When we heard the news that Vasco in PMQ was closing, to be replaced by The Drawing Room, a restaurant previously located in Causeway Bay in the Jia hotel (which has been renamed J Plus – are you confused yet?) we regretted not having eaten there more frequently. It was a good restaurant for special occasions.
The restaurant looks the same as it did when it was Vasco, at least if memory serves. The lighting fixtures are the same, the banquettes are still plush and comfortable. They no longer serve the same selection of flavoured butters, but the bread is still good.
And like before, they offer set menus (HK$798 for four courses, HK$998 for five, from “classic” or “seasonal” tasting menus), with the option of ordering a la carte.
Both set menus offer two choices for each course, and we had one of each. We went for the four-course option on the classic menu, which gave us appetiser, pasta, main and dessert. My guest was unable to eat dairy and egg products, so the servers were careful to tell her which dishes to avoid.
The appetisers were generously sized. I originally had the grilled quail with foie gras mousse with shallots and red cherry marmalade, which was delicious – the quail had a slightly smoky flavour from being wrapped in bacon. But my guest disliked the sticky texture of the langoustine tartare with Amalfi lemon cream and cucumber mayonnaise, so we swapped. I preferred the quail, but the langoustine wasn’t bad – the lemon cream gave the dish a nice lift.
We loved both pasta dishes. The Italian red prawn linguine with fresh tomato, which had a HK$50 supplement, had a fantastic, deeply flavoured sauce, although we couldn’t taste the chilli that was listed as an ingredient. Buffalo mozzarella ravioli with organic Rhug Estate lamb ragout and smoked cheese were fat, well-filled morsels of tender pasta.
A main course of chargrilled pigeon was perfectly cooked to a bloody rare, and tasted smoky from the grill. My guest’s roasted black Angus tenderloin – a rather boring cut of meat – was far surpassed by the accompaniment of ox tongue, which was rich, fatty and flavourful.
Warm caramelised brioche with vanilla ice cream was a little dry, but the mango sorbet with pistachio sponge and passion fruit essence was a light, refreshing end to the meal.
The Drawing Room, Shop H701-H708, 7/F, Hollywood, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, tel: 2156 0888. About HK$800-HK$1,000 without drinks or the service charge