The beach in your backyard

Updated: 2017-03-31 09:48

By Maggie Beale(HK Edition)

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A few of my friends are just back from a short beach holiday in a different part of Asia. The only regret they seemed to have was about the hassle of reaching the destination and the many hours spent changing transport and waiting in transit lounges of airports. Then if you live in Hong Kong you could have a beach holiday every weekend, and some very fine food to perk you up in between rounds of swimming and sunning yourself.

The waterfront at Repulse Bay brings to mind the adorable beaches of Sardinia, an island area that lies between Italy's Sicily and French Corsica. Both have immaculately clean golden sands, and here the beach is shaded by a parade of towering trees leading to ocean views that dazzle.

As with most beachside operations, swimming is popular in Repulse Bay and the bay is outfitted for safety with shark prevention nets and floating platforms. Lifeguards are on duty in summer.

At Repulse Bay dining facilities range from the sophisticated and refined elegance of the Verandah which comes with all the charm of the original Repulse Bay Hotel, to eateries lined up against the beach. The fare on offer is a mixture of cuisines, including the foods of Southeast Asia, Hawaii, the United States, South America and the Caribbean, besides a touch or two of Italian pizzazz and charming French sophistication.

The area is easy to reach, with several bus routes from Central going through the Aberdeen Tunnel or along the slightly longer scenic route. There is parking for those who prefer to use their own transport.

The Pulse houses several eateries, including a new pizza joint called the Amalfitana Artisan Pizza Bar which offers an array of vegetarian and gluten-free options as well (well-done!). And just a few steps along on the same stretch of sand there are three more outstanding restaurants: Cabana, Hotshot and the Ocean.

Hotshot has a vintage surfing theme with a display of vintage surfboards. The food on offer is New American cuisine, built around surf n' turf and salads as well as classic dishes from the 1960s.

Go up a level to enjoy a soak in a jacuzzi in Cabana's 10,000 sq ft open-air rooftop facility. The experience comes with refined Japanese baths, elegant private cabins and lounge beds to make the most of the gloriously sunny days.

They offer several package deals and also tickets to events that last from 3 pm to 7 pm. You can enjoy champagne and soft drinks while listening to music turned by live DJs. Much as I enjoy the music, personally, on a lazy afternoon, I prefer to have conversations in an atmosphere of relative peace and quiet.

Right next door, the Ocean is a combination of many things: a classic bar with great views, a spacious eatery with some glass-enclosed private dining areas as well. There's a weekend lunch special too with prices that start at HK$888.

Also at the Ocean, the degustation menu includes several seafood-rich dishes such as wild caught guilvinec turbot cooked with razor clams in a plancton sauce. There's a delicious Blue Lagoon combo that consists of Japanese sea urchin, fukuoka clams custard, bouillon and foam, and kaviari oscietra caviar. And they have a fine cheese selection too. Calorie rich (who's counting!) desserts include chocolate-gianduja with hazelnuts, caramel, and a lemon sorbet. Perhaps best of all, the caviar selection is a special delight with kristal, oscietra or white sturgeon caviar to choose from.

And all of this without having to pack and unpack, schlepping to the airport and queuing up. What's even better, after a hearty meal one gets to go back and sleep in the comfort of home!

And to think this is just about a half hour's drive away from Central! How cool is that?

The beach in your backyard

(HK Edition 03/31/2017 page1)