The Repulse Bay Hotel was an old colonial-style building which stood above Repulse Bay from 1920 until 1982. I remember coming here as a child, with my grandparents on weekend outings, and it was a treat just to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee surrounded by the grandeur of its architecture.
The hotel is long gone. As an adult returning to Hong Kong in the early 90s, the site was turned into The Repulse Bay, which houses various commercial shops as well as two restaurants, The Verandah and Spices. This is where I met Chef Peter Find, more than 20 years ago. (He is currently one of Hong Kong’s to chefs, and Executive Chef of The Ritz-Carlton).
It is also where I first meet my friend Lamey Chang who was PR for The Verandah at that time. We return two decades later, on my birthday, to enjoy The Repulse Bay Classic Menu (HK$906/USD117) and reminisce about the good old days.
A bread basket arrives and as I reach over to grab the crisp bread, Lamey whispers “don’t fill up on bread,” — a very difficult task to do!
There are two autumn drinks on offer: Mulled Cider and Orange Ginger (HK$78/USD10 set lunch price /HK$88/USD11.35 regular).
There is still that level of British colonial service here. The Famous Repulse Bay Caesar Salad is still prepared table-side with your choice of ingredients.
Choose shaved Parma ham or grilled prawns to accompany — I opt for Parma ham.
Second course is Traditional French Onion Soup — a piping hot tureen baked with Gruyere cheese croutons on top of a broth swimming with caramelized onions.
Both Lamey and I choose The Repulse Bay Black Pepper Steak as our main course — there is a choice of salmon as well.
A round of Australian OBE organic Angus beef tenderloin is accompanied by glazed seasonal garden vegetables, gratin potatoes, and a black pepper sauce prepared table-side. It is rare these days for restaurants to offer anything prepared or finished table-side, so it is comforting to know that The Verandah is still a place where you’re able to experience proper fine dining service.
For dessert, I choose The Repulse Bay Grand Marnier Souffle. For some reason, I’ve never had a properly prepared souffle outside of Hong Kong. The texture is never quite as airy or as smooth. The one here is like eating air!
Lamey’s Baked Alaska Flambe is definitely a blast from the past. I remember my mother ordering this when I was a little girl, always mesmerized by the flame when the meringue is lit. Lamey and I giggle like little girls when her baked Alaska arrives still burning. I am so tickled I ask the server to do it again!
If you’re in Hong Kong and want to experience a little of what the old days had to offer, you must visit The Verandah (or The Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon). So many of the old Hong Kong traditions (under British rule) are fast disappearing. Each visit is bitter sweet, but I am so appreciative that I’m spending my birthday with an old friend, and being surrounded by nostalgic memories of Hong Kong past.
at The Repulse Bay
109 Repulse Bay Road
Tel: +852 2292 2822