Take the location: Wong Chuk Hang, on the south side of Hong Kong Island, was once the preserve of factories and warehouses. It’s gradually transforming itself into an innovative new arts district, which is likely to really take off when the MTR subway opens in 2016.
Cirqle sits on the fourth floor of Ovolo Southside, a smart, design-led hotel that is spearheading the area’s renaissance.
Indoors or outdoors, Cirqle's always cool — Photo courtesy of Cirqle
And take the design: The restaurant’s outside terrace provides a fine view of the surrounding area and nearby Ocean Park, Hong Kong’s home-grown theme park.
An open kitchen and a very laid-back vibe combine to excite the senses and get mouths watering. And the décor is intriguing yet subdued in a mellow fashion.
Take the staff, too: In fact, staff seems to be the wrong word: they're more like friends of friends who’ve invited you 'round for a meal. Cheery, efficient, proactive, unobtrusive – they’re everything you could ask from wait staff. And they’re cool without making a noise about it.
The kitchen is headed by Executive Chef Krzysztof Bandel, and lunch and dinner menus take Mediterranean classics in new directions, with Southeast Asian twists and Arabian zests.
A rotation of the freshest produce includes Alaskan cod, Galician pork, Scottish salmon and Australian lamb. And anyone with a sweet tooth will find their interest piqued by the dessert menu, which embraces slow-baked cheesecake, banana Eton mess, passion fruit mousse and hot sticky toffee pudding.
Cirqle comes into its own on Saturdays and Sundays, when it rolls out its celebrated brunch. The barbecue station could easily be called Grand Central. There’s a seafood bar, an egg corner, fresh juices, salads and – best of all – the option of free-flow sangria (Prosecco, rose, apple cider, red wine and white wine) or Perrier-Jouet Champagne.
And if you’ve got kids in tow, there’s a special balcony set aside for them, with a range of toys and games.
Just to remind everyone that brunch is as much about ambience as about appetites, a DJ spins cool sounds throughout the meal.
Finally, Cirqle can take a bow on Mondays, when it aims to promote healthy and environmental-friendly living in Hong Kong by encouraging meat-free diets – an easy and effective way to improve health, reduce carbon footprint and slow down global warming.