No one can deny that real estate in California Tower is sought after. The building is perfectly located in the bustling Lan Kwai Fong district, with Central worker bees scrambling for a quick lunch before their next important meeting, it is up to these restaurants to accommodate this demand.
Our first choice for this week’s lunch was Glasshouse in IFC. Unfortunately after several attempts to call them, when they finally picked up, they informed me that they were fully booked. We settled for Townhouse which also falls under the Gaia group.
I had been to Townhouse before for a big group dinner and for their buy one get one free cocktail deal. So I was intrigued to see their set lunch menu.
They have two options for the set, the supposedly light menu and the regular menu. I say supposedly as nothing was light about the courses. Options for starters were fries with truffle mayo and a creamy cauliflower soup. The regular menu included pizza as mains and other larger dishes.
Three of us chose from the extensive a la carte menu; Laksa soup with pork cutlet, cauliflower and shrimp pizza (someone bought a lot of cauliflower from the market!) and a peach and duck salad. The pizza crust was surprisingly thin and crispy, although the toppings were somewhat confusing, especially with truffles accompanying the seafood- Italians may all shudder now! The Laksa soup was very basic with no seafood but tofu and noodles and a fried pork cutlet on the side. The cutlet was clearly frozen and slightly salty, but overall my colleague enjoyed the dish. The peach and duck salad was unfortunately very small so my colleague was left looking for something else to eat. For the main dish price, this one was not worth it.
The remaining two of us ordered from the ‘light’ set menu. I had the cauliflower soup with the unnecessary drizzle of oil on top. It was already such a rich dish without the oil, too much so for me.
My colleague had the crispy fries for her starter which she was not too pleased with which was quite evident from her first bite. She mentioned that the batter had a strange flavour and it was clearly frozen.
For our mains, we both chose the mushroom (another veggie purchased from the market perhaps…) macaroni with sausage. They were happy to remove the sausages for my vegetarian colleague but strangely the consistency of the sauce was very different for our dishes. Mine was quite runny and watery, possibly due to the more mushrooms on my plate. Overall we agreed the dish required more cheese and seasoning. Also, the use of mushrooms and edamame in this just did not work!
Verdict: The only thing Townhouse has going for it is the view and the location. For about 145 HKD each for lunch, this mediocre meal was not worth it. Townhouse has to stop trying to be innovative by adding random ingredients to dishes from all over the world and instead hone in on one cuisine with good quality, FRESH ingredients.
23/F, California Tower, 30-32 D’Aguilar Street, Lan Kwai Fong, Central Ph: 852 2344 2366 https://www.facebook.com/Townhousehongkong