FELIX is a glamorous and evocative restaurant located on the top two levels of The Peninsula Hong Kong, overlooking Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Felix was created in 1994 for The Peninsula Hong Kong by the prolific designerPhilippe Starck- globally renowned for his distinctive avant-garde designs of myriad objects and spaces- everything from furniture and tableware, to yachts, hotels and restaurants- an illustrious career now spanning over three decades. The Peninsula Hong Kong is consistently ranked as one of the finest luxury hotels in the world and is the flagship property in the Peninsula group of nine luxury hotels located in other major global cities including Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, New York and Beverley Hills. Founded in 1928 The Peninsula Hong Kong has a rich history, and is the only surviving historic luxury hotel in Hong Kong.
When it first opened, Felix was a bold statement at variance with the Peninsula group’s perceived conservative style of luxury- its dramatically surreal interior evoking emotions of surprise, fantasy and imagination. Testament to the unique creative genius of the Philippe Starck design is that 18 years later, Felix can still evoke the same exuberant responses from both first time visitors, and the many repeat guests, and remains as fresh and inspiring as on its opening day.
Felix is primarily a restaurant serving Modern European cuisine. Under the direction of Chef Yoshiharu Kaji,who arrived at Felix from The Peninsula Tokyo in 2011, a new, refreshed menu has been introduced specialising in clean, simple and innovative combinations of the finest seasonal produce. In addition to the restaurant dining, Felix offers guests a range of experiences in distinctly featured zones within the overall space. These include the Wine Bar, The Balcony, The American Bar, The Crazy Box, and The Long Table. To visit Felix is a truly memorable experience, and at a point time in Hong Kong where rooftop dining and drinking spaces have proliferated, Felix retains its compelling originality and appeal. Felix is an extraordinary zone of glamour and sophistication- where guests can appreciate fine contemporary cuisine and sumptuous cocktails, complimented with the spectacular views over the Hong Kong and Kowloon skylines.
The restaurant space- with the two featured ”snail” curving aluminium & zinc structures and entrance passage in the background
The “Felix” experience commences from the moment guests enter the two, custom-designed, “mood-changing” lifts that operate from the lobby level directly to the 28th floor. The brief journey transports visitors from the ultra-materialism of the Hong Kong streets to the surreal interior of Felix,and provides both dramatic contrast to, and connections with, the essence of contemporary Hong Kong. Entering from the dimly lit, dark panelled lift lobby into the main restaurant floor space- with its soaring double height ceiling and floor-to-ceiling glass walls on both sides- at once provokes reactions and emotion. Spectacular views of both the Kowloon urban sprawl on the one side, and the stunning Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island on the other, actually take secondary precedence to the extraordinary avant-garde interior that envelopes the visitor. The multi-faceted elements of the interior become apparent- the two zinc and aluminium cylindrical “snail” structures to either side of the entrance, and at the end of the main dining room, the dramatically formed-aluminium wall, and standing on a raised platform, The Long Table area.
The Wine Bar- enclosed within the base of one of the cylindrical “snail” structures- an intimate setting for enjoying wine or champagne by the glass
Each of the two bodacious “snail” structures contain two distinct feature spaces. In the “snail” on the Kowloon side of the entrance, the lower internal space holds The Wine Bar- a softly lit, intimate space, and directly above, accessed by a spiral staircase of lighted perspex, The Balcony presents an entirely different outlook- with an open view across the main restaurant space and through the lightly curtained glass walls to the Kowloon skyline beyond. Molded aluminium chairs and tables are placed on a floor of glass panels lighted from beneath by Philip Starck designed “O’Kelvin” candle lamps.
The “snail” structure on the Island side contains on the lower level The Crazy Box- an enclosed, soundproofed dance space, with its unique “footprint floor” that illuminates the footprints of dancers as they make their moves. And in the space above is The American Bar- a stylish cocktail bar that features a circular shaped marble bar counter, and an adjacent communal table which overlooks Victoria Harbour and the Island beyond.
Looking down on the restaurant from The American Bar
The main restaurant is an opulent space- with towering bronze sheaved pillars prominent at each end of the room, and the full glass walls on both sides filling the room with alternatively daylight, and the spectacular nighttime lights of the Hong Kong and Kowloon office towers. Tables are generously spaced across the floor, and the avant-garde theme extends to details such as the tableware which feature signature Starck pieces such as cheese graters and corkscrews. The famous Starck ”Loius XV Ghost” chairs feature at some tables, on the main floor the dining chairs are the signature “XO Leather”- each with cloth seat back covers featuring the portraiture of leading Peninsula staff members- past and present.
