Flint Grill & Bar may be housed on Level 5 of the JW Marriott, but it’s not your typical hotel restaurant.
Location-wise, it’s well suited for business travellers. Situated above luxury shopping mall Pacific Place in Admiralty, the restaurant is nestled amongst a quartet of five-star hotels. These comprise Island Shangri-La, Conrad and The Upper House as well as JW Marriott, which cumulatively boast a total of 1,796 rooms.
Both the central business district and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai are within walking distance, or accessible via public transport.
In 2016, the restaurant welcomed new head chef Pieter Fitz-Dreyer, who has revamped the menu with exciting, modern creations. British born with a 20-year career spanning the far reaches of the globe, Fitz-Dreyer is passionate about his craft and developing the menu with international influences: “I’m classically French trained, so understated quality and fresh, seasonal products are the roots of my flavours with a modern twist on presentation. I believe it really takes time to develop your own style, and my travels are a big inspiration.”
Occupying a large area, the restaurant’s luxurious sense of space is heightened by floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the venue with light during the day. At the same time, discreet wall panelling and decorative shelving help to create four sections that allow for more private pockets, which is further aided by generously spaced tables and a range of seating options.
The decor is spot on: warm, industrial chic. Hallmark features such as dark wood flooring, exposed brickwork, and raw steel pipe work have been refined for an upmarket clientele, while design details such as the wine glass-stack ceiling lights and wooden message boards add a more casual vibe.
In the evening, the soft mood lighting combined with rustic details is both intimate and welcoming. The effect is a perfect balance between high-end eatery and relaxed dining venue, ideal for lone business travellers in the evening or client meetings at lunch. Slick service is delivered from a well-oiled, professional team.
In a word: exceptional. While the “bar & grill” title hints at a meat and seafood based menu, it doesn’t do justice to the broad scope of high-quality, international options.
Our meal started with a bang as we sampled a selection of options “from the Sea”. First, the Akaroa king salmon with oyster, charred cucumber and white balsamic (HK$190/US$24). Elegantly served in a black, oval dish, the sashimi-style salmon and oysters were a seafood sensation, with sweet pods of salmon roe artfully sprinkled like tiny cherries on top.
Another standout was the Ahi tuna (HK$190), located in the signature “tableside tartare” section of the menu. The dish is prepared at the table and customised to individual dining preference, though we didn’t hold back and opted for the entire garnish. The concoction of fresh flavours, served with homemade Nori crackers, was a melt-in-the-mouth moment.
We also enjoyed a new dish that starred on the January menu. The wondrous creation paired large seared scallops with the succulent, fatty deliciousness of Mangalica pork belly. Referred to as “the kobe of the pig world”, the tasty meat from the hairy, Hungarian hog is certainly enjoying a moment across the foodie scene. The dish was finished off with a fennel-sauerkraut and vadouvan date relish.
Moving on to “the Pantry” section of the menu, we tried the Rougie duck foie gras (HK$190), served with aged balsamic cherries, pine nut granola and nasturtium. The rich, strong flavour and smooth texture is sure to appeal to foie gras lovers, though we were overwhelmed by such a generous portion size. An accompaniment such as warm toast or rustic bread would have been welcome to temper the intense flavour.
We were encouraged to sample a dish from the list of daily specials – prepared from scratch every day, these feature the freshest, seasonal dishes and really showcase the creativity and talent of Fitz-Dreyer. The lobster ravioli was decadently smothered in a creamy coconut sauce infused with Thai herbs and decorated with fresh, young asparagus tips – the epitome of premier comfort food.
Finally it was time for the main event: the Linz Heritage USDA Prime cut, 45 day dry-aged on the bone (20 oz rib-eye HK$590/US$76). The star piece of meat was hand-presented by Chef Pieter himself, before being taken away and carved up. Perfectly seared to medium, the juicy steak was a meaty marvel. The strong taste of the ageing process was prominent, though this may not be for everyone. The steak was accompanied by a selection of side dishes and some freshly prepared horseradish – another nice touch.
Thoroughly stuffed by this point, we nevertheless soldiered on with two desserts: panna cotta with lychee granite, black sesame and edible rose petals, and a crunchy, tangy apple crumble, which my suffering-by-this-point companion declared “the best she’s ever had in Hong Kong”.
Though not an obvious cocktail destination, Flint flirts with an inventive list of aperitifs, with a focus on “farm-to-table” cocktails. The creative concoctions are both inventive and delicious. For taste, the warm spiced rum base of the West End Market was a winner. The attention-grabbing The Sky is the Limit cocktail was definitely Instagram-worthy, though the ball of candyfloss was somewhat impractical and slowly dissolved into a bit of a sticky mess on the table.
For the meal, a knowledgeable sommelier was on hand to recommend wine pairings for our dishes. For the seafood courses we enjoyed a white Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay, 2014, with fresh, citrus notes, before moving onto Les Restandques de Pibarnona, which offered a powerful, controlled flavour with an aromatic finish.
Flint ticks all the boxes for both individual business travellers and locals looking for a contemporary, high-end setting. An inventive menu that delivers in spades, with classy, comfortable surroundings and impeccable, attentive service – I can’t recommend it enough.
Opening: Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm; Dinner: 6pm – 10.30pm; Bar: 5pm – 12am
Contact: Level 5, JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong SAR; tel: +852 2810 8366; marriott.com