Top image courtesy of Quayside
Finding a suitable space in Hong Kong for a leisurely brunch with children is a bit like finding a Golden Ticket to the Wonka factory: rare and valuable indeed. Finding a family brunch spot that comes with outdoor space for marauding little people to run riot while you sip on free flow bubbles? Now you’re Charlie Bucket, handed the keys to the factory!
(Ok, enough with the Dahl-isms. I’m now craving chocolate).
The Family T-T recently headed to Quayside, at Wan Chai’s historic Fenwick Pier, to check out the weekend brunch, and we were lucky enough to choose a day where the weather was very much in our – and the restaurant’s – favour. In addition to the spacious and airy indoor dining area, (a little reminiscent of a ship’s deck with polished wooden floors and a bronze accents), Quayside offers a vast external terrace overlooking the harbour, with plenty of table seating and some lovely squishy lounges that are just crying out to be occupied for the evening along with a bottle or two of something chilled. The terrace can be partly covered, giving much-needed shade to the space, and offers plenty of room for the aforementioned marauding children to play out of harm’s way and without disturbing your fellow diners.
The Sunday brunch menu offers a semi-buffet selection of fresh salads, cold meats, cheeses and homemade soups, followed by your selection of eggs, pastas, pizzas or a selection of meat or fish cooked on the wood-fired barbecue. A proper flame grill is a rare thing indeed in Hong Kong, and Quayside’s owners actually head out to Sai Kung on a weekly basis to cut their own almond wood logs for the barbie, a commitment to quality charcoal that Mr T-T found most impressive indeed (I also may have detected a teeny hint of envy).
Kicking off with our salad course, we found that the buffet had enough to appease a veg-avoiding three-year-old, and he enjoyed picking his own selection of cold cuts, beetroot and tomatoes (note: NO GREEN VEGETABLES SHALL PASS). Along with his Dad, he also demolished a huge amount of the freshly-pressed pork terrine and a bread basket full of baguette. So far so good. I was a big fan of the delicately garlicky marinated Mediterranean veggies, and had to hold myself back from filling up on the comforting tuna and rice salad.
After a short break for running around and around the terrace pretending to be a jet plane (Young Master T-T), another glass of prosecco (Mr T-T) and a quick browse on Instagram (err… me), it was time for our mains. Rather surprisingly given the earlier wood-fired enthusiasm, Mr T-T opted for a pizza, which was generously topped with pepperoni and oozing cheese in all the right ways. I went for the barbecued salmon steak, which came with a sour cream-doused baked potato (YUM! Why do I never think to do this at home?), grilled tomato and buttered green beans.
The fish was cooked to perfection – I asked for this to be served medium – and the salmon absorbed all the flavour of the charcoal without a hint of dryness. My only slight criticism here would be the selection of sauces available as I felt that the black pepper, BBQ, blue cheese or hollandaise options better complemented the barbie’s meat dishes than my fish. However, as my hollandaise came served on the side, and the salmon was so beautifully moist, this wasn’t a big issue. Perhaps a lemon butter would be a good addition to the condiments?
The surprise knock-out dish of the day came in the form of The Boy’s penne carbonara. Forget the gloopy cream-soused gunk that we all know and hate – this was authentic pasta perfection, brimming with smoky bacon, cheese and egg, and fought over by the three of us. I would order an adult portion of this in a heartbeat on my next visit and I very rarely choose pasta in a restaurant. It’s a must-try.
Another round of refills and it was time for my favourite part of any meal – dessert! By this stage of the afternoon, the combination of yummy food and unprecedented restaurant freedom had The Boy zooming around like a total lunatic, and so the staff were kind enough to accommodate our request for a mini version of their “Lipstick” red fruit ice-cream sundae in order to mitigate a brutal sugar crash on the way home. This went down well, and the fruit paired well with a light and slightly tart raspberry sorbet. Mr T-T went for a well executed Normandy apple tart, while I chose the more unusual walnut tart, which reminded me of a pecan pie in texture, but with less sweetness and more depth to the flavour. The desserts rounded off our meal nicely, and we lingered for a little while longer enjoying the breeze – and the first weekend without brutal humidity in months – on that lovely terrace.
Quayside makes for a good family dining option for a number of reasons – the huge dining space, the breezy terrace, the accessible menu offering something for even the fussiest eater, the free-flow booze option (let’s be honest, this is a major motivating factor and once I’m no longer pregnant I definitely will be back to sample this myself), and the relaxed terrace. The staff are friendly, and the service that is attentive enough that impatient kids won’t be melting down before their food arrives, leaving you to enjoy your meal in peace.
The prices are attractive too, with Sunday brunch ranging from HK$158 – HK$258, plus two hours of free-flow prosecco, beer, wine, juice or house spirits for just HK$208.
If you’re looking for an easy, breezy option this weekend, head to Quayside for a casual brunch that the whole family can get on board with.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday, 11.30am – 11.30pm; Sunday 11am – 6pm.
Quayside, G/F Fleet Arcade, Fenwick Pier, 1 Lung King Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong; 2661 6708
Our meal at Quayside was by invitation.