Brunch review: Porterhouse, a sleek steakhouse restaurant in Central, Hong Kong
New brunch with a buffet, carving station, seafood bar AND a Raclette wheel
This might be true for most people, especially most people in Hong Kong, but my social life primary revolves around food. And now, it’s usually food eaten at night. When I lived in Singapore, I went out for brunch/lunch all the time. Maybe it’s because my metabolism was faster then (early twenties!) or because I just found the Singapore/Aussie-style options there tastier than ones in Hong Kong. More likely it’s because I’m now prioritizing fitness and am usually at the gym during brunch/lunch time. But for the right sounding brunch, I could be persuaded to take an earlier gym class and then indulge.
Because, since I really enjoy my food, eating for multiple hours in a beautiful setting with the sunshine streaming in the windows sounds extremely pleasant. Porterhouse has such an atmosphere. Located on the 7th floor of California Tower (same building as a PURE Fitness), the restaurant has high architecturally-sculpted bronze ceilings, soft velvet banquettes, white marble tabletops, and more. A modern, if conservative atmosphere that I’d recommend for a tasteful brunch with your partner, close girlfriend, or parents. Kids are welcome.
Porterhouse has recently launched a brunch buffet ($428 per person). Walking in, the first thing we see was the epic salad table. Totally endless and all very fresh-looking. Beyond the salad bar was the fresh seafood bar and hot buffet stations. And on the other side of the restaurant, was a very American-looking dessert station.
Once we’d been seated and ordered coffee, I went straight for...the carving station. I was starving after GRIT class and salad could wait. The carving station was serving up a juicy rump roast, and the whole thing was quite rare. Overall the beef was well marbled and had good flavour though it was slightly tough to cut and chew. In front of the carving station was a bowl of french fries. Now, I am a total french fry lover so was quite sad that the fries in the bowl turned out to be cold. Since there’s no heat lamp for the fries, maybe Porterhouse could consider going around with fresh fries and serving guests periodically throughout the meal (a la La Vache)? After all, it’s a cheap way to fill guests up and who doesn’t love fresh fries?
For my second plate, I tried the rest of the hot food section. The salt-baked salmon was incredible, very fatty and tender. The pumpkin penne was also unexpectedly good, salty with a meat sauce where I’d expected sweet and nutty. Sadly the pork ribs and roast chicken were both tough and dry.
Later, I noticed a girl getting cheese fries (aka melted Raclette on fries) and promptly got in line. Luckily the fry bowl had been refilled because hot Raclette on hot fries was EVERYTHING, and made me wonder why on earth people usually serve it with boiled potatoes. It’s heavier, sure, but way better on fries.
Eventually I hit the salad station and was honestly very impressed. Everything was fresh and well seasoned. I was kicking myself for not starting here because health, but better late than never. I loved everything I tried: eggplant with cashews, sweet potato sticks (very jammy), grilled asparagus, pumpkin and roasted tomatoes, house-smoked salmon, and salty anchovies.
After overeating, I allowed myself a tiny bit of dessert. I usually have low expectations for dessert bars but really enjoyed this one. It’s hard to find American-style cakes, pies and crumbles in this city but the ones at Porterhouse are very authentic. The carrot cake was moist, tall, and had a delicious cream cheese icing. The apple pie and berry crumble both had excellent crusts and fillings.
There are also free flow drink options starting at $188 (for two hours, including Prosecco, wine, Peroni, Bloody Marys and G&Ts).
At $428, I think Porterhouse’s brunch is worth the full price if you really enjoy roasts and eat a lot of oyster, crab legs, and lobster. Otherwise, I think it’s a bit expensive for what you get. Personally, I’d rather have less seafood and more tasty hot mains. Also, while you can add on brunchier options like french toast and pancakes for $68, it would be better if they were part of the brunch. They’re cheap to make after all, and would make the brunch feel more, well, like brunch rather than lunch. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed for a salad and dessert bar only pricing option...that would have me heading back soon!
7/F, California Tower 30-36 D'Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central, 2522 6366
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