With a focus on ensuring a wonderful experience and creating a destination at par with international standards, Director F& B and General Manager (Hong Kong Club) Vimal Verma shares the restaurant’s key aspects.
Words: Ambica Gulati
What is the USP of Andaz?
Andaz is all about lifestyle luxury. With travellers becoming evolved global citizens, Andaz gives them an outstanding local experience. While a Hyatt or a Grand offer similarities across the world, it’s an Andaz that colours their visit with the USP of the city they are in. To explain this, Andaz Delhi has all the amenities with a distinct Delhi feel, the Ambassador outside represents Delhi and even the artworks are centered around Delhi. If you go to Andaz Tokyo, you will find yourself surrounded by Tokyo. The travellers seek something unique in each trip to a different city, and that’s what Andaz offers.
With multiple options in this area, where does Hong Kong Club fit it?
As travel habits have evolved, eating out behaviours have also changed. We offer an international experience which leaves a guest coming back for more. There has been great attention to everything that makes this restaurant ‘a destination’. People frequent standalone restaurants for the food and the experience and they will find the classy and the sophisticated here. Our philosophy has been to combine the local with international as a quality and unique package. For instance, we have six Cantonese chefs here. All of them are specialists in their chosen dishes—there is a dim sum specialist who just makes those amazing dim sums.
Anyone who wants to visit Hong Kong Club need not come via the main lobby. We have another separate entrance as well, making it a complete destination. The look and feel of soft, bright lights in a garden setting makes it ‘the’place to enjoy your evenings.
Who is your target client?
Socialites and anyone who wants to enjoy good food and great ambience. We are not a nightclub with loud music. We cater to ‘progressive evenings’, people who want to keeping coming for a different experience because each corner offers a different experience. The place looks different from each table.
You have zodiac-based cocktails. How are those unique?
When the club was conceived, I went to Hong Kong to explore the restaurants and bars. And we studied the behaviours and likes of the people falling under different zodiac signs (Chinese zodiac). Then we formulated the drinks with the help of international mixologists and there are two of them here. To give an example, the cocktail for the dog people has rose petals as that is their favorite flower. In Chinese folklore, the dog Tiangu is the celestial being which eats the moon or the sun to cause an eclipse. Like Tiangu, this cocktail has a bite.
What would you say is different about your ambience from any other fine-dining place in the area?
A good environment also includes good music. So we have a DJ who is actually a music producer and sits at the bar. She watches the number of people in the restaurant and accordingly keeps changing the music. Research shows that the number of people in a room impacts their mood and the music has to match the mood. For instance, if there are 150 people and there’s slow music, then they would be bored. The lighting is also kept in this way. After 11pm, they become softer and we are open till 4am, so it should not leave the guests heavy and tired.
How often are there going to be additions and subtractions to the menu?
We believe in fresh and local produce. So things would change every quarter—not a lot but if a certain dish has seasonal flavours, then those would be available in that season alone. The mustard sauce is made from fresh mustard grown in the nearby fields. We don’t believe in preserved ingredients and foods.
What do you with the leftover food?
We try to make as per consumption. The sauces are always freshly made and consumed within two-three days. Certain food has to be put in the garbage.
You also have two private areas for dining. Is there any set menu for those or people can take a la carte?
We do have a set menu. But people are free to choose their dishes, tell us their requirements and we can offer those too, but it has to meet a certain billing amount. It should be INR 2 lakh plus taxes for the smaller one and INR 2.5 lakh plus taxes for the bigger one. We have a full separate bar inside.
What would you say will keep people bringing back here?
The experience—our branding is such that we offer unique and good experiences. We are not participating in the food fests or other exhibitions as that is not our audience. We want to offer personalized experiences here.
Days: 7 days a week
Visit thehongkongclub.in or call +91 11 4903 1234