Hong Kong Restaurants
The Lounge at the New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel in Kowloon's Tsim Sha Tsui East district has been totally re-imagined with a totally new look and a totally new menu.
Hong Kong-based design firm Nude Design Limited is responsible for the totally new look of The Lounge at the New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel, which has undergone an overhaul of its lobby, event spaces, and some of its guest room floors.
The hotel was re-branded from the Nikko Hotel to the New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel in 2014. The renovation project was begun the following year and is now complete.
The design firm's brief was to create "a contemporary yet cozy 'living space' environment", which would "warmly invite guests to enjoy simple and light meals and beverages".
Soft tones and floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural daylight to bathe the space, creating what the hotel describes as "a contemporary residential environment".
A bookcase at the entrance doubles as a display shelf, which helps to define the space without closing if off from the lobby below or other food and beverage outlets above.
Mouth-watering pastries are on display in a vitrine at the other end of the space.
Introducing Claudio Dieli
I was one of several journalists, travel writers, and food critics invited to inspect the space and sample The Lounge's new menu over three hosted lunches.
We also got the chance to chat with Claudio Dieli, the hotel's newly appointed Executive Chef, who was responsible for creating the totally new menu at The Lounge.
Prior to joining New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel, Chef Claudio's most recent appointments were serving as the Executive Chef at The Hong Kong Jockey Club and Executive Sous Chef at the Intercontinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong.
Before coming to Hong Kong, Chef Claudio's 20-plus year culinary career saw him wielding a knife in the kitchens of fine-dining restaurants in Italy, London, Dubai, and Amman.
20 Kinds of Herbal and Organic Tea
The menu has a comprehensive assortment of beverages and alcoholic drinks, including a bespoke tea selection of more than 20 varieties of organic and herbal teas.
Several tea-infused cocktails also populate the menu.
Signature dishes include Beef Sliders, Crab Cakes, Salmon Tartare, and Roasted Duck Spring Rolls.
There are also decadent desserts such as Raspberry Chocolate Cake, Pistachio Éclair, Vanilla Éclair, and Green Tea Layer Cake.
We got to sample six of the teas, eight of the new dishes, and none of the tea-infused cocktails.
When I asked Chef Claudio which tea he would suggest to accompany the first course, he suggested Pinot Grigio. "I'm not into pairing tea with food," he confided.
Owing to Hong Kong's cross-cultural nature, having tea can mean one of two things. Within a Chinese context, it means going to a Cantonese restaurant for dim sum.
Within a Western context, it means going to the lobby lounge of a five star hotel or an upscale eatery for what the English think of as afternoon tea.
Unlike most of the best restaurants in Hong Kong serving afternoon tea, high tea, or a tea buffet, diners at The Lounge order items off an a la carte menu rather being being served a set menu.
So our experience was a bit unique. Because we were journalists, we were served a tasting menu so that we could try more things.
"Your servings are one-half size so you can sample more of them," we were repeatedly assured. In other words, paying customers would get servings twice the size of the servings pictured here.
There was a good balance between sweet and savoury. My favourite savoury items were the Seared Tuna Nicoise and the Cream of Tomato Soup.
I especially liked the brown bread that was served with it. It was light, airy, and crisp.
I'm not a big fan of dessert, so I was surprised that I liked the desserts even more than the savoury bites. Are desserts Chef Claudio's strong suit?
The biggest surprise was that my favourite dessert of the three we were served was the Green Tea Layer Cake.
I love green tea, but I detest other things flavoured with green tea. I've never understood the attraction of green tea ice cream.
Nobody puts milk in green tea, so why would you make green tea ice cream?
I've tried green tea cakes, green tea cookies, green tea toothpaste, green tea mouthwash - and generally I have found all of them disgusting.
So how could it be that I liked the Green Tea Layer Cake so much? You'll have to ask Chef Claudio. There must have been a secret ingredient.
The Lounge, New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel, 72 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone: (852) 2739-1111. Hotel Website: New World Millennium Hong Kong Hotel Social Media: Facebook - Instagram