The brand spanking new Seafood Room in Causeway Bay makes one hell of a statement. It laughs in the face of the city’s restaurant recession, where most dining rooms are reporting numbers down 25-30%. Owned by Russia’s Bulldozer Group, it’s enormous, bling in parts, slightly bewildering in others. Not unlike Mother Russia herself. But as the plates do the talking throughout an impressive dinner, it’s clear that the investment in the kitchen is money well spent.
Seafood Room takes up the entire top floors of the newly-constructed Tower 535 in Causeway Bay, right at the end of Jaffe Road just before Sogo and The Excelsior. Up the escalators to the lift lobby, we’re greeted by an impossibly-beautiful young Russian who sweetly ensures we find the elevator right in front of us. Up to the top, where more greeters welcome before the restaurant hits you. It is massive. 8,000 square feet. That’s before you hit the 2,000 sq ft rooftop lounge with serious views over the harbour. If Causeway Bay can tempt the Central crowd over, it will quite possibly become absolutely rocking. Below is one part of one side of the restaurant which has 200 covers, meaning tables are very generous.
Talking of which, the opening party was, by all accounts, quite the evening with more than 1,100 people showing up. Star power came in the form of Adrien Brody, besties with Bulldozer Group’s owner. Incidentally, aside from The Pianist and Grand Budapest Hotel, Wikipedia reminded me that Brody was in Bullet alongside Tupac and Mickey Rourke. Blast from the past.
Anyway Brody’s art (below) is on display in the restaurant alongside Takashi Murakami and others, but you come for the food.
And if you’re going to focus on seafood, then there are few more qualified or respected people to lead the team than James Cornwall, previously Executive Chef at London’s legendary seafood restaurant, J Sheekey. The modest Kiwi has serious produce to play with and doesn’t disappoint.
Langoustine Tartare with Avocado, Truffle and Caviar is brilliantly bling, an assembly of faultless expensive stuff to lay down a marker for the rest of dinner.
Tuna Carpaccio with Foie Gras & Truffle. Because tuna needs foie gras. And more truffle.
Salmon Tataki with Jalapeno & Avocado were brilliant bites:
Miso Salmon with Lime was a show-stopper. Nobu nailed it first, at least globally, but fish with miso is one of life’s great combinations, up there with Morecambe and Wise and Bracewell and Reid.
USDA Rib Eye with Chimichurri Sauce. Even for three, a beast of a cut, the cook bang-on.
A sideways hop to a local favourite of razor clams with glass noodles & garlic, shows that it’s not all about pricy ingredients. Even the comparatively humble stuff works really well.
A final main of salt crust sea bass bought an exemplary cook in this classic Guangdong style, even if it needed the sauce to lift it somewhere memorable.
The kitchen over-delivered by nailing two desserts, the first a picture-perfect little yuzu tart with toasted meringue, and a green tea ice-cream to cut through it.
Followed by the crowd favourite of baked vanilla cheesecake with strawberries.
Dinner was courtesy of an invite from the PR agency, but I’m told that it runs HK$700 – HK$900 per person, while lunch is $200-$300.
Mon-Sun 1200pm–230pm, 600pm–midnight
Mon-Sun – 600pm-0200am – Drinks & Snacks on Rooftop
London is a sensational city, a place to eat, drink and be merry like few others. Here are some of the very best reasons why it has kept diners happy for centuries in my piece for CNN.com. And IS can get to feck if they think they’ll change it.