There is one serious downside to Sunday brunch at the Mandarin Grill. It is not the cost per se (although that is somewhat traumatic when you first see it) but rather the over-indulgence it induces in you. When you know that you are spending over HKD 700 a pop, this urge to obtain some semblance of value for money arises in you which means that you eat and you drink and you eat and, yep, you drink .... Oh, my poor stomach.
Unlike some of the other Sunday brunch options, the Mandarin Grill has a comparatively small buffet section but a large menu from which you can order at will. After ordering poached egg with smoked salmon and hollandaise sauce and devouring Wagyu ribs with wilted spinach and garden vegetables, I managed to put a pretty good effort into the sushi bar, the salad bar, the dim sum section, the pastry section and, of course, the desert buffet.
If I were to rate my Sunday brunch based experiences on a scale, I'd probably still put Nicholini's first on the grounds that it is exactly what you expect from a traditional Asian hotel Sunday brunch - a rather endless buffet with more food options than you can ever imagine. However, should you be looking for less of a "how much can I possibly consume" experience, the Mandarin Grill is definitely the classiest option I've had so far in Hong Kong.
Extreme indulgence. That is the only way to describe champagne brunches in Hong Kong, or anywhere else in Asia for that matter. And Nicholini's does not let the side down with their Sunday brunch. The sheer spread of food in the lobby area between The Brasserie and Nicholini's is overwhelming.
The two large restaurants share the buffet which has the major advantage of giving you a huge selection of food but with two seating areas, any potential feeling that it is all a little impersonal is avoided - although the decor in Nicholini's was a little bland "big hotel smart dining room" for my liking. Despite the quantity of options on the buffet, they also provided a menu of main course options which further helped alleviate any sense of impersonal buffet (not that we got anywhere near ordering from the menu).
It’s difficult to know where to start with the buffet. The sushi / sashimi section was good, as were the numerous interesting salads and the charcuterie section. From a main course perspective, there was every type of Asian dish available along with Wagyu beef, fois gras, omelets, fresh pasta… Frankly, the number of options is too long to list here. The deserts were particularly good, especially the delightful fruity ice creams.
Nicholini’s is going to take some beating. It isn’t as classy as the Mandarin Grill and it doesn’t have the fabulous emphasis on seafood that the Intercontinental has but nonetheless it is an amazing way to spend a lazy Sunday!