Diners at Felix are presented with iPads featuring an interactive presentation of Chef Kaji’s menu- with colorful photos of each dish, tasting notes and characteristics for the wine selections, and a digital sommelier that can suggest the best wines to match the diner’s mood and menu selections. The dishes created by Chef Kaji represent the blending of his Japanese culinary background with the essential elements of fine Modern European cuisine. The assemblage of dishes feature finest quality seasonal produce, prepared with a Japanese influence, resulting in an innovative, uncomplicated presentation. Some Appetizer highlights – Canada Scallop and Bottarga Ceviche with Tomato Dressing,Sweet Shrimp Sashimi with Miso Mayonnaise,Sea Urchin with Crustacean Mousse; Duck Rillette with Parma Ham,Jellified Anchovy Dressing, Charred Seasonal Vegetable; and Marinated Maitake Mushrooms with Deep-fried Rice Fish,Coconut and Sesame Oil Powder . Main dishes include Tasmanian Salmon with Lime Crumble,Smoked Salmon Tartar, Creamy Braised Leek, Cheese Penne, Boiled Mini Potato; Roasted French Pigeon Breast, Sautéed Eggplant and Duck Liver,Balsamico-red Port Jelly; and Roasted Japanese Beef Tenderloin, Jerusalem Artichoke Cream,Sautéed Vegetables and Garlic-potato Sabayon. And finally some selections from the Dessert menu- Mascarpone and Strawberry Mousse, Sable and Pop Candy Chocolate Cookies and Strawberry Ice Cream; and Bitter Chocolate Parfait, Sea Salt-caramel Ice Cream, Pop Chocolate.
Special set dinner menus are offered at attractive prices- an early set dinner of three courses and a glass of wine, served between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm, is priced at HK$460 per person; and the “Felix Experience” is a five course set menu, served all night at HK$850 per person (without wine pairing), and at HK$1350 per person, with a glass of wine paired with each course.
The covers on the chairs in the dining room feature portraitures of notable staff members from the history of The Peninsula. At front right is the face of Mr. Felix Berger- the restaurant’s namesake and 40 year veteran of the hotel- including three-times General Manager; and the front left cover photo is of the Felix Chef- Chef Yoshiharu Kaji.
The Banyan Tree Bangkok occupies the upper floors of a 61 level monolithic tower in the central business district of Bangkok. The slim profile of the tower, with it’s distinctive shape and featuring a large square cut-through space near the top of the tower, is one of the few notably designed buildings in a Bangkok skyline of mostly bland mirror-glass fronted office structures. The hotel first opened in 2002, and was the first city location for a Banyan Tree property, the brand being primarily associated with luxurious resorts and spas in exotic tropical locations. The designers of the Banyan Tree Bangkok have taken advantage of the unique architecture of the tower to create a series of stunning restaurants and bars on the upper levels and rooftop of the tower that provide guests with spectacular, panoramic views across Bangkok’s skyline, and the nearby river and parks.
The Latitude Lounge and Bar is located in the open air space of the sky deck on the 51st level of the building, and is an adjunct to the Banyan Tree signature restaurant- Saffron. Latitude has a casual, resort feel- with timber decking, woven rattan style chairs and glass topped tables, and large growing trees that fill the centre of the space. Open on both sides, the views in all directions are magnificent- both in daytime and at night. Breezes flow freely through the space providing a natural cooling effect- and being in effect a cut-out space within the building, the soaring overhead ceiling provides cover from any tropical downpours. The entrance to Latitude is via a dark timber lined passageway from the reception area of the Saffron restaurant- and customers at Latitude can order dishes from the Saffron
menu – which is acclaimed for its innovative interpretation of traditional Thai cuisine. Latitude is a popular choice for a relaxing evening drink accompanied by either Thai style bar snack delicacies, or a full meal of Thai cuisine. A large LCD screen is fitted into one end of the space and is typically tuned into weekend sports such as Premier League football matches. Chill-out, down tempo tunes are played nightly by house DJs.
