By: Claire Locking
Café Bord de Mer
Auberge Discovery Bay
88 Siena Avenue, Discovery Bay, Lantau
(Free shuttle from North Plaza bus terminal)
2295 8288 | aubergediscoverybay.com
They say a change is as good as a rest, but in this city of just a thousand or so square kilometres, it’s sometimes difficult to recharge the batteries without jumping on a plane and escaping for a while.
Auberge Discovery Bay, a new hotel in the residential enclave that many call “the Magic Kingdom”, aims to offer a getaway from city living, and it’s only 25 minutes on the ferry from Central. We took the trip recently to sample the hotel’s Sunday lunch buffet.
The location, at the hotel’s waterfront eatery, Café Bord de Mer, couldn’t be better. There’s an outside bar, tables all along the waterfront, and plenty of grass for smaller diners to run off some steam. Inside, the décor continues the coastal theme with lobster-and-starfish-embroidered cushions, coral, driftwood and a palette of blues, aquas and neutrals.
When it comes to the food, however, you might want to leave your trendy city tastes behind. This is basic fare, mostly with an Asian twist. Starters included a perfectly decent salad bar with seafood, antipasti and gourmet cheeses. Mains included sweet and sour pork, seafood Thai curry and a dish advertised as chicken and broccoli that sadly lacked even the slightest hint of the green stuff. A highlight was the succulent fillet of roast beef, but with only Asian accompaniments there didn’t seem a satisfying way to mop up the gravy.
By pud, I was feeling underwhelmed and still slightly peckish, but thankfully the pastry chef deserves the gold star; the desserts were a triumph. The miniature lemon meringue pies and sea-salt-and-chocolate-ganache mini tortes were worth the journey alone.
For a lunch that is gaining a reputation as family friendly I found there was little to occupy the small people. A balloon bender made an appearance in the foyer, but the offered kids’ club is located on the second floor. We were there on a cold and windy day, along with an army of black puff-jacket wearing tourists, but I’ve heard that kite-making, pony rides and other activities do make an appearance when the sun shines. The buffet didn’t work for my rather fussy smaller diners but you can choose mini burgers, fish and chips and pasta from the children’s a la carte menu. The chocolate fountain, marshmallows and gummy bears, however, were a huge hit, with my son describing it joyfully as “Candy Land”.
Hong Kong is crying out for a brunch where adults can sip glasses of something cold in the sunshine while kids are entertained. Auberge offers the perfect setting, probably the best in the city, but sadly at the moment it seems happy to cater to tourists by offering just adequate buffet fair. I am, however, going to give it the benefit of the doubt; with long sun-filled days now upon us, I like to think Auberge will begin to make use of its truly stunning location by offering hard-working urbanites a little bit of seaside living, just a hop, skip and a jump from Central.
Must try dish: Sea salt and chocolate mini torte