As with traditional afternoon tea, the boozy brunch buffet is a Hong Kong institution, perfect for those who have a reasonable disposable income, hours of leisure time to while away of a weekend and a robust tolerance to daytime drinking – i.e. people without small children.
But as with scone-scoffing venues *waves at The Continental*, there are a few Hong Kong weekend brunch options that cater to families keen to re-join civilisation before the kids are at uni, and some even go out of their way to actively welcome the little blighters. One restaurant sitting firmly in the latter category is at The Mira Hong Kong’s Yamm restaurant, where we were recently invited to test-drive brunch one Sunday with not one, but two kids in tow. Brave folks at the Mira…
Situated on the ground floor of the hotel, Yamm immediately scores points for accessibility, and happily we were far from the only table rocking up with a pushchair that day. There’s plenty of room to park your pram, but the friendly staff also offered us the option to store it behind the reception desk to make a bit more space while they brought over a (spotless) Stokke high chair and plastic cutlery for Baby T-T. As the wee man was a couple of weeks off starting weaning, he had to content himself with nomming on a spoon and drooling while we got stuck into the buffet. Poor kid.
Speaking of space, the restaurant is glitzy enough to feel like a special dining occasion without being so fancy that you’ll fear taking small people. I LOVE the statement chandelier, which is a full-on ’70s Studio 54 tribute piece that I wish I could take home (though suspect might slightly overwhelm my typical HK-sized living room), and there’s a mix of comfortable and spacious banquettes along with regular tables, depending on which you prefer.
A recent addition to Yamm’s brunch offering is the arts and crafts table that occupies pride of place in the centre of the restaurant, giving kids who’ve run the gauntlet of the dessert bar something creative to do with that sugar high. Extra bonus points for stationing this within view of pretty much all the tables, meaning that Mum and Dad get to enjoy another glass of bubbly while keeping an eagle eye on the smalls at the same time.
Another fun family friendly feature here is the dextrous sleight-of-hand performed by resident magician Lawrence Sullivan, who wanders the tables every Sunday throughout brunch service, impressing small boys (and their granddads) with clever card tricks. Master T-T was so taken with “the wizard” (bless) that he’s now decided that, after he’s done with being a fireman and a Jedi, he’s definitely going to train as a conjurer. He already has the ability to make chocolate disappear without a trace, so he’s halfway there already.Speaking of edible indulgences, onto the buffet itself. As with most Hong Kong brunches, Yamm’s is big on fresh seafood, with piles of oysters, lobster, scallops and prawns to satisfy the most intense umami cravings.
The sushi and sashimi was also good and there’s a small selection of dim sum which went down well with my resolutely Hong Kong kid, who wanted nothing more than endless char siu bao followed by dessert.
The cheese and salads were fresh, with a decent variety – the Thai salad was a particular hit at our table – and there’s also a carvery station if you feel it’s not quite Sunday without a roast. If you prefer one-handed eating (and let’s face it, your other hand is quite likely to be clutching a glass of bubbly), then there’s mini sliders and a really good grilled cheese sandwich to soak up some of that booze. Mmm, carbs.
Dessert is always an event at a buffet – honestly, I don’t know why I bother with savoury food as it just takes up valuable cake space – and Yamm’s selection has a good balance of local and Western options, in case your sweet tooth leans more towards the red bean end of the scale.
Always tricky to get right in Hong Kong’s humidity, the macarons were the right balance of crisp casing and chewy interior, making them an unexpected winner (we rigorously sampled everything in order to come to that conclusion, you understand. You’re welcome).
Booze-wise, the bubbly du jour is a sparkling wine, making this a more affordable, but just as quaffable brunch than many that feature the big-name champagne houses. There’s also free-flow cocktails along with a booze-free fruit punch for the kids. One teeny quibble would be that the cocktails could be slightly more clearly labelled as alcoholic or non-alcoholic, as I nearly ended up pouring Master T-T an afternoon snifter. Although that’s one way to guarantee a decent nap, I suppose.
Another thumbs up comes for the fact that the Yamm brunch is available throughout the weekend, not just on Sunday, offering a bit more flexibility, not to mention another free day to deal with any hangover before Monday rolls around. For an affordable and family friendly brunch that comes with a side order of entertainment, Yamm’s is pretty hard to beat. Now if they could only come up with a solution to the 6am wakeup call after all that bubbly…
Brunch hours: Saturday, 12pm to 2.30pm; Sunday 11.30am to 3pm.
Costs: Saturday, HK$368 per adult and HK$248 per child; Sunday, HK$438 per adult and HK288 per child.
Yamm, The Mira Hong Kong, 118 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; 2315 5111
Please note that this meal was by invitation.