We recently headed over to Mong Kok and the newly rebranded Cordis Hotel (previously known as Langham Place) to test-drive Sunday brunch with the kids at Alibi – Wine, Dine, Be Social (to give it its full and cumbersome name).Alibi, as I shall henceforth refer to the restaurant, is a cool, loft-inspired space, all polished concrete, interesting artwork, hipster music and loungey corners, and so at first glance definitely not the most obvious spot to brunch with kids.
Undeterred, we parked our party (four adults, one vegetarian; one hungry and adventurous four-year-old and one baby new to the whole business of eating) on a low lounge at the back of the restaurant and scoped out the setup.
Although described as “modern European”, the Alibi’s Sunday brunch definitely leans towards Spanish – no bad thing when eating as a family, as tapas and sharing plates are pretty much ideal for kids who can try a bit of everything (then reject it all in favour of cramming bread into their mouths for the rest of the meal).Priced at a very reasonable HK$358 per adult or HK$238 per kid, the semi-buffet concept is straightforward enough – there’s an extensive selection of starters and desserts for you to help yourself to, while you order your mains from a menu where they’re freshly made to order. Although the standard buffet includes unlimited sangria, you can choose to up the ante with free-flowing Perrier-Jouët bubbles for an extra HK$200, which of course we did.
There’s also a kids’ menu, although we weren’t hugely inspired by the selection of either chicken tenders or tomato pasta, and so gave it a swerve in favour of letting Master T-T loose on the buffet. And here I was extremely impressed by the obvious focus on quality over quantity, with a well thought-out range of antipasti, Spanish cheese and some really excellent salads in the cold corner.
Hot buffet options came in the form of two vast paella (seafood and veggie), sautéed prawns, tortilla and some ridiculously moreish cheese toasties that I could barely stop munching long enough to order my main.
Seafood lovers will be on board with the fresh oysters, fried anchovies with sea urchin mayo and langoustine bisque here, which Mr T-T declared delicious.
Mains number just three – a vegetarian baked egg with peppers and Manchego cheese, French spring chicken with polenta fries and a grilled rib eye steak with salsa verde. Between us we ordered one of each, and I have to say that the chicken was the runaway winner here.
The egg dish was perfectly fine too, but my steak, while cooked well, arrived colder than I would have liked. It would also have benefitted from a side salad or fries… or anything at all really, as it comes served with the salsa and nothing else as an accompaniment.
Onto dessert, and the classic Spanish churros take up their very own corner of the buffet, complete with molten chocolate for dipping. Obviously this was a HUGE hit with Master T-T who got stuck in, gleefully waving his sugary fingers in his nonplussed little brother’s face, who was perched in a high chair, nomming on chunks of fresh watermelon and pineapple.
I preferred the creamy dulce de leche cheesecake and frangipane tart, both of which were sweet enough but not overly cloying after a huge, champagne-fuelled meal.
Overall, Alibi’s Sunday brunch is a good option for those with kids, offering a buzzy, relaxed environment with enough space to accommodate families while not infringing on other diners’ meals. The buffet concept is good for picky eaters and culinary adventurers alike, while the free-flow bubbles will ensure that Mum and Dad have a good time too.
Brunch hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm
Costs: HK$358 plus 10% per adult, HK$238 plus 10% per child; free-flow Perrier-Jouët available for an extra HK$200 per person.
Alibi – Wine, Dine, Be Social, 5/F, Cordis Hotel, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong; 3552 3028
Please note that this meal was by invitation – thanks to the team at Cordis for having us!