Updated: Jul 2, 2022
[For details of the limited-time staycation package, scroll to the bottom of this post]
As the place where Jon and I had our first date (M BAR, not his hotel room hahaha) and where we eventually got engaged, the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong definitely holds a special place in both of our hearts.
It was nice to come back for a gifted Club Escape staycation over the weekend, which was also just in time to experience the newly renovated 25th floor of the hotel. What was previously M Bar, Man Wah, and Pierre has completely transformed into modern and buzzing izakaya concept, The Aubrey (replacing Pierre), and on the other end, the new and improved Man Wah has also taken up M Bar's space. I was luckily able to experience both post-renovation, as well as the new Mandarin Club on the 23rd floor.
But first, our room! It was definitely a suite unlike any we'd stayed in before. It even had a name - "Lord Lichfield Suite" (2026). The walls of the room are adorned with Sir Patrick Lichfield's black & white fashion photography, and definitely has a more "modern" and artistic feel to it than the other classic rooms that we're used to. The suite itself is massive, with a living room, separate bedroom, closet, bathroom and a huge princess bathtub overlooking Statue Square.
Lunch at Man Wah (1 Michelin Star, Cantonese Fine Dining)
At the swanky new one-MICHELIN-starred Man Wah, we each enjoyed the set lunch priced at HK$668+10% per guest for 5 courses, which I think would be a total steal considering the quality & amount of what was served.
The menu started with the most delicious small bites of dim sum, including tiger prawn har gao that was bursting with savory broth almost like a XLB, Chiu Chow-style vegetable dumpling, and diced chicken tart topped with an entire abalone.
The next course was my favorite from this menu - the chef's deep-fried matsutake custard creation. It sounds strange, but the dish is brilliant! Matsutake and fish broth are blended and chilled, then deep-fried a la minute for a crispy exterior and steaming hot custardy center. Enjoy with a sprinkle of sugar, which results in a harmonious balance of sweet and salty on the palate.
Next came the tender pork belly, layered with taro and smothered in sumptuous gravy. The dish comes with taro crackers to dip into the sauce!
The grouper course was also a huge yes from us, served with light sweetish soy sauce, silky rice sheets and salty pickled vegetables for another great balance of flavors.
The final dish was the chilled fig cream dessert, which arrived in a delightfully theatrical display of smoke. It's a take on the classic Cantonese sago dessert, but instead made with seaweed sago and fig cream, and it brought back all kinds of childhood nostalgia.
Drinks & Bites at The Aubrey (Modern Japanese Izakaya)
The most drastic 180 transformation of them all has to be the one from M Bar to The Aubrey, which are at two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of concept and design. I fell in love with The Aubrey's interior design on first sight, a combination of bold geometric patterns, eye-catching animal prints, and a real VIBE to the whole space. As in lots of positive, happy energy. Customers are all having a great time, the staff are friendly and interactive, and the drinks are creative and fun. Award-winning mixologist & previous head of the Otto e Mezzo bar Devender Sehgal now leads the drinks program at The Aubrey, and the seasonal cocktails are a must-try here (I think Jon downed at least 6 of Devender's recommended cocktails).
We tried some of the food, and while some dishes were excellent there were others that needed some tweaking. Jon and I agreed that our favorite dish of all was the wagyu and bone marrow fried rice, which was full of beefy fatty wagyu flavor and went so well with the perfectly cooked rice.
Another hit was the chef's tempura platter, which consisted of crispy prawn shells and their meat, mushrooms, and asparagus. Some dishes that I thought had some room for improvement were the sushi nigiri platter, which was overly seasoned and the amount of wasabi used was OTT, and while I loved the flavor and concept of the soufflé (matcha + white miso), the sweetness of it was slightly overpowering.
All in all, our experience at The Aubrey was just... really fun. Loved the drinks and each other's company, made all the more exciting with The Aubrey's perfect ambiance that was just made for date nights. I don't remember the last time we sat at a bar for 4 hours straight and didn't even realize it!
Mandarin Club on 23/F
The Lichfield suite also comes with the added benefit of being able to use the Mandarin's newest Executive Lounge on the 23rd floor, the Mandarin Club. The sleek new space is a quiet and relaxing place to read the newspaper, get some work done or have meetings in semi-privacy. The club serves breakfast, afternoon tea, and evening canapes with Champagne but my scatterbrained self managed to miss all of these and so I only came in for a coffee to catch up on some writing work. All I can say about my experience is that the service was spot on and the coffee was great. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to experience the breakfast here!
Duration of promotion: 1 February - 30 June 2021
Price: HK$5,880 per night
-Club floor accommodation
-Off-menu tasting for 2 at Man Wah
-Signature cocktail for 2 at The Aubrey
-Late check-out until 6pm
-The Mandarin Club privileges (private check-in and check-out, breakfast, afternoon tea, light snacks, evening canapés with champagne)
-Complimentary mini-bar soft drinks and beer
Book your staycation now: https://www.mandarinoriental.com/hong-kong/victoria-harbour/luxury-hotel/offers/club-escape