Date of review: August 11, 2016 | Reviewed by: Wilson Fok
After months of renovations, the Grand Café on the ground floor of the Grand Hyatt reopened earlier this June with a new look.
Guests are welcomed into a spacious main dining area, with buffet stations spread across the room. We suggest choosing a seat by the window during the day but closer to the lounge and bar area for evening visits. The extensive use of dark wood brings a neutral tone to the space. Soft lighting during evening time also lends a warm,comfortable feeling to guests.
With a new buffet set up and renewed menu, the popular restaurant is offering a good International selection, from composed salads to pan-Asian offerings, Western mains and a new selection of desserts, aiming to offer something for every guest. The range of salads on offer is impressive. Prawn and barley salad is richly packed with fresh spinach leaves and radicchio. The barley brings a nice chewy texture to the salad. We suggest a small portion as a starter and a bigger option as main. The green pea soup with mint and crème fraiche arrived only lukewarm, the pale green veloute rich in mint and smooth. Stirring in the crème fraiche adds a fresh, tangy addition.
Grand Café’s signature Hainanese chicken rice set remains one of the city’s best. We’re impressed with the neat plating of deboned and carved chicken, chicken broth, fragrant rice and condiments; the skin-on chicken is tender, even with the breast, with little condiments needed. The rice is richly fragrant of herbs and chicken fat but not greasy to taste. The tray set offers a range of Chinese dishes complete with pickles, steamed rice, and soup. The stir-fried beef cubes with black garlic is well executed, with tender beef cubes matched with crisp green asparagus. The black garlic and caramelised shallots bring sweetness to the stir-fry dish. Western dishes are done properly at Grand Café: the premium seafood with herb garlic butter is simple with halved lobster, two butterflied tiger prawns and two sea scallops on the shell, all generously slathered with garlic butter and grilled, yielding tender meat and a great option for garlic lovers.
Desserts are Western-inspired selections. The strawberry Romanoff arrived in a tall martini glass, where vanilla ice cream is spiked with orange liqueur and served alongside macerated strawberries, which turned out to be quite tart, but great accompaniment to sweet ice cream. The banana crepe with milk tea ice cream lends a local touch with the local favourite milk tea added to served alongside thin crepe parcel of sliced bananas. We prefer to skip the chocolate pearls as toppings but they do add a pleasant crunch to the refreshing dessert.
Grand Café’s beverage offerings are just as vibrant as its food selection. A full page of alcoholic beverages followed by one of cocktails, juices, and other hot options. The Jing lemongrass, ginger, and Sha Tin honey iced tea is a good choice for summer dining, with a refreshingly herbaceous touch. By the glass options for wines are modest and each selection including brief introduction to it. The Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2014 is fresh and crisp, with pleasant bouquet of spring blossoms and tropical fruit on the palate, a versatile pairing with the abundant selection of salads and desserts.
Service at Grand café needs work. Despite its casual nature, the flawed service lies in lacking care in meticulous details one would expect from a reputable hotel like Grand Hyatt.
At peak dining hours orders can be mixed up at times, and the flow of service can seem dishevelled. Yet the shortcomings are compensated with well-familiarised knowledge in the menu and wine list, with sound knowledge and suggestions tailored to the guests’ dining preference.
A full dinner for two with drinks amounts to just under HK$1,500 with gratuity. The décor and food offerings at the revamped Grand Café merits return visits, but there is much room for improvement with service.