Probably the newest boutique hotel in Hong Kong, The Upper House which opened in October 2009, has its bar, restaurant as well as the hotel lobby on the 49th floor. No doubt to take advantage of the view as well as lots of natural light.
Café Gray Bar was buzzing on a Wednesday night with well-heeled tourists and expats alike (not many locals were sighted). The drinks menu has a number of delectable cocktails to entice the palette. My pineapple and thyme martini was unusual yet tasty.
We then progressed to Café Gray Deluxe - the restaurant adjacent to the bar. It seems brighter than the bar with a similar view of the harbour and Central. The menu, devised by Gray Kunz, has many interesting dishes and combinations. Our gnocchi with artichokes and sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) was light and tasty. The richness of the short-ribs was balanced by a sharp tomato compote and mustard sauce. The pomfret meunière was good but on the large side.
(Gnocchi with artichokes and sunchokes)
The wine list is extensive - one that befits a 3-Michelin star restaurant rather than the brasserie of a boutique hotel. Perhaps Café Gray has starry aspirations, but for now it's a bit of an overkill. As for the service, there is room for improvement. Despite of the fine cutlery and deco, the service seemed brisk to the point of abrupt - plates were removed too quickly, waiters too ready to take orders, chocolates appeared before the dessert: they need to work on the pace of the meal to achieve a more rounded and luxurious experience.
Let's see how it does in a few months.