Hong Kong’s food and beverage industry is saturated with a variety of bars, restaurants, and clubs; upscale and casual. Maison Eight’s concept attempts to roll all three, and then some, into one sky-high location in Tsim Sha Tsui. Calling themselves an “all day, all night” destination, Maison Eight has four different areas designed to suit all needs: a French restaurant, “Esmé”, a ballroom, a cocktail bar opened by Salvatore Calabrese, and a private room, “Le Club 1829”, on the top floor. The following review of Maison Eight is based solely on my experience dining at the French restaurant, Esmé.
Vibe At Maison Eight
The dining area was unexpectedly formal in a stuffy and outdated sort of way, as opposed to a modern and stylish way. Basically, not at all how I had envisioned the atmosphere. Despite the lackluster vibe, the views of the city are top-notch (that is, if you can get a table by the window) and our waitstaff were informative and attentive (though it did take quite awhile for our drinks to come).
Nothing starts a night off better than a glass of champagne and a killer view of some of Hong Kong’s iconic harbourfront. Aside from the champagne, the drink menu at Maison Eight is incredibly extensive, which we loved because of the variety of options, but that also meant we had trouble deciding what to order (everything sounded so good!). Every cocktail we ordered was pretty much flawless, but the icing on the cake was when we “accidentally” ordered a beyond-massive sharing cocktail: The Sharing Swan (HK$728). Yes, yes, I know. It says “sharing” in the name, so we probably should have realized that it wasn’t meant for one person, but we were solely focused on all the delicious ingredients and based our cocktail ordering off of that alone. Thankfully, we had no regrets, because this sharing cocktail, filled with Absolut Elyx Vodka, lychee liqueur, cassis liqueur, fresh lemon and apple juice, peach bitter, and Jacques Picard Champagne, was worth every penny.
We began with the beautifully presented King Scallops (HK$178). The scallops paired well with the anis sauce, however, the large crispy bacon pieces didn’t match with the texture of the other ingredients. Despite this, the overall flavour of this dish was good.
As soon as we read about the Grilled Veal Cutlet (HK$468) stuffed with mozzarella, basil, and semi-dried tomato, we had to order it (’cause anything with cheese stuffed inside of it is a winner in my books). The only issue we had was that there wasn’t enough cheese in the middle nor a prominent cheese taste to the dish. In a similar fashion to our starter, we expected a lot more from this dish given its price.
The Warm Bitter Chocolate Tart (HK$88) came as a bit of a surprise, as it looked more like a brownie than a tart. Unfortunately, we weren’t really moved by this dish, mainly due to the chocolate tart being quite dry and crumbly. We did, however, like the pistachio ice cream which also helped to moisten the chocolate tart.
Overall, I’m a bit on the fence with Esme at Maison Eight. The service was good (though it did take awhile to receive our drinks from the bar), the presentation of the dishes was highly commendable, the cocktails were great and were good value, and the views were a big bonus. On the other side, though the dishes were good, they just didn’t stand out, and if you’re going to be dropping some serious bills on dinner, you’d expect to be eating a blow-your-mind meal. I would, however, highly recommend going to Maison Eight to grab a few cocktails in either their lounge area or on their outdoor terrace while listening to some live jazz music.
21/F, 8 Observatory Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2388 8160