Stepping inside the effortlessly cool Brut! in Sai Ying Pun, the melodic tunes coming from musician Alex Purdue’s live acoustic guitar is slow and steady, setting the mood perfectly. In one of Hong Kong’s trendiest ‘hoods, the year-old wine bar/eatery is a standout thanks to uber stylish minimalism meets warm service, outstanding food and a bevvy of weird and wonderful craft wines. The restaurant is in near darkness with faces illuminated by flickering candles, giving off some seriously sexy vibes because tonight is not just any other night. Tonight, I’m here for a very special evening, namely Blackout by Brut.
Inspired by a wave of sustainable, artistic indulgence happening in Paris, owner Camille Lisette Glass and business partner (and Executive Chef extraordinaire) George Kwok decided to curate BLACKOUT, an intimate supper club experience heavily influenced by their affinity for the great outdoors and the magic of beach campfires. They challenging themselves to create a six-course menu using zero electricity. “To shake up the concept-dining mentality, we will go back to basics to give guests a rich, sensual experience that celebrates sophisticated food in its purest form,” explains Camille. The age of zero waste dining is upon us.
Below, the culinary highlights of this ambitious – and utterly du moment – concept.
Lightly Poached Oyster With Coffee Oil and Picked Daikon
Simple but special, this gorgeous poached oyster in a light vegetable consommé as a starter was spot on! Paired with a paper-thin slice of daikon to play on the taste and textures of salty oyster with sweet pickled daikon and garnished with an edible flower, we loved the unexpected addition of coffee oil. “This infusion is reminiscent of that sip of instant coffee when you first wake up on the beach,” explains Camille.
Lobster Two Ways With Lemongrass and Citrus
Showcasing two different crustacean interpretations, it is hard to choose our favourite. On one end, we try the finely minced tartare with crispy daikon. Chewy and crunchy at the same time, it’s got tons of flavour. At the other end, poached lobster with buttered lemongrass and citrus zest sits atop a bed of crunchy kale chips. Tender and sweet with the distinctive taste of the ocean complemented by the slightly tart lemongrass, we polished this off fast.
Pumpkin Ravioli With Salty Plum Cream and Confit Tomatoes (Veg)
Sophisticated yet comforting, this autumnal veggie dish was the highlight of our entire meal! Two stuffed pumpkin ravioli sit between dollops of Japanese salty plum cream, ripe confit tomatoes bursting with sweetness and umami, and a dash of coarse sea salt that serves to heighten the savoury filling.
Zero Energy Dining
The entire meal was cooked using the same equipment one would take camping – pots, pans, camp grills – in a kitchen lit by candles and battery-powered lights. “My technique is guided by one rule; does our food induce a smile? It’s important we
continue challenging ourselves in order to do this. We loved the idea of creating a fine-dining menu
without the use of electricity and hope to create a memorable experience that will inspire more mindful
cooking in Hong Kong in future,” enthuses Chef George.
Crispy Pork Belly With 5 Spice Black Bean Salsa
A contemporary twist on traditional Chinese BBQ, the crispy pork belly pairs perfectly with a lemongrass ginger infused black bean salsa in all its golden, bubbly, crackling and juicy glory. The belly is topped with toasted garlic chips, aside citrus infused yogurt, fresh pineapples and pomegranates, for a serious wow factor.
King Mushroom With Yuzu Chili and Fermented Radish (Veg)
With picture-perfect grill marks, the meaty slices of king oyster mushroom look more like chunky strips of barbecue than fungi, it’s easy to forget that this dish is entirely plant-based. We especially enjoyed the peppery yuzu chili, offset by sweet fermented radish.
Lamp Chop With Shiso Leaf and Preserved Spicy Blackberry
Fans of lamb will appreciate the soft juiciness of the gamey meat cooked over an open fire, which paired well with a spicy blackberry chutney to cut the pungent flavour.
Overall we are impressed! Putting together a gourmet six course meal without any electricity whatsoever is not easy but Chef George is more than up to the task. It’s a unique, eco-friendly dining experience that’s well worth a taste for omnis. Our only complaint? More veggie options please!
Brut! has two more upcoming BLACKOUT popups taking place December 13th and January 10th (both on a Thursday). The set dinner runs HKD 690 per person. Add HKD 450 per person for the natural wine pairing
G/F, Shop C, 1 Second Street, Sai Ying Pun, +852 34605863, email@example.com
Images courtesy of Brut!