"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..." Most of us who grew up with Christmas will remember Nat King Cole serenading us through festive celebrations. Even at the snowless Hong Kong where snowflakes come only in forms of Christmas ornaments or shortbread cookies at bakeries at Christmas, it has become one of the best times to be merry, and celebrate the holiday season with family and loved ones. Here we have gathered some of the notable celebrations this year.
Gaia in Sheung Wan has been known not only of its Italian fare, but also of its location, where alfresco is made possible through the bustling traffic of Central and Sheung Wan. At Christmas, Paolo Monti, executive chef at Gaia, is offering a three course lunch, beginning with a choice between buffet-style antipasto, or a Chicken, Lemon zest and Bread dumpling in Beef Consomme. Among selections of main courses are Spaghetti with Prawns with Sundried Tomato and Chili sauce; Sole Fillet in Pistachio, Garlic and Herb Crust; and a Roasted Veal Loin, Roman style paired with omelet with vegetables, Burrata cheese, cherry tomatoes and Shaved Black Truffle. The abundance of this lunch is further enhanced with traditional Italian Christmas sweets to round off a festive lunch available on both Dec 24 and 25.
The luxury continues at night, as Chef Monti presents a four-course dinner set for guests. The meal kickstarts with a Soft-boiled egg with Vodka Sour Crème, Smoked Salmon and Fresh Chive dots; followed by Cuttlefish Risotto with Rice Puree and its own ink. The main course is a choice between Beef Tenderloin with Nebbiolo Wine Sauce, mustard and Green peppercorn, Blue Potato Puree or Line-Caught Seabass with Anchovy Cured Sea Salt, extra virgin olive oil and Sorrento Lemon zest. Desserts comes with Christmas spirit, as guests will celebrate with a Warm Panettone Flan with Sabayon and Grand Marnier Sauce.
Dining under the star-lit winter skies is certainly a treat that's well-worth during the holiday season. The French Window at the ifc Mall is hosting a 6-course Christmas dinner each on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The luxurious dinner begins with Oysters poached in their own juice with lime butter, followed by Watercress Bouillon and cream of Caviar.
Guests can select between Traditional hay-roasted Christmas turkey or Sea Bass Fillet simmered in milk with truffle broccoli mousse and mussel vinaigrette for main course. The dinner is rounded off with sliced Beaufort cheese, truffle and beets, followed by Mocha and Cocoa Christmas log as dessert. Diners can also bring home part of the luxury dinner with a take-home jar of foie gras wrapped in style.
Assaggio Trattoria Italiana at the Art Centre in Wan Chai is hosting a 7-course Christmas Eve Dinner and a 5-Course Christmas Dinner. To start, diners can choose between a hearty Winter Vegetable Soup with Italian Butter beans, pumpkin, Italian black cabbage with Pecorino Cheese from Tuscany, or a selection of rustic antipasti, namely Mussels stuffed with Sardinian Pecorino cheese as well as Snails with mushroom baked in breadcrumbs. Another choice would be Zeppola with Burrata and Sauteed eggplants with Semi-dried Italian cherry tomato sauce. Traditional choices of main courses include Taglionlini with Rampion and King Prawns or Roast Turkey with Chestnut sauce.
Other selections include Poached Red Gurnard with light fresh tomato sauce; or for meat-lovers, a Slow-cooked US Prime short ribs with winter vegetables. It is never too late or too full to have desserts, as Christmas Struffoli and Pandoro in Mascarpone cheese and coffee sauce to mark a sweet and memorable ending to a night to celebrate.
Hugo's at the Hyatt Regency in Tsim Sha Tsui brings a taste of nostalgia as each meal is to be celebrated, and in this holiday season, festive flavours are designed by Richard Sawyer, head chef at Hugo's. On Christmas Eve, Chef Sawyer presents a six-course dinner where diners can enjoy under live music at the classic restaurant. The meal begins with Lobster and Asparagus Salad with Ratte Potatoes and Oscietra Caviar. The caviar brings extra depth in fresh flavours through the combination of lobster and asparagus. Next comes Pan-fried Foie gras, served alongside a caramelized Quince tart and young herbs. Foie gras and quince, a magical pair of ingredients are once again matched perfectly with a crisp mélange of young herb on the side. The Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Black Truffle Ravioli brings a creamy soup to a climax as the aroma of black truffles bursts full-blown from inside the ravioli.
Hugo's wouldn't be considered a staple dining establishment of the city without some classic dishes. Here in the Christmas Eve dinner menu comes Pan-fried Dover Sole fillet Veronique, whose simplicity of dover sole served with a white wine-based sauce with grapes have been a strong staple here. For mains diners can choose a Roast US Turkey, served with sides of Savoy Cabbage, parsnips and chestnuts. Another main course is Grilled Organic Welsh Lamb Loin Fillet, served with the freshest selection of young fennel, tomatoes and zucchini on the side. Close to the end of the meal is a sweet finish of Iced Christmas Parfait with Chocolate Brandy Chestnut and Macerated Strawberry Compote.
On Christmas Day Chef Sawyer presents a Festive Set Lunch at Hugo's, starting with Seafood Salad with Avocado, Lobster Oil and Micro Herbs, followed by a golden concoction of Pumpkin Veloute served alongside goat cheese tortellini, walnut and sage. The pumpkin veloute, silky and smooth and flavor further enhanced by the addition of sage. Oyster-lovers will enjoy the next course, as Fine de Claire oysters are presented three ways - Natural, Kilpatrick, and Florentine. Diners can of course choose Roast US Turkey for main, but equally tempting is Grilled USDA Prime Sirloin served with a vol-au-vent of prawns, asparagus, and tarragon. The main is followed by an Iced Christmas parfait for a sweet finish.
While celebrating the festive occasion, it is never too late to give back to the community. The Langham, Hong Kong is joining forces with The Salvation Army this year, presenting a festive ‘Tiffin Teddy Bear Afternoon Tea' promotion at Palm Court from 3pm to 5:30pm from 17 to 25 of December. Guests are encouraged to donate a new unwrapped gift, best to be an educational toy, a story book, or stationary for low-income local families or disadvantaged children. Aside from the afternoon tea set, guests will get a visit from Santa Claus and a gift for young attendees.