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New Eats: Bâtard welcomes new pastry chef, MOTD hosts its first champagne brunch and more

Should you tire from repeated workday cycles and long for a short sabbatical (a holiday somewhere faraway, please!), no luck getting out of pesky travel regulations when getting in and out of the city. There’s hope, though, in this week’s selection of New Eats which jets across various continents for limited-time menus and seasonal serves: French pastries at Bâtard, a Vietnamese feast at J.A.M. Or a Spanish Champagne dinner at MOTD, ocean-view Australian brunch at Hue and refined Italian comforts at Castellana.

Bâtard welcomes new pastry chef Natalie Eng

Meet Natalie Eng. Bâtard’s new pastry chef set to work alongside chef de cuisine Aven Lau to recreate the restaurant’s signature refined French comforts. Also a Singapore native, Eng credits her classical French training to notable stints upon her resume, including training at Alain Ducasse’s 3-starred Le Meurice before graduating to craft the pastry menus of Singapore’s modern fine-dining destination, Sorrel and San Francisco’s Neighbor Bakehouse. On local soil, she led the dessert menu at Le Pan with executive chef Edward Voon.

Eng’s pastries often draws from the natural world; her creations delicate, minimal and surprising in flavour. As she describes in her own words, ““My approach to desserts is focused on technique and unique flavour profiles of the desserts. I very much like working with ingredients that people are not quite familiar with, whilst pairing them with what guests would already know.”

At Bâtard, she introduces four new additions to the menu. Two pastries, first a Palmito, a sugar-laminated puff pastry with thyme-diplomat cream and chestnut honey, that feels similar to a palmier; and the second, a reinvention of the classic Paris-Brest. Simplified into a one-bite, sphere-shaped chouquette which has been smoked with applewood, the sweet dome is filled with almond mousseline cream and praline, served against bitter almond sherbet. Eng also adds new petit fours –– a Caramel Mou and Fleur De Sel –– along with a new pre-dessert, Fior de Latte Gelato served with 24-hour infused fig-leaf oil. Yet another reason to scramble your way upon Bâtard waiting list.

Bâtard, 165-166 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 2318 1802

‘Taste of Vietnam’ at J.A.M.

From a previous showcase on Singaporean plates, this time, J.A.M. delves deep into the culinary stars of Vietnamese food with new menu ‘Taste of Vietnam’ (HK$160/person) –– available until 30 September. It’ll spotlight seven regional dishes and include everything from savoury serves from the lesser-known parts in Northern region to the sweeter, spicier flavours of the South. Count us in for the classics: Thịt Kho, braised pork belly served with egg and rice or Bún Trộn Thịt Gà, grilled chicken rice vermicelli, and most definitely will not be missing out on the crispy crunch of the netted spring rolls (Chả Giò) or coffee crème caramel pudding (Bánh Flan Cà Phê)

J.A.M., Lobby, Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road Central, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2808 1086

MOTD Champagne Pairing Menu ‘Under the C’ by chef Cam Wong

It’s not a single concept that defines MOTD, a self-described “private dining and event venue” located in Causeway Bay. Instead, it’s the intention of its agenda. MOTD is whatever its host decides it to be; free from bounds or restrictions. So, for a very special first RSRV Champagne Pairing Experience, MOTD invites chef Cam Wong, a professional fine art artist turned Le Cordon Bleu-trained Spanish cuisiner, for an eight-course, ocean-themed menu: ‘Under the C’. It’s a delectable showcase of chef Cam’s culinary craft in manipulating Asian spices and ingredients, skills she has carefully honed in Catalunya, A Side/ B Side and Bo.Lan in Bangkok.

With a distinct Spanish influence and evident nods to its nautical theme, the menu is topped with dishes that are designed to draw out the natural sweetness of three RSRV Champagne pairs: Blanc de Blancs 2012, Blanc de Noirs 2009 and Cuvée 4.5. The pumpkin smash with fromage frais, sprinkled with finishing Katsuo Shuto and garlic; the pan-fried MOE pork collar served with an orange zabaglione sauce and the slow-cooked octopus served with oolong sauce flavoured with a Sichuan peppercorn kick, are such serves.

‘Under the C’ (HK$1,280; with additional HK$388 for RSRV Champagne pairing) is available from 16-18 September and 23-25 September. Reservations can be made here.

MOTD, 1/F, Union Park Tower, 168 Electric Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2335 5333

Hue’s Australian Spring Brunch

While we excitedly welcome brisk autumnal breezes and swap in richer palates and heartier meals, Hue, the modern Australian restaurant perched upon the Victoria Harbour edge is basking in light flavours and fresh springtime ambiance. Serving an Australian Spring Brunch in parallel to the southern hemisphere’s contrary climes, the menu is a refreshing celebration of spring staples from the region. In generous sharing plates, sample the likes of ham and pea croquettes, pan-fried scallops and fresh burrata. Potato gnocchi with asparagus and wild mushrooms. Roasted Hamachi with chicory and Te Mana lamp rump served with baba ghanoush, minted peas and dil potatoes. Set in the perfect premise for those who aren’t so ready to depart from the sunshine season just yet.

Hue’s Australian Spring Brunch (HK$450/person; with additional HK$360 for 2 hours free flow) is available from 18 September to 24 October on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm. Reservations can be made via +852 3500 5888.

Hue, 1/F, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, +852 3500 5888

Castellana unveils a new Autumn ‘Journey Around the World’ Menu

Since opening as Hong Kong’s first Piedmontese restaurant two years ago, Castellana has endured as a citywide go-to for refined Italian serves that prides itself on quality ingredients sourced direction from the Piedmont region of Italy. Now, with the autumn season around the corner, the restaurant continues its staunch dedication with a brand new version on its staple ‘Journey Around the World’ menu set to begin mid-September.

Take a six- or eight-course seating, with the option of all Italian wine pairing and tuck into head chef Fabiano Palombini’s uncomplicated plates. Tartufo Sandwich, a foie-gras terrine, cured egg yolk and black truffle topped pan-fried homemade brioche. Sicilian red prawn tartare from the Mazara del Vallo seas and Hokkaido pumpkin gnocchi and lobster. A ‘Egg Emotion Risotto’ that turns the creamy serve into a photogenic disc topped with a dollop of egg yolk whisked with crème fraiche and Grana Padano and a quenelle of pressed Petrossian caviar. And for a beautiful finish, a slow-cooked ‘Hasselback Apple’ poached in Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and maple syrup served with Varlhona Opalys white chocolate ‘snow’.

Castellana’s ‘Journey Around the World Menu – Autumn Edition’ is available in either six- (HK$1,280) or eight-course seating, with wine pairing available at an additional price.

Castellana, 10/F Cubus, 1 Hoi Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 3188 5028

Header image courtesy of MOTD, chef Cam Wong’s ‘Under the C’

Lorria Sahmet
Editor
After two years of covering luxury retail, Lorria is thrilled to be writing in fashion, food and lifestyle here at Lifestyle Asia. When not roaming around garden centres hauling back new plants for her indoor jungle, find her hunting down the best fries in the city. She's happiest by the ocean with a fishbowl glass of ice-cold Aperol spritz.