So I heard through the grapevine that the newly renovated Grand Cafe at the Grand Hyatt supposedly has the best Hainanese chicken in Hong Kong so I came here with J for lunch to check it out. Serving both international and Asian cuisines, Grand Cafe is opened from 6:30AM to 12AM and is popular for its dinner buffet (and of course the Hainanese chicken rice). I haven't been to the restaurant before the renovation but the space that I found myself walking into was huge and expansive with different sections allocated to separate open kitchens dedicated to Western and Asian dishes. The decor was modern and chic with lots of natural sunlight through the windows while I settled down into my seat right across from the Asian open kitchen to study the menu.
I was definitely ordering the famed Hainanese Chicken Rice with organic vegetables, chicken broth and Asian herbs and it was befitting that I was sitting right across from the Hainanese chicken food preparation area where rows of chicken were on display. At $285, the Hainanese chicken rice was most certainly the most expensive in Hong Kong but was it really the best? Read on below to find out.
After we placed our orders, we were given some warm bread and butter to tide us over before our food came.
Finally, the Hainanese Chicken Rice that I had been dying to try arrived on a neatly-arranged tray with chicken oil rice, chicken broth and the classic trio of sauces (chili sauce, sweet soy sauce and scallion ginger sauce). It was nice that you can choose the breast or thigh part of the chicken for no extra charge so we opted for the thigh which is usually the smoothest and juiciest. The moment of truth was finally here - are we about to bite into the best Hainan chicken in Hong Kong? The chicken was certainly smooth and tender with a firm gelatinous skin but it was quite salty for some reason which overwhelmed the pure flavor of chicken that most people look for in this dish. The rice and broth were flawless though and I was most impressed with the chili sauce which provided a nice spicy kick in flavors. So was it the best in Hong Kong? The chicken rice was pretty good, don't get me wrong, but I don't think it was the best and especially not for the hefty price tag for only 6 pieces of meat when I can get two whole Hainan chicken at my usual take-out shop in Sai Wan Ho. But in some ways I guess you're paying for the luxurious seating at a hotel here at Grand Cafe which is good for business meals so if you want to eat Hainan chicken in a nice environment, then this is the place for you.
I wanted to try more Hong Kong classic dishes and was debating between the Baked Pork Chop ($225) with egg fried rice and tomato sauce and the Honey BBQ Pork ($250) with fried egg and steamed rice but I balked at the price for the barbecued pork (again I have another favorite take-out place for BBQ pork which is much cheaper than this) so I went for the pork chop rice instead. The quality was surprising nice as the pork has been deep-fried into a cutlet first while the sauce was slightly sweet and subtle which avoided the usual pitfall of tasting like ketchup. It was a very classy transformation of a popular comfort food that most people will order at a cha chaan teng (HK style cafe) but again the price was just a bit too steep for me.
Verdict - the food quality at Grand Cafe is certainly high but the value for money is not. If you are willing to pay for it, you can enjoy classic Hong Kong favorites like wonton noodles and fried rice in a classy setting for a hefty premium.
Lobby Level, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong
1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
Tel: +852 2584 7722
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