Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Food Journey #27 -- Cafe Oasis of Clearwater Bay Country Club

An escape to the country-side on a fine Sunday in Hong Kong is always a brilliant outing. Out goes the skyscrapers, exhaust fumes and a big welcome to the countryside and the beauty of the green & blue colours of the hills, trees & the sea. ClearwaterBay Country Club has always been a hidden gem in the dining scenes of Hong Kong as 1) it is a private club 2) it s a major trek to drive all the way to the club. The Chinese Restaurant & the Cafe - Cafe Oasis are both a joy to visit and a few Sundays ago, we decided to hit the cafe once again to check out the Mid Autumn Festival Buffet which at HKD168, all you can eat, what a bargain!
Appetiser Buffet -- An abundance of choices including Fresh Mussels, Crayfish, Prawns, Crab Leg, Smoke Salmon, Variety of Salads, Italian Peppers, Fresh Pate on Toast, Meat Platter including Parma Ham, Salami, Ham which was indeed very attractive. The appetiser buffet itself had many items which I like and this itself can carry me through the whole meal without advancing to the mains. The taste was good, the seafood selection was fresh and the smoke salmon was a joy. This appetiser buffet was much better than the Antipasti Buffet which I had in my Food Journey #25a.

Downside to the buffet was that there was presence of a plate of Lo Shui (鹵水) or in real English, Marinated Tofu & Goose which was purely bizarre. Had no idea what this had to do with Mid Autumn Festival and it just some-how does not fit with other dishes on offer. Very strange!

-- Wide variety of mains on show featuring the likes of Roast Beef, a Tum Yum Goong Noodle Corner, Roasted Pigeon, Tandoori Salmon, Pasta Carbonara, Soup of the Day which was Mushroom Soup, Chinese Dim Sum including the likes of Spring Rolls, Pork Dumplings, Chicken & Mushroom Pies. However, the food was very geared towards the Expat Community therefore definitely not a very traditional Mid Autumn Festival dishes on offer.

Three very important dishes which I want to point out -

Roast Pigeons
are A MUST TRY - however, due to my audience being mainly Western therefore I decided not to upload such explict image of the pigeon. The pigeons are roasted as soon as you order therefore the skin & meat is very crispy & tender.

Roast Beef Corner
- The carving section for the roast beef consisted of a small trolley with this fat piece of roast beef and condiments on the side. The roast beef was nicely pink in the middle meaning that the centre of the joint is warmed but not fully booked which is the real traditional roast beef. Traditionally, roast beef is best served with Mint but I like the unauthentic approach which is mustard & ketchup. Never liked Yorkshire Puddings before but at ClearwaterBay Country Club, they do a Yorkshire Pudding which is very rare in Hong Kong.

Tom Yum Goong
- So far, I have talked about the good sides of the lunch and the major let down was the Tom Yum Goong and it was truly painful to eat this. Traditionally, Tom Yum is characterised by its hot & sour flavours and is quite possibly Thailand's best well known export. Your usual Tom Yum Gong will consist of Prawns, Chicken, Fish, Mixed Seafood and plentiful of Coriander as garnish. The Clearwater Bay Country Club version was simply very different to any other versions which I have ever had as 1) it didnt taste like Tom Yum Goong and tasted rather more like a Chinese Styled Noodle, 2) The spices were definitely heavily used as the taste was extremely pungent 3) Colour of the broth does not look anything like a regular Tom Yum Goong which should be yellow & red colour-ish. Very disappointed to what was a very decent brunch!

Dessert Buffet

This along with Tom Yum Goong was the major let down of the brunch experience at Clearwater Bay Country Club. Cheese cake, Tiramisu, Cone Ice-Cream, Chocolate Mousse Cake, Fresh Fruit, Minature Chicken Pies were all on offer but however, it all lacked substance & taste. Wouldnt go into too much details on the desserts as it was plain and definitely was not worth writing to home about. My strongest recommendation & hope is that ClearwaterBay Country Club will allocate resources and hire a half decent pastry chef, that can significantly improve.

Clearwater Bay Country Club is a members only club similar nature to the Hong Kong Football & Cricket Club which I have also previously visited for the Sunday Brunches. In my opinion, food quality here is better than both clubs and my overall brunch experience at ClearwaterBay Country Club has significantly improved from my previous numerous occasions eating here. Even though the so-called Mid Autumn Festival Brunch was not very authentic in anyway, the overall quality of the food has improved and there is also a much wider variety of dishes on offer which marks as an improvement.

A special point to mention is that for some very odd reason, I find that the Stellas (Stella Artois) are always much tastier in the club, could it be because I am drinking this on a Sunday morning?

: An Evening in Happy Valley!

Address: 139 Tai Au Mun Road, Clearwater Bay , New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: 2335 3725

Food Quality (5* the highest): ***

Price for Dinner (5$ = very expensive): ** (Cheap Meal because you have to pay for a STEEP Monthly Membership Fee)

Happy Eating!


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