The bar at Latitude lounge serve up some fiery signature cocktails utilising the local herbs and spices that make Thai cuisine so distinctive. There is also a full range of more “classic” cocktails, plus premium spirits, an extensive wine list, and local and imported beers. Latitude offer seasonal drinks promotions- at the time of writing ( October 2011) the current promotion was for an “Unlimited Beverage Buffet”- for Thai baht 599+= per person, per hour.
Tom Yum Cocktail- signature cocktail- Vodka, Malibu, Lime juice, Ginger , Red Chilli
, Kaffir Line leaf, soda
Latitude Sunset- signature cocktail- Gin, Triple Sec, Grenadine, Lime juice, Grapefruit juice
The food offering at Latitude ranges from delicious bar snacks- featuring Thai style dishes- through to the full menu of the adjacent Saffron restaurant. A good selection for sharing is the Khong Wang Ruam Mitr- a selection of Saffron Signature Thai Appetizers - includes Crispy Fried Shrimp and Fish Cake; Pomelo: Soft Shell Crab; Seafood Salad; and Grilled Tender Chicken Breast Satay.
OPUS Restaurant and Lounge is the lustrously modern, luxuriously furnished culmination of the collaboration between a group of the leading identities behind many of Manila’s finest dining establishments and nightlife venues. Opening in late 2010 at the Resorts World Manila complex with much anticipation by the “high society” of Manila, subsequent acclaim, and a nightly exuberance, indicates that the vision of it’s founders- to create a “masterpiece” of fine dining and sophisticated lounge entertainment- has indeed been accomplished.
The entrance to OPUS is directly adjacent to the mega -club Republiq(a “sister” establishment with shared ownership), on the second level of the Newport Mall at Resorts World Manila. The entrance facade of lighted onyx provides a welcoming golden lustre, and is a precursor of the luxury within. Directly inside the entrance and heavy velvet curtains is the Front Bar- a compact bar and meeting space, again featuring lighted onyx as a design highlight. A central passageway leads the guest through the Dining Gallery- with glass encased private booths lining once side, and an open elongated dining room opposite. The decor of the Dining Gallery features plushly upholstered, platinum colored banquettes, marble topped tables, and murals of ”Renaissance” themed artwork totally covering the walls on both sides.
Beyond the Dining Gallery, the spacious Lounge area envelopes guests in a swanky spectacle of modernist design. A cavenous space with high ceilings, full height wall mirrors, and an eclectic combination of furnishings ranging from red velvet , zebra skin patterned fabrics and white patent leather. The Main Bar is located along the rear wall near the passageway entrance from the Dining Gallery, and at the far end of the room, on a raised platform, the spectacular mirrored chrome sculpture housing the Art Bar visually dominates the entire space.
The restaurant features the creations of renowned local chef Carlo Miquel- who presents his innovative interpretations of modern European cuisine. Featured dishes include Grilled Japanese eel and sauteed foie gras with pickled raddish salad and cucumber jelly ; Crispy skin pork belly and roast kurobuta pork tenderloin ,cauliflower foam, braised red cabbage, pommery mustard jus; and Tournedos Rossini Revised -sous-vide beef short rib, sautéed foie gras, spinach, potato, truffle jus. The menu also includes Grills of prime cuts of grain fed Angus beef, and the OPUS Tasting Menu. A selection of French and Australian red and white wines, and champagnes are available.
The Lounge boasts an impressive Signature Cocktail List- developed exclusively for OPUS by international mixologist David Dennis of NYC. Stand out cocktails include the Molecular Lychee Martini – with organic Coconut foam and a molecular lychee pearl ; Opus Magnum Mojito – Bacardi Silver muddled with Organic Spearmint, Kaffir Lime leaves, Lemongrass, Ginger, fresh citrus and topped with Sparkling Wine; and White Peach Margarita with Cuervo 1800 drizzled with Strawberry Puree with a Pink Salt and Sugar Rim. An extensive selection of premium spirits, wines & champagnes, liqueurs, and beers are listed in the drinks menu.
The entertainment at the Lounge is focussed around nightly “concepts” each hosted by local identities and DJs- Mondays feature INDUSTRY NIGHT- for the fashionistas; Tuesdays are RETRO LOVE- with music from the 70′s, 80′s and 90′s; Wednesdays are Ladies nights with BELLA; on Thursdays the theme is GROOVE- highlighting Indie/Electro /House tunes; Fridays goes up-tempo with UBER DISCO ; and finally on Saturdays is LEGENDARY- with DJs spinning Top 40 mashup tunes to get the crowd dancing all night.