This Tiny, Super-Exclusive Restaurant Is a Champagne Lover’s Fever Dream
The Krug Room in the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong is one of the city's best-kept secrets
In Hong Kong, all genres of dining—all equally-compelling—await you. There's steaming-hot street dumplings and killer Italian; authentic Indian and crispy egg waffles; spectacular Hainanese chicken and hole-in-the-wall ramen. There's also a handful of extraordinary fine-dining outlets that lure internationals and locals alike with hundreds of extra Hong Kong dollars to spend. One such outlet is perhaps the most unusual, and lavish, of the bunch.
At the hyper-exclusive, somewhat-secret Krug Room, located on the top floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, your fiscal irresponsibility is rewarded with one of the most dazzling meals in the city, thanks in part to the three to six Champagne pairings that punctuate the meal’s ten to fourteen courses. (The standard "Krug Experience" package costs roughly 368 USD.)
While many fine-dining restaurants brand themselves as intimate, the Krug Room embodies intimacy at its core; the small dining room consists of one long, 12-seat table, at which you’ll sit alongside very-in-the-know guests celebrating special occasions (unless you’ve booked the whole thing and self-identify as a mogul). The space’s layout recalls the inside of a train carriage, but unlike other trains, the Krug Room houses the largest collection of Krug Champagne on the whole continent of Asia. Founded in 2005 and revamped in 2013, this location is now the last remaining Krug Room in the world.
“It’s the only room left in the world, so it’s very special,” says executive chef Robin Zavou. “And it’s a lot of bloody work.”
Indeed, Zavou, who has been at the Krug Room for two years, works tirelessly, creating four menus a year based on seasonal products and the annual theme dictated by Krug. While the Krug Room was initially understood as an extension of the Mandarin Grill—a chef’s table that echoed the Grill’s kitchen—it’s now entirely separate, giving Zavou room to play. The restaurant’s autumn menu, announced last week, celebrates the season spectacularly and unusually, with roasted and fermented shitake served with pine, venison tartare with walnut, and pork trotter with apple and langostine.
The kitchen staff has fun, and so do the guests. The evening’s dishes are written on a chalkboard like a crossword puzzle, with almost no description, so as the bubbles continue, so do the surprises.
Typically, two or three courses are paired with one Champagne, a common sequence being the Grand Cuvée, the 2004 vintage, then the Grand Cuvée again, but other options include more Champagne, including rosés.
“The Champagne drives the menus,” Zavou says. “We’re trying to be as playful as we can without being too bells and whistles."
The Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong houses ten restaurants and bars total, including the one-Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant with panoramtic views of the city, Man Wah, and Pierre Gagnaire's two-Michelin-starred Pierre.
The Krug Room is available for dinner only and is open for individual bookings on Thursday and Saturday and for private events from Monday to Saturday. To reserve, call +852 2825 4014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.