Perched atop the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon, The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong’s Ozone, living up to its reputation of being the world’s highest bar at 490 metres above sea level, often attracts thrill-seekers ready to quench their thirst while breathing in the spectacular views of the Hong Kong nightscape. What many may have overlooked, however, is the luxurious Sunday brunch buffet, running from noon until 3pm.
Atmosphere: Unlike the evening ambience of soft beats and iridescent lighting, we step into a well-lit open area furnished with glass top tables and sofa chairs. Two long white marble bench tops give us full view of the buffet selection ranging from fresh seafood and sashimi, to neatly arranged Asian tapas and exquisite desserts. It’s quiet, relaxing and although the weather isn’t clear enough for us to enjoy the view, it definitely feels refreshing spending the weekend 118 floors away from the regular bustle.
Food & Drink: The brunch offering at Ozone is strictly a lunch affair, without a single breakfast selection in sight, focusing on a heavily Japanese influenced menu. Guests have the options of free-flow Veuve Clicquot Champagne at HK$888 per person or free-flow Vintage 2002 Dom Perignon Champagne with 10 grams of Hybrid Caviar at HK$1,888 per person.
Start with seafood at the Ozone Sunday brunch. We start off with some staple cold dishes like Shikoku oysters, Boston lobsters and a rather conservative variety of sushi and sashimi but it’s limited for a reason — at the other end of the bar is an Alaskan king crab salad drizzled with cocktail sauce and mango espuma and decadent chawanmushi with lobster meat, truffle and roe.
If you’re not already filled to the brim at this point, there are also some main courses available for order. We recommend the roasted black cod with ponzu caramel, which was deliciously sweet and beautifully tender, with just enough brown rice on the side. Aside from the free-flow champagne, which is attentively topped up, there are also dedicated bartenders who can tailor a freshly shaken Bloody Mary or Martini right in front of you.
The dessert section boasts an amazing selection of sweet treats including pandan crème brûlée and baked warm chocolate tarts. Treat yourself to something delectable with the vanilla cream topped with a generous amount of bird’s nest and don’t go past the hazelnut meringue, which was lightly flavoured with a soft crunch. For the less adventurous, try the full flavoured mini mango pudding or relive your childhood memories with à la-minute frozen lollipop which comes in raspberry, mango or chocolate. Of course, if you’re a fan of cheeses, rest assured all your cravings will be satisfied with a generous platter individually named for your convenience and features everything from the soft to the hard varieties.
Must-try: You can immediately pinpoint the tastiest selections at a buffet when you spot an unusually long line. In this case, people were milling around the Japanese grill and BBQ cooking station. The short rib beef cubes are carefully pan-fried, slowly soaking up the teriyaki sauce. The process can be painstakingly slow as only about five cubes are cooked every 5 minutes but its well worth the wait – each bite of the meat is tender and juicy. Staying with the meats, the way burger, dainty in size, is also one not-to-be-missed. The wagyu is fresh and cooked to preserve the succulent flavours, gently sandwiched between a soft, fluffy bun.
Verdict: The variety of distinct gastronomic creations at the Ozone brunch was truly satisfying for our appetites and a relaxing place to be on a Sunday afternoon, making it an experience we’d definitely return to when we feel like treating ourselves like royalty.
Ozone, 118/F, The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West Kowloon, Hong Kong
+852 2263 2100, www.ritzcarlton.com
This post was originally published on Lifestyle Asia, Review: Sky-High Sunday Brunch at OZONE on 16th March, 2012