black truffle, chestnuts, salsify and roasted butternut squash. Also on the menu is poached pheasant breast with confit thigh, and a mushroom and whisky consommé to see us through the long, dark winter evenings.
Hugo’s, Lobby Level, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 3721-7733
Brasserie on the Eighth
The Conrad hotel’s classy Continental restaurant is a relaxed and refined spot for politely indulging your carnivorous side. With venison and other wild game meats sourced from France, the restaurant successfully delivers from field to table with dishes such as an autumn salad with roe deer loin, served with cèpes mushrooms and glazed chestnuts, or marinated oven-roasted venison rack “Baden-Baden” style. The latter is inspired by the German town of the same name, where venison is usually served with tart cranberries and apples to cut through the richness of the meat. Here, it is served with French trumpet mushrooms, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and glazed chestnuts. In addition to venison, Brasserie on the Eighth will also feature pan-fried wild boar medallions with winter vegetables and maniquette cream sauce, and roasted wood pigeon on savoy cabbage with sautéed chanterelles and quince compote.
Brasserie on the Eighth, 8/F, Conrad Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty; +852 2521-3838
The Four Seasons’ fine dining French restaurant is our regular port of call when it comes to exquisite seasonal dishes enlivened with Gallic flair, and Vincent Thierry’s annual wild game menu is something to be looked forward to come autumn. Around six dishes are available this year, ranging from roast wild duck with almond dragée, sweet red cabbage and quince in liquorice sauce, to grouse paupiette with green cabbage, fondant chestnut and celery in a single malt sauce. Some game dishes, such as the wild duck and hare à la royale, are also available on Thierry’s “menu du chef” and “taste of Caprice” tasting menus. As a testament to the truly wild nature of the game served here, diners are forewarned to look out for pieces of shot that may still embedded in the meat when the animal was felled in the wild.
Caprice, 6/F, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central; +852 3196-8860
The hunting season has begun in Italy, and so DiVino, the Italian restaurant on Wyndham Street in Central, has crafted a new menu to honour the game. Chef Michele Senigaglia has opted for warming casseroles and comforting pastas as a base for meats such as deer, Mallard duck, wild boar from Tuscany, and wood pigeon. Thick ribbons of tagliatelle are shot through with warming black pepper and tossed with a rich and saucy deer ragout, scented with bay leaf and fresh herbs. Another pasta highlight is the homemade pici pasta with Mallard duck sauce – pici is irregularly shaped and an ideal vessel for absorbing and carrying flavours thrown at it.
DiVino, G/F, 73 Wyndham Street, Central; +852 2167-8883
This Nordic restaurant is a natural choice when it comes to wild game, even though it majors in sustainable seafood dishes. Chef Jaakko Sorsa celebrates the season annually with a venison dish, each year served a different way. This year, the tenderloin comes to the table pan-fried, blushing pink and stuffed with autumnal porcini mushrooms. In a nod to his Nordic roots, chef Sorsa includes a red wine sauce with blackcurrants. To balance the heavier venison, barley mixed with carrots and celery provides a light contrast, along with a savoy cabbage roll stuffed with onion, bacon and fresh almonds.
FINDS, 1/F The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberly Road, Tsim Sha Tsui; +852 2522-9318
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