The “set lunch” is a highly popular way to enjoy an affordable meal quickly in Hong Kong. Most restaurants offer this, from the most generic of restaurants, to the very high end. It is a way of life here, and one which I grew up eating with my entire family, especially my grandparents, who relished in going for a “set lunch” on weekends.
A lot of the “Russian Feast” set lunches are long gone. In fact, my parents were looking for this and it is nowhere to be found. The “Russian Feast” usually includes a Hong Kong style Russian borscht to start, a main course usually of either steak or fish, finishing off with a dessert of sorts, plus coffee or tea. The coffee or tea part is quintessential to any set lunch in Hong Kong.
On this day, my long-time BFF, Robert and I take a leisurely drive along the peninsula to Stanley, a village-town my friends and I used frequent during lunch when we were in high school. It was a short bus ride from Repulse Bay, where our high school is located. The Stanley Market of yesteryear is long gone. There are no more stalls selling cheap over-runs of designer clothing, or dai pai dongs selling noodles and rice plates. Now, it is a tourist attraction with vendors selling mainly Oriental souvenirs. There is now a plaza with Murray House standing tall and proud. Murray House was built in 1844 as officer barracks situated in the Central district. The Victorian-era building was moved to Stanley in the 2000s where it stands today housing H&M and Mijas, a Spanish restaurant we are lunching at.
The view in Stanley is spectacular. You won’t even feel like you’re in Hong Kong when you’re out here. It is serene and calm on a weekday (weekends are another story), the best time to be out here.
Although the restaurant’s interior is beautiful, we choose to sit on the patio to take advantage of the gorgeous day. After perusing the menu, we decide on the 4-Course Set Lunch — pricing depends on the entree you choose. There is a choice of five tapas including Two Freshly Shucked Oysters; Serrano Ham and Salami with Cantaloupe Melon; Pan Fried Foie Gras with Balsamic Sauce.
A little plate of Garlic French Bread with Tomato arrives before the appetizers. It is essentially pan con tomate that is usually served with Iberico ham. Quite delicious actually!
Robert chooses Smoked Norwegian Salmon with Garden Salad, a simple appetizer with succulent slices of salmon over a bed of greens.
My Baked Chorizo with Sherry and Grilled Vegetables is decent, flavorful but nothing spectacular.
There is a second course of soup — Soup of the Day is tomato — also simple, for Robert’s finicky palate.
My Spinach and Lobster Bisque (HK$25/USD3.25 add-on) is a spinach bisque with chunks of lobster in it. I was expecting a lobster bisque with some spinach, but was taken aback by its rich green hue. It is fresh, with a strong spinach taste which I enjoy.
For main courses, there is a choice of five items including meat and seafood offerings. We opt for Seafood Paella with King Prawns for two (HK$620/USD80) which turns out to be quite delicious. I would have liked more socarrat on the bottom of the pan, but what little I find I’m scraping off with a spoon.
I highly suggest a trip to Stanley when you visit Hong Kong. It is a wonderful respite from the crazy hustle and bustle of the city life, and amazing to see a side of Hong Kong that is hard to find. Robert and I always go to Stanley, and spending a beautiful day in perfect surroundings enjoying a good meal with my BFF? There’s nothing better than that!
102 Murray House
Tel: +852 2899 0858