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CO-WRITTEN / PARTNER | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Gastronomic excellence with Gaylord and Namo

The two restaurants are natural havens for food lovers seeking the ultimate dining experience.

Mayfare Group’s mantra of running three of its specialty restaurants has always been simple—and probably the most important secret in the group’s gastronomic success in Hong Kong—the Guest is God. And two restaurants under the group has been consistently recognised as some of the most high-flying, boundary-pushing, and Michelin-recommended gastronomical ground zeroes in Hong Kong: Namo, which serves “Avant Thai” dishes to local and international diners since 2013, and Gaylord Indian Restaurant, considered the oldest Indian restaurant in the territory serving authentic and traditional Indian dishes since 1972.

Rajeev Bhasin, Mayfare Group’s founder and managing director, noted that the restaurants under the group are consistently striving for gastronomic excellence the only way they know how—serving up dishes and experiences fit for the divine.

For Gaylord, considered a culinary institution not only in the famous Tsim Sha Tsui district but in the entire territory of Hong Kong with its rich history and legacy, Bhasin noted that guests can not only expect a gastronomic delight, but an authentic Indian atmosphere with the music and decoration of the restaurant. “Guests should look forward to a veritable classic Indian feast that combines the country’s exotic spices and intense herbs into a rich, flavour-packed dining experience,” he elaborated.

For Namo, meanwhile, Bhasin noted that diners can expect to savour an extensive menu on contemporary Thai delicacies that push as well as integrate traditional and modern cooking techniques, serving up a unique dining experience for customers. “Guests can enjoy a selection of vibrant Thai-inspired cocktails and mocktails … at our al fresco lounge overlooking the stunning Victoria Harbour views,” he said.

Gaylord’s long-standing excellence
Celebrating 46 years of operations and gastronomic excellence in Hong Kong, sandwiched between years of recognition and recommendation from the world-renowned Michelin Guide, the pioneering and highly sought-after Gaylord Indian Restaurant remains on a quest to serve the best traditional Indian dishes to its diners. 

Gaylord currently has an extensive menu offering authentic North Indian food in a traditional ambience with classical and Bollywood live music to add to the genuine ambience of the restaurant. The place also serves other specials that reflects cuisines of other regions in India as well as seasonal offerings. The restaurant, likewise, offers a sumptuous weekday lunch buffet and Sunday brunch for diners to try a spread of signature Indian dishes. 

Bhasin noted Gaylord’s very tranquil yet dynamic atmosphere even in its design with the main dining area providing guests with comfortable alcove seating and tables. Interiors are also in rosewood and gold leaf with contemporary art works. “The design and cuisine capture both the hearts and the taste buds of diners from all backgrounds, making Gaylord stand out in such a competitive F&B scene in Hong Kong,” he said. 

Asked about the secret of Gaylord’s long-term success and legacy in the highly competitive food and beverage industry in Hong Kong, Bhasin noted the restaurant’s hunger for innovation and desire to introduce a wide variety of gastronomic delights, whilst not throwing away its quest to remain authentic.

“This allowed Chinese diners the chance to savour various choices from the Indian cuisine. Soon, it helped dispel the misconception that Indian cuisine is extremely spicy. Gaylord was also the first to build an open kitchen and host live music featuring Indian performers [in Hong Kong].”

Namo, where tradition meets modern
At Namo, Bhasin shared that the goal is to provide familiar Thai cuisine and tastes but flared up with modern cooking techniques to serve up a truly unique experience to the dining public. Launched in 2013 and already a recommended restaurant by the Michelin Guide in 2016, Namo has been able to find the perfect balance, harmony, and symphony of the traditions of Thai cuisine whilst integrating modernism in culinary mastery, décor, and ambience.

“Namo was the first to provide modern and contemporary Thai cuisine. We incorporate traditional, tried and trusted recipes of this most delicate of cuisines and infuse them with modern cooking methods and preparation style such as sous-vide and espuma from siphon bottles, all whilst using the premium ingredients available to our expert chefs today,” he said. 

“Within two years of this culinary integration, we were recommended by the Michelin Guide in 2016, which proves that our innovative approach is well-received by diners in the competitive F&B environment of Hong Kong,” the Mayfare Group managing director said.

In terms of the restaurant’s atmosphere and ambience, customers have been in awe of what the restaurant has to offer with its prime location overlooking the Victoria Harbour—perhaps Hong Kong’s most famous landmark. 

Examples of the “Avant Thai” menu the restaurant has to offer include crispy chicken fingers with a Thai-inspired curry dip; prawn fritters tossed in fragrant garlic, lemongrass, and chili; as well as tuna tartare with avocado, along with spicy-creamy lime dressing. For cocktails and mocktails (for those who don’t drink alcohol), the restaurant offers drinks named Sticky Rice Martini and Dragonfly.

“The atmosphere is inviting and cosy, the inventive menu with a selection of authentic Thai delicacies with contemporary presentation allow diners to experience an exotic journey through Southeast Asia and beyond,” Bhasin said. “Whether it’s our Iberico’s Pork Rib Chiang Mai Curry or the Chargrilled Octopus with a generous serving of Lemongrass and Coconut Foam, Namo brings the daring and inventive approach to the market.” Mayfare Group won the 2018 High Flyers Award for F&B Management.

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