Thankful for small mercies

Of all the things to be thankful for, the relaxation of rules allowing dining out must be one that rates up there with families and friends in Hong Kong.

At Kinship in Central, executive chef Chris Grare digs deep into his New Jersey roots to celebrate the occasion with a traditional family-style dinner menu (HK$488) on November 26 and 27.

The menu comprises a selection of shared starters and sides such as Louisiana crayfish salad, grandma’s baked stuffing and mashed potatoes.

For the mains, guests can choose the chef-recommended smoked turkey with hazelnut-cauliflower puree and cranberry jus. Vegetarians are also in for a treat with the porcini risotto, served with madeira reduction, pecorino and fresh herbs.

Sweet-toothed diners shouldn’t miss out on the apple pie crumble with roasted almond ice cream and vanilla creme. Another nostalgic treat is Grare’s interpretation of an American childhood favorite: salted caramel s’mores with waffle wafer, marshmallow and chocolate mousse.

In addition to more shared starter options and the unforgettable apple pie crumble, guests can choose one main from the hearty options, including fried chicken and waffles, baked cod and – most importantly – the smoked turkey served with an array of sides.

If you’d rather dine at home, chef Braden Reardon from the Black Sheep Restaurants hospitality team has created a special Thanksgiving menu (HK$498) to help celebrate the holiday in style.

Alongside a traditional whole roasted turkey served sliced with spiced cranberry sauce and rosemary gravy, guests can look forward to tucking into sides such as mascarpone and brown butter-whipped mashed potatoes, creamy green bean casserole with crispy shallots and a rich mac and cheese with fontina and provolone.Dessert choices include a traditional pumpkin pie and banana cream pie.

But hurry, because orders can be placed on the Black Sheep Restaurants website today. Don’t worry if you miss it, though. Reardon is offering the same menu at the Buenos Aires Polo Club in Central from 6pm on November 26.

Thinking of something different? The newly opened Smoke & Barrel in Central, led by Grare and Arron Rhodes, is serving a barbecue feast for Thanksgiving. Diners can book either the Thanksgiving dinner (HK$488) on November 26 and 27 or the weekend brunch (HK$388).

Both offer plenty of juicy smoked turkey that has been cooked for eight hours. The menu also features beef brisket tartare served with house spice, pickled zucchini and fresh salad and seasonal desserts such as apple pie crumble and New Orleans beignets.

Even more unique is the Japanese Thanksgiving menu at izakaya restaurant Okra in Sai Ying Pun, which does away with the traditional turkey.

The dinner set for two (HK$1,400), available from November 26 to 28, invites guests to appreciate the contributions immigrants have made to Hong Kong food traditions. “The festive menu highlights some of the flavors that have passed and continue to pass through our shared Hong Kong culinary diaspora,” said chef Max Levy.

Starting with the shichimi prawn cocktail served with autumn greens, the meal has a smoked duck in place of the turkey. The duck is dried for over five days before being coated with yu an yaki sauce, resulting in a juicy and piquant taste.

Accompanied with a spicy rice stuffing, crispy brussels sprouts, kabocha tempura and a finishing touch of miso-infused apple crumble, the feast is best capped off with The Bitch sake.

After all that feasting, you might want something slightly guilt-free. The Cakery is – as always – offering vegan and sugar-free alternatives for dessert this Thanksgiving, available at all branches until November 29.

The pumpkin pie (HK$348) uses fresh pumpkin puree and silken tofu for an extra smooth, rich and creamy bite, while the apple pecan pie (HK$378) has plenty of apples, cinnamon, pecans, maple syrup, coconut oil, almond flour and dairy-free cream.

(This article was published at The Standard on November 20, 2020: Weekend Glitz: Thankful for small mercies )

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