Korean food and brunch? It might not be a culinary pairing that first jumps to mind, but Genesis Restaurant is bringing this unlikely couple together at its sleek contemporary restaurant.
The global luxury automotive brand Genesis opened its stylish showroom, Genesis Studio Shanghai, last year in Hong Kong Plaza. Set on the second floor above the latest car models on display, the restaurant is outfitted in clean lines, juxtaposing raw concrete with warm wood finishes for an atmosphere that is at once intimate and inviting, polished yet unfussy.
With Chef Tom Ryu as its Culinary Curator (yes, that Tom Ryu of the perpetually booked-out JEJU SAGYE), the kitchen turns out impeccable plates of inventive Korean cuisine for the upscale setting. Ordering a la carte is available, though for the full Genesis culinary experience, two dinner set menus offer contrasting views of contemporary Korean cuisine – one developed by Ryu is a modern take full of creative spins while the other, imagined by the one Michelin-starred Korean restaurant and research institute Onjium, presents artful renditions of the country’s traditional recipes.
Expanding beyond dinner, Genesis has just launched a weekend brunch and afternoon tea during the week. Available on Saturday and Sunday (11am-3pm), the brunch menu isn’t your run-of-the-mill pancakes and mimosas. Instead, expect Korean small plates designed to share amongst the table alongside fun twists on classic cocktails.
Hearty protein-heavy dishes will take the edge off the night before (or line your stomach for the evening to come), with selections like Gul Kimchi Bossam that plates sous vide soy garlic pork belly paired with a mix of oysters and kimchi or the Samgyeopsal Fried Rice where wood-smoked pork belly arrives atop a small mountain of kimchi fried rice. Cabbage Ssambapp offers a lighter option to balance the table with steamed cabbage wrapped bimbimbap and an avocado ssamgjang sauce.
Unique Korean ingredient and flavours feature heavily throughout the drinks menu. The Ssamjang Mary riffs on a Bloody Mary, its vodka and tomato juice base rippling with the signature taste of Korean barbecue’s iconic spicy, aromatic ssamjang sauce. Traditionally used as an herbal tea, magnolia berry (or ‘omija’) is highlighted against a backdrop of Del Professore bitters and prosecco in the effervescent Omija Spritz. Accompanying the list of ten signature cocktails, a series of create-your-own highballs featuring different flavours of house-infused sojus and speciality sodas are available and anyone on the no-ABV train is well served with a selection of Korean-inspired mocktails.
Every weekday from 11am-3pm is another new addition at Genesis Restaurant: afternoon tea. Available in sets or a la carte, it spotlights the richness of Korea’s tea culture. Channelling its spirit and tradition for the contemporary era, Korean tea master Rachel Kim has curated a hand-picked selection of eight notable Korean teas that runs the gamut of green, black, herbal and decaffeinated. Each one comes with a small explanation and a snack pairing that’s been developed by Chef Ryu to complement the individual tea. The menu, which is eight teas strong, currently features heartier, nourishing teas like red bellflower root and a wild pear tea, which are suitable for winter. As the weather warms up, the restaurant will also bring in a new selection of tea tailored for spring.
Not a detail has gone without thought – the afternoon tea sets, available for one or two people, is served in gorgeous dishware crafted especially for the restaurant by two acclaimed Korean ceramists, Whang Seungwook and Woo Sangwook.
In a sea of bottomless champagne brunches and frilly scone-laden afternoon teas (each which indubitably has its place and time), it’s refreshing and exciting to have something so singular on the scene.
Genesis Restaurant, Second Floor, Genesis Studio Shanghai, Hong Kong Plaza, 283 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Huangpi Nan Lu.