A rooftop bar and restaurant that exudes elegance and sophistication without having congested tables as a setting gives that value of space for further intimate privacy, Popinjays adds a contemporary lifestyle to Hong Kong’s ever demanding dining scene. mylifestylenews writes.
Nestled on one of Central’s unique locations, on the slope of Cotton Tree Drive heading up to the island’s mid level, the most prominent residential location in Hong Kong, Popinjay is the new talk-of-the-town restaurant that is not only offering a modern European-inspired menu but also a magnificent view of the entire Central’s mid level views as well as Hong Kong’s city skyline just a stone’s throw away. Look even further, the uninterrupted view across the harbor of the Kowloon side is simply spectacular, thanks to its unique locale where the bar and restaurant sit on a prestige vantage point for such a majestic look out to the vibrant city.
Popinjays, a term once assigned to parrots, takes its name from the resident cockatoos along neighboring Garden Road, Hong Kong Park and Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. Naturally drawn to being part of a flock, and rarely flying solo, the habits of these birds embody Popinjays’ social spirit. Popinjays is a new add on to The Murray Hong Kong hotel by the Niccolo hotel group. By entering the minimalist design hotel lobby and taking the lift up to the rooftop, you are immediately drawn to the stylish bar and the wraparound terrace that frames the restaurant. The bar is dotted with inviting lounges and comfy couches serving a world-class selection of classic cocktails, signature and bespoke creations.
A large whimsical painting with monkeys catches your eye immediately upon entering the spacious restaurant. White hanging lamps contrasting the soft grey carpets throughout the entire restaurant enlighten with further pop art paintings as well as the unpretentious table setting. Despite the heavy modern dining lounge chairs, which don’t seem to agree with the soft grey carpet especially when it was clumsily being pulled and pushed, the red glass filled with a tea light candle adds more mood and delicate flower arrangements in small vases on each table create a cozy ambience to unwind. Haviland Chinaware is used for the tabletops, which is not fussy, but shows a lovely attention to details.
By looking out the floor to ceiling giant windows that basically wraparound the entire restaurant with a stunning view to mesmerize while wining and dining, when weather permits, the 420 sqm outdoor terrace opens its door for patrons to sit back, relax and enjoy the surrounding green and cosmopolitan city’s vibe. Not forgetting the backdrop is the perfect vantage point to appreciate the most instagram-worthy views. Popinjay’s menu is carefully crafted by Chef Didier Quennouelle for those who seek an intimate dining experience as well as for a night to remember, be it for its breathtaking view or its fine gastronomy. Quennouelle brings his 25 years’ of cuisine knowhow to Popinjays kitchen drawing on the traditions of French gastronomy of his own interpretation of classic dishes on his modern European-inspired menu together with his signature creative flair lending a distinctive Gallic influence.
A degustation bespoke menu with four or six-courses that changes weekly is offered from Monday to Thursday and comes along with a curated selection of vintage champagnes and wines to complement the dining experience. We opted for the four-course degustation menu and a few add ons from its classic menu. The homemade foie gras terrine topped with honey mustard was a delicate start to the evening to get the taste buds going. Rich and solid, and best accompanied by their warm and soft freshly baked assorted breads, this makes a amouse bouche.
<Chioggia Beetroot and Green Apple>
When root vegetable is in season, the freshest taste to stimulate your palate is a definite. The dish is full of surprises if you consume it in sequence by dipping the crunchy root vegetables to the 48 month comte, herbs, apple wasabi sorbet, curcuma dressing. From soft to a lightly pungent palate, this dish helps to tantalize and refresh your taste buds. Pairing with the 2017 Pouilly-Furme, Domaine Lebrun from the Loire Valley, France enlightens the salad with its mineral and tense, long finish on the palate with a pleasant acidity.
Pan seared foie gras soaked on the bed of curry hinted flavoured pumpkin coulis just didn’t quite do it for us. Delicate flavours individualy, but the peculiar soft-on-soft palate didn’t bring out the best from both compositions despite its alternative execution, texture and presentation.
<Wild Black Cod>
The wild black cod was beautifully cooked with a firm texture in great flavor with timut black pepper, spicy bok choy and coconut foam that gives a pleasant twist to the entire dish. With the 2014 Saint-Romain, Les Vieilles Vignes, Vincent Giardin from Burgundy France, the concentrated flavours of its fresh citrus, ripe peach and the light toasty notes and touches of honey gives an elegant buttery richness and a good finish to the fish.
<Salt Marsh Lamb Saddle & “Mendiant Fruits”>
We picked this dish from the classic menu to further sample the modern European gastronomy. The vegetables were a hit to counteract the richness of the meat with a hint of oriental spice from its tomato and capsicum harrissa. But unfortunately, the shoulder cut was cooked very rare and the fact that it was so rare affected the enjoyment. Close to a sashimi texture, the meat lacked a firm enough texture to enjoy chewing and not easily being cut even by a sharp steak knife.
<Roasted Challans Duck>
Not satisfied from the lamb saddle, we ordered the roasted Challans Duck and to our dismay, another tough piece of meat to cut and a little hard to chew. But a nice grainy texture in the meat and a wonderful flavor from the glazed endive and date chutney, aided by the addition of the jus and the Brussels sprouts to cut through the richness of the duck meat and skin.
This dessert is served warm and is utterly delectable and delicious. There was a crunchy texture of the fruit, complimented with the smoothness and coolness of the toasted almond ice cream with vanilla sauce, creating layers of delicate flavors.
<Figs and hazelnut Praline>
A gorgeous presentation and another delectable dessert! The raspberry sorbet was simply outstanding and the delicacy of the mille-feuille was a model of deportment upon tasting along with the smooth and delicious hazelnut cream.
Desserts were a tour de force in our view and could not be faulted and are a must try in Popinjays and in interesting and thoughtful wine pairings. The restaurant team were attentive but in the background, which we enjoyed very much with conversation flow without feeling the presence of wait staff hovering over you. Popinjay sets a standard of contemporary style reflecting Hong Kong’s vibrant and cosmopolitan lifestyle catering for the city’s flamboyant and fashionable crowd, as well as leaders in style by offering a chic dining and refined lifestyle experience in Hong Kong’s bustling metropolis.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 4.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Figs and hazelnut Praline
22 Cotton Drive
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3141 8888
Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated.