On the grand scale of things that I love, room service breakfast is nestled right between free premium channel preview weekends (“Why yes, Showtime, I WILL binge watch Californication this weekend. Thank you very much.”) and pictures of puppies sleeping upside down (they look like they’re sleep-flying!). That is to say, I LOVE me some room service breakfast. Most of the time, though, I can’t justify the expense. When the expense is waived due to the generosity of the Four Seasons, though, I am more than happy to indulge.
I’m always amazed that room service breakfast menus are fairly universal, although it makes perfect sense. Travelers love to have the comforts of home, even thousands of miles away, so at major international chains you pretty much get the same options: the classic American eggs + meat + toast, a fruit and yogurt dish, various omelets, some version of eggs benedict, and depending on where you’re traveling, multicultural options like congee or a full Japanese breakfast. My personal favorite choice, though, is a bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon (aka lox).
I’ve already written extensively about my love for the lox and bagel combo in my Airport Chow Ritual series, but that love stretches to room service breakfast as well. For me, it’s a perfect choice. Light enough that you won’t feel weighed down as you begin your day, but substantial enough to carry you through to lunch. The version at the Four Seasons Hong Kong falls towards the top of my hotel rankings due to a bagel that easily could have come out of Brooklyn, a healthy portion of salmon that provided just the right amount of smokiness balanced with the naturally oily fish, cream cheese that wasn’t too dense, and a coterie of components (capers, onions, tomatoes) that combined to form a sort of salmon Captain Planet. Plus, they get bonus points for going with white onion instead of red. My only qualm is that I wish there were more capers on the plate. First world problems, eh?
Back to the bagel for one second. It’s rare to find a praise-worthy bagel at any hotel, much less one in Hong Kong where the closest bagel tradition is girda nan, the bagels of ethnic Uighurs in rural China. The bagel I enjoyed was definitely more of the American variety and despite only offering a plain option, it was a revelation. Springy dough with as many nooks as a proper English muffin gave way to a nicely chewy exterior. It certainly helped that it was toasted to just the right shade of golden, but you could tell it would have been good even pre-toasting. I don’t know where they get these bagels from, but I dare any New Yorker to come here and complain about them. Scratch that. New Yorkers can complain about anything. Perhaps they could visit and complain less about these than a bagel elsewhere.
To make breakfast even more enjoyable, the deluxe harbor room view is truly spectacular (see above). Kowloon is right in front of you and it’s easy to get lost just watching the ferries scuttle back and forth from port to port. With rare sunshine on my first morning here, I found myself a bit mesmerized, as if I was eating breakfast in front of a moving painting.
Was the view better than the bagel? I’m sorry, but I can’t answer that right now. I’m still chewing.