My dear friend Peter Find is Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, currently the world’s tallest hotel. Since my schedule was running tight, we decided to just meet him one afternoon to say hi. What happened was, he took me, my son, my friends Bernice and Richard, on a once-in-a-lifetime, behind-the-scenes tour of the hotel.
We met Peter at the Chocolate Lounge, one of the hotel’s busiest outlets. Afternoon tea is the draw here and it is packed every single day, especially on the weekends when folks flock to it to partake in an afternoon of munching on finger sandwiches and little morsels of delightful desserts. For those special occasions, you can also pre-order chocolates made in-house and presented in specially made “humidors”.
Our tour begins at Ozone, the hotel’s hot spot. During the day it serves lunch and is family-friendly, but once the sun sets into the horizon, it becomes a bar complete with a DJ and dance floor. The restaurant has an open air patio area where guests who wish to smoke can choose to sit — yes, smoking is still as popular as ever in Asia!
Making our way downstairs, we find ourselves in the kitchen of the Chinese restaurant, Tin Lung Heen. We started in the main kitchen where dishes are being prepared and we chanced upon “tung bo yuk” a braised slab of pork belly slow-cooked until the meat is so melt-in-your-mouth you don’t know what to do with yourself.
Peter asked the Chinese chef to cut us some to try and every one of us (except Richard who is vegetarian) tasted some. It was gooey and rich and oh so tasty I am salivating even as I’m writing this reminiscing about it.
Tin Lung Heen is decorated in the traditional Chinese red hue which depicts prosperity and good luck, but is tasteful with a modern twist.
Moving into the dim sum kitchen, we are surprised at how small it is and how many exquisitely created items they are able to make in there. Cha siu bao (barbecue pork buns) were being steamed and the chefs were busily making some jeen dui (sesame coated fried mochi balls) when we visited. My gluttonous child was treated to a cha siu bao fresh out of the steamer which he ravished rather quickly.
Next on the agenda was The Lounge & Bar where you can also enjoy afternoon tea should you not be able to get a table at the Chocolate Lounge. Here, couples can sit alongside each other facing the vast window overlooking the harbor. The view is simply stunning.
The hotel’s Italian eatery Tosca has the luxury of an open kitchen and a pot of marinara was sitting on the counter begging to be photographed — so I complied.
The hotel’s dessert kitchen shares space with the bakers. On the one side, macarons were being made — black truffle and cherry — as well as baby chocolate cakes with a chocolate ganache filling.
The other side was filled with containers of bread rolls — wholegrain, olive and plain baguette style. My son ate his way through the bread bins and wanted more!
Between the kitchens we were treated to a peek at the many private rooms dotted within the hotel, each with its own special theme and exclusive views of the harbor. A Chinese-style setting private room.
Versus a meeting room-style Western private room perfect for a larger group wanting a lavish but intimate dinner party.
And those of you who are part of the exclusive crowd, you are treated to duck liver pate, tomato appetizers as well as various sweet offerings in the Executive Lounge.
We were taken through nooks and crannies of the hotel and at the end, Peter told my son “not everyone gets to go on this tour, you are a lucky boy because your mom is special” — not only did my 11 year old feel special, I definitely did too!
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong
International Commerce Centre (ICC)
1 Austin Road West
+852 2263 2263