We really like The Glasshouse, perched as it is on the rooftop of the IFC with similar, if higher, views to those of St Betty and The French Window over to Kowloon and the New Territories. As in many places, the problem in this restaurant may be a dependence on processed ingredients and sauces that make life difficult for those of us who need to avoid gluten.
When we first visited this restaurant we were apologetically ushered over to a high table by the window as all of their regular tables were occupied. Actually this was no hardship at all. It was a bit more private than the main part of the restaurant and we were able to enjoy the fabulous view. The mojito they prepared was a superbly flavourful contrast to the watery cordial served to us recently in Four Season’s Blue Bar in the nearby Four Seasons Hotel. Top marks for that.
On our first visit. we ordered the tuna with calamansi sauce. Despite being asked how we would like the tuna served, and answering that we would prefer it rare, it was quite well done when it appeared. Sadly, tuna seems to turn somewhat rubbery when overcooked. Despite that, and rather curiously, the calamansi sauce (which we were assured was g-f), made up for this: it was an interesting flavour that masked the damage done. That said, the sauce must have contained gluten or there was cross-contamination from the garnish that we tried hard to avoid (note to self: remember to ask in future what garnishes might be added – they are a fairly high risk source of problems, and we have often found they are not remembered by waiters or waitresses when they take an order).
We followed this with the banana creme brulee, which was theatrically presented. Cognac was poured over the brulee at the table and lit: the ensuing flames were an unexpected and attractive sight at night. A demi-tasse of coffee was provided to pour over it when the flames died down. Both were an interesting twist and made a lovely concoction; so good in fact that we returned a few weeks later just for desserts.
The helpful and engaging manager was apologetic about the menu – realising that each main course he patiently talked over with the kitchen required something really significant to be removed before it was safe. He understood that plain cod with g-f Japanese soy sauce and plain rice just isn’t that appealing. Hopefully, when they next revamp their menu, there might be something more interesting on it for those of us avoiding gluten. We certainly got the impression that it might happen. If so, we will report back…
Glasshouse, Shop 4009, Level 4, IFC Mall, Central, Hong Kong – Tel: 2383 4008 – www.glasshousehongkong.com