Tsim Sha Tsui
Date of review: September 21, 2016 | Reviewed by: Charmaine Mok
The Peninsula’s elegant Verandah is open throughout the day for breakfast through to teatime and evening meals, but no matter what time of day you dine it’s bound to be an indulgent experience. We dined during the evening buffet service, and the comfortably cushioned wicker chairs and well spaced tables means this is a luxurious experience to be savoured. The layout of the buffet offerings has thought put into it, with elegant trays and crockery used for different food items, such as the heavy cast iron for keeping the curries hot, and the beautiful array of fresh sashimi laid out in shimmering ice. The buffet area is well lit to showcase all of the food, and the dining areas are warmly lit for a more romantic atmosphere. With that said, The Verandah is very popular with families celebrating special occasions.
The size of the buffet strikes the ideal balance between being plentiful and not too overwhelming. Well placed stations present items such as fresh salad leaves and vegetables, sushi and sashimi, hot Asian specialties and a tempting dessert corner. There are the usual buffet staples such as roast beef (here, they go the extra mile with mini Yorkshire puddings), salads (we liked the addition of radishes and endive to the usual assortment of baby spinach and cherry tomatoes) and hot soups (cream of cauliflower as well as a special Yunnan mushroom consommé) but we generally found the level of execution to be a cut above other buffet restaurants in town. The nigiri were pleasantly thumb-sized, meaning we could sample more varieties without becoming too full on rice, and we enjoyed the tiny creative dishes such as soy-braised abalone served on cabbage salad, and little pots of sweetcorn pudding topped with curls of prosciutto. Desserts are a strong point at this hotel, and the offerings are thrilling for those who love sweets: macarons, tiny blueberry tarts, clafoutis and fresh strawberry rolls made decisions difficult. Moreover, each diner receives a freshly-baked soufflé at the end of the meal; ours, served with a tart mango and passionfruit sauce, was textbook perfect with an ethereally light texture.
The Peninsula boasts a strong central wine list and there are plenty of options by the glass should you wish to try a few during your meal. The Naturally Peninsula initiative also brings creative, healthy fruit juices and mocktails for those who don’t imbibe. Try the hotel’s own label wines, such as the ultra fruity 2013 pinot noir from the Sonoma Coast.
As expected of the Grand Dame of hotels, service is polished and impeccable, yet discrete. Plates are swiftly taken away once you’re finished, and water is frequently kept topped up.
The buffet costs HK$788 per person, inclusive of tea or coffee and excluding service charge, which is pricier than other buffets but still reasonable considering the quality of the environment and the food on offer. It’s unsurprising that many people opt to come here for birthdays and other celebrations.