Monday, May 09, 2011

Dad's Birthday Dinner - Hugo's

We were at Hugo's on the night of my old man's birthday - after changes with our schedules, confirmation, cancellation and re-confirmation with a number of restaurants, buffet places and stuff like that in town, and also a mind-blowing brain-storming process for the most apt birthday cake for him, there we were again at Hugo's.

It had been closed for quite a while until 2010. Hugo's is a living classic: a walk into the restaurant, dimly lit, instantly travels you away from Hong Kong. Pity that i could only vaguely remember my visits to the old Hugo's before it shut down years ago. all i remember is the rose that i received from the restaurant as a gift to their customers.

We went here for my ma's birthday last year short after its re-opening. Hugo's might have switched to a new address but there's something perceptual about this place: the decor, the service, the general atmosphere, and of course, the menu. The name of the restaurant guarantees not only the quality and taste of the dishes, but also the classic and traditions that it insists on.

The first thing we were served with included the menu and the bread basket: three kinds of bread were offered. The garlic toast,mini baguettes and round dried fruit buns. Would be much better had they been warm tho-now that the garlic toast had gone sorta stale because its cold, and the mini baguettes, tangy and too chewy, were wasted. The sweet,round bun with raisins and dried fruits was extremely lovely tho.

we ordered three appetizers, the first being the Caesar Salad, prepared table side. Its one of the most expensive Caesar salads you could find in Hong Kong; but its also the best. The dressing is not made in advanced but mixed in front of the customers, which was then nicely tossed into the delicate pieces of lettuce, finally topped with croutons, bacon bits and cheese. It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. I've never tasted such sweetness in the dressing before. It had a strong flavour of egg yolk and lemon juice and - was there mustard? but there cant be - a little spiciness in the dressing. The taste of it simply fills up your mouth once you take a bite into the lettuce, making it the most enjoyable salad i have ever had.

Steak tartare was also prepared table side. We love the beef tartare at Tifffin's, chilled on an iced bowl and ate with thin crisps. Here they toss it fresh and serve with a thick slab of crispy toast. And man, the tartare here is marvelous! The chef gave us a sample to taste if its salty enough before serving it to us. The steak used are clearly of a high quality as they carry the natural sweetness of beef. The amount of mustard and capers were just alright, not too much as to cover the natural taste of the meat - man. There's no way of returning as what I tasted basically redefined what 'delicious' means.

Shrimp cocktail.The shrimps arent huge-as compared to what's at Morton's-but they are certainly full of the flavour of the sea, extremely spongy and hell, they tasted much better with the thousand island dressing which came with it. The dressing you usually have outside are so rich and fattening that drives you to nuts, and they don't taste good in anyway. This one was different as it was so, so refreshing and light but sweet. Marvelous.

Lobster Bisque. Of course. Who doesn't try their signature Lobster Bisque at Hugo's? Also prepared table side, the soup was cooked with brandy, and a dash of cream was put as the final touch.

Served steaming hot, they do have all the reasons to be called a true classic. It was so rich in flavour that it almost brought me to tears as i drank in. The soup had just the right texture and consistency, and it was thick and rich with the aroma and sweetness of the lobster. The little pieces of lobster flesh were spongy and extremely tasty. Despite a little too salty, it was within the acceptable range and- i just fail to search for the word to describe the drinking experience. It was too good to be true, really, and theres no doubt that it is the BEST in hong kong.I drank much slower than my parents did as I wanted to savour each and every spoonful of the soup, recording the taste and everything better in my mind. Its a waste if you drink too hasty and soon forget about the flavour.

Pepper steak, prepared table side. I start to wonder how many percent is actually cooked in the kitchen since the floor seemed to be more busy with chefs preparing dishes outside...anyway, the steak was certainly good. I only tried a little after it turned cold, and yet it was still juicy and tender to the max, as smooth as silk on your tongue but taints you with the flavour of the meat. The pepper on top gave a little spiciness to the meat. Marvelous.

Australian Black Angus rib of beef from the carving wagon with Yorkshire Pudding.That slab of meat looked too big to me. I didnt get to try it but i think it must had been good,judging from the facial expression of my dad as he craved in. The Yorkshire pudding tasted a little like croissant so he said.

Lobster Thermidor. It has become the new i-want-nothing-but-you-dish whenever i dine at steakhouses. I thought the Thermidor i had at JW's California was good enough. I was wrong. Hugo's one was much, much better that it basically surpassed the one i had in all aspects. Two halves of a whole lobster was served, with the flesh scoped out and baked with cream, yogurt, cheese and brandy, then re stuffed into the shell. 

Man, the taste of the cream sauce was so good that I wanted so bad to soak it up with a piece of bread and clean it all! The rich sauce had not covered up the taste of the lobster flesh as the flavour was simply condensed and locked into the flesh, and exploded in my mouth as i bit in. Man. I could hardly speak while eating as i worry the flavour would escape from my mouth once i open it!It was good. It was really good that it basically reset my definition of 'delicious' and 'scrumptious' in my little dictionary of food!

Side dishes were kept warm on a silver warmer. We ordered two and together with the baked potatoes that came with the ribs, we had three in total. All were delicious.

The creamy spinach was not tooooo rich (as it always is elsewhere), and chopped so finely that you hardly have to chew before it slipped down your throat, sweetening it with the taste of the cream.

The sauteed mushroom was rich in flavour and a bit into the mushroom came the juice which exploded out.

Even the baked potatoes was nice(but i could not eat too much), and i like how the bacon bits are. They are the genuine bacon bits, not the bacon-flavoured whatever. It was good. It was just-good.

After enjoying our delicious meal my father asked for Bailey's on the rock, which was basically coffee plus liqueur. A little too sweet for me, but enjoyable and certainly one of the best drinks you can have after a delicious meal as it had been.

Our table was then cleaned,and there came the dessert menu(which was basically a prank). We read through and suddenly came the ice-cream birthday cake we bought from Haagen Dazs, and my dad appeared STUNNED. (we asked if he had been expecting a cake or something and he said no.tongue) The singer came for a song and we had some enjoyable time playing with the candle and the cake, which was still frozen and hard like a stone, therefore impossible to be cut into!:P

Theres no question on the tastiness of the cake as we all know how nice HG's ice cream is. Cookies and cream was the favour we picked and it was sooooooo good. The cake had a thin layer of cream on the crust and it added a little sweetness to the ice cream. All in all, it was delicious.

The meal finally ended with the Chocolate Bon-bons, served in a container with dried ice, and once its opened smoke came out in a rush.

Despite the visually stunning effect they didnt taste good, to be frank. The crispy coating of chocolate tasted a little bland and 'thin' to me, and the vanilla ice cream was certainly beaten by the ice-cream we just craved in. But oh well, whatever else we had throughout the meal, it is what makes Hugo's a classic of Hong Kong. The insistence on quality and history instead of changing swiftly to match with the new trends in the society is just not what Hugo's would do.

But there's' something that has changed over the decades-Hugo's isnt always as stagnant as it might appear to be - and I was SHOCKED to hear the singer singing 'BAD ROMANCE' at Hugo's. Yes, BAD ROMANCE by LADY GAGA, sung and played upon request at HUGO's. My head turned my 90 degrees as i hear the clear 'ah ah ah ah ah' from the other side of the restaurant.

A marvelous night it had been. Thanks to Hugo's for everything and i really hope it had been an enjoyable evening for my birthday Daddy :)

Lobby Level, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong,
18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

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