Posted by: Sam Olsen | August 23, 2011

Jumbo tastic

Sunday brunch appears to be a big institution in HK. Only finding this out on Saturday we didn’t have much choice as to where to go the next day because of the locals’ habit of pre-booking every table at every restaurant just in case they want to go out to eat in three Fridays’ time. Our lovely babysitter Camilla recommended one place down in the village of Aberdeen that had some spaces left, and given the size of our appetites it was handily called Jumbo.

The concept of ying and yang – in ‘simple’ terms, that opposites thus only exist in relation to each other – lies at the origins of many branches of Chinese culture and philosophy. The small HK settlement of Aberdeen is the ying to Scotland’s namesake’s yang. One is a tiny village full of sports clubs and calamari, one has Irn Bru and deep-fried pizza. One  is drenched in sun, one is flooded with fog. One has a drink problem, one has a…wait, they both do. One of the first things we saw when we arrived – at 2.30pm – at our all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffet was a man face down at his table apparently drowning in his soup. A woman stood over him fanning him with a napkin but she was hardly a rock of stability herself. And no one else at this expatriate table seemed to think this exceptional.

To some of you reading this, the above description sounds like living the dream. And what’s not to like? All the sustenance you could want for under a warm sun and with a gentle breeze to refresh you, and it only costs £40. Add to this the fact you are on a rather cool floating restaurant in the middle of a harbour which you can only get to by a little Chinese launch – called a sampan – crewed by exceptionally nice locals that check you know where you are going when you get off and who probably wouldn’t throw you overboard for a misdemeanor. And did I mention it’s all you can eat and drink?

If this does all sound good to you, then you probably haven’t got kids. The thought of doing an all-dayer ahead of the week when trying to look after Lawrence is enough to induce a panicky headache before a drop has been drunk. And notwithstanding Camilla and her very nice boyfriend, the clientele were – how to put this delicately? – pushy Australian second-hand car salesmen for the most part. We kept expecting a game of cheap sparkling wine fueled Aussie Rules to break out on the top deck, perhaps using a Peking duck as a ball. Nevertheless the food was OK, and there really was more than we could eat. But surely there must be better places to go for Sunday Brunch? We shall seek and find.

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