Ok, so from the title alone you know this is going to be good…let’s start with the name HMF; named for The Breakers’ founder Henry Morrison Flagler. HMF has replaced the exquisitely fine dining L’Escalier at The Breakers. HMF has breathed a sexy new breath into the stately Breakers. Chic and alluring HMF has all the makings of the new “it” place on the island. Nothing even remotely reminiscent of L’Escalier permeates the air. HMF is young, hip and very sexy. Bright, open and modern. Everything is shared at HMF; the space, the tables, the open kitchen, the menu.
We were there on a Tuesday night and by 8pm every single table was occupied. The guests at HMF ran the spectrum, you had your classically beautiful Palm Beachers; young movers and shakers, and out of town visitors. HMF seemingly was the place to be; lively conversations were being had as rousing music from the likes of Frank Sinatra to big band jazz filled the air; a well orchestrated vibe. There was a lot of movement; ebb and flow throughout and within, a steady excitement filled the air. You could feel this excitement, you wanted to be a part of it, you wanted it to move you. The servers, all female, all breathtakingly stunning in their mod black wrap-dresses and up-dos efficiently tended to their guests, suggesting, serving and engaging. This new scene at The Breakers is off and running.
HMF is a breath of fresh air on Palm Beach island as well as to The Breakers. Open just under a month, the newness and excitement is very captivating. Every seat at the bar was taken, be it for cocktails or dinner. I say dinner but the menu is being promoted as small plates and shared dishes. Most items will suffice as dinner for some while others will be obligated to order multiple tasting plates to appease their appetite. The menu is very interesting. I’ll admit, I scoffed at first when I saw the menu sections, specifically the one titled “Food Truck”. OK really, food trucks at The Breakers? come on….they’re reaching….
From the Food Truck section we ordered both the Fish and Chicken Tacos. I stand corrected with my eye-rolling and scoffing. HMF’s fish tacos can rival any Southern California “Baja” Fish Tacos as well as the authentically evocative Mexican Chicken Albondigas Tacos. This was our first dish. I truly did not want to go any further. As far as I was concerned these plates rocked the menu. Of course to push us over the edge, Juan Gomez, The Breakers Master Sommelier in-residence paired each of our small plates with some fabulous wine find from The Breakers’ 28,000-bottle collection, which carries the legacy of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award since its inception in 1981.
Juan’s pairing with the Chicken Tacos was Palmina Malvasia 2011 and for the Fish Tacos, the Heitz Chardonnay 2010. Hello Food Trucks, meet HMF, Breakers Palm Beach style.
From the Sushi and Sashimi section of the menu we ordered the Spicy Dragon Roll and Tuna Tataki; our friend Mr. Gomez paired this plate with Chanel #6, a cocktail off their signature list made with vodka, Chambord and pineapple juice; only in Palm Beach, can you can wear and drink your Chanel at the same time; gotta love it here. This particular pairing made me realize that there is a lot of elegant fun happening with the food and drink at HFM; you just have to be open to it, and try new things.
Next we had the Churrasco Steak Chimichurri and fried yuca from the Hearth and Robata section of the menu. This was a double header pairing; Gomez was starting to get a bit playful with us; he took us on a tasting journey with the Zuccardi Malbec 2010 and a Mojito Royale made with rum, lemongrass-kaffir lime syrup, mint and Champagne. This was fun, it was like being in wine class, we took bites of our food and tasted it with the different beverages. I highly recommend speaking with Juan when you go to HMF, have him pair your food and beverage; playing with your food has never been more fun. All of this is part of the engaging atmosphere at HMF, you really cannot help but get caught up in it.
No dinner, at least in my world is complete without the compulsory carb dish. In this case, orecchiette with duck sausage and wild mushrooms. Juan’s suggested pairing was the Crianza, Conde de Siruela 2007. The abundance of the dish; the sausage, the pasta, and the sauce made for an ideal pairing with the wine.
It’s all in the details, did you notice the monogrammed etching on the glasses? The flatware at each place setting has a sleek, modern placeholder. Every I has been dotted and every T has been crossed. It is The Breakers, and to be expected but now it’s fun and approachable. Valet parking is complementary with validation at HMF. The famed wine list offers a vast selection of wines by the glass in both 3.5 oz and 7 oz pours. Cocktails start at $10.50 and the small plates menu begins pricing at $9.
We were talking about the vibe of HMF, as I stated earlier, it is not L’Escalier, it’s open, youthful, hip and sexy. Many people will find themselves comfortable here. I’m calling it now, this is an ideal place for a first date. HMF has a lot of atmosphere and a lot of activity going on that will subdue any awkwardