Hugo’s is named after the fictional character Hugo Ludwig Wilhelm von Gluckenstein, a Bavarian host who “served only the best food and wine to his guests”. The European restaurant serves traditional Western dishes, with the menu being changed every two months.
Hugo’s is located on the lobby level of the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui, which itself is situated above the K11 Art Mall. The restaurant’s Medieval European-inspired atmosphere is apparent as soon as you walk inside – at the entrance, you are welcomed by a life-sized metal suit of armour. Mahogany-coloured wood dominates the restaurant’s interior and the ceiling is high with wooden beams stretching across it.
Meanwhile, antiques including ornate mirrors, chandeliers and shield plaques make up the décor. I was also amazed that the restaurant is using two traditional, remodelled walnut wood Christofle hors d’oeuvres trolleys from the 1960s, serving a choice of 15 starters and a wide array of desserts and fruits. The outlet has 88 seats and includes one private room for 12 guests. The day I visited it was busy, full of people mostly there for business lunches, though the restaurant didn’t feel noisy.
The new Swiss menu is available every day during dinner throughout January and February (though the media tasting for the menu was held in the afternoon). Although executive sous chef Marco Mehr grew up in Switzerland, this is his first Swiss menu at Hugo’s. We tried two starters – beef and cheese. The Tête de Veau (HK$258/US$33) is marinated veal cheek and tongue salad with red garden radish, sugar peas, sourdough and butter milk dressing. It was well presented in three layers, with the radish at the bottom, veal in the middle, and topped by a piece of crispy sourdough chip. While the colour of the beef seemed to appear slightly overcooked, the slow-cooked beef cheek was surprisingly very tender, and the tongue was also soft. These two cuts were well paired with the dressing, which was refreshing and triggered my taste buds for another course.
Our other starter was Vacherin Mont d’Or (HK$258/US$33). This Swiss cheese is served melted with a nut crust, mâche salad, roasted bacon, onion and mustard dressing. The fried cheese dish is large, but not overly filling for a starter. Once the nut crust was cut, the molten cheese oozed out onto the salad, resulting in a starter with a light yet pleasant flavour.
For the main course, we ordered the Reh venison (HK$495/US$64). The dish is given a rustic touch, being served in a hot pan and consists of a maggia pepper-rubbed roe deer loin with forest mushroom, glazed pear and mulled wine-scented game sauce. I had never tried venison before and was expecting the flavour of the meat to be particularly gamy, but was pleasantly surprised to find it not too overpowering. The deer loin was very soft with a texture akin to beef. The dish is also served with traditional Swiss dumplings made from spätzle dough, air-dried meat and rolled in a chard leaf. What I was particularly impressed with were the several small balls of glazed pear, their fruity taste balancing well with the flavour of the meat. The balls are suitably bite-sized to allow for a single ball to be eaten together with a small cut of venison.
The restaurant’s sommelier also suggested I pair the venison with the 2009 Gauchezco Oro Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina. It has a deep ruby colour and is dominated by red and black fruits, pairing well with red meat or game dishes.
The staff were very professional and had good knowledge of the menu and the product, along with being friendly, polite and serving efficiently.
Not many restaurants serve Swiss cuisine in Hong Kong and Hugo’s seasonal Swiss menu has been well created for guests to try the country’s traditional delicacies, particularly the venison, which is a dish not typically found in the city. With a comfortable environment and service, it’s no wonder Hugo’s is considered a good option for small business gatherings.
Lunch is from noon to 2:30pm from Monday to Saturday, 11:30am to 3pm on Sunday; Dinner is from 6:30pm to 11pm daily.
Tel +852 3721 7733
18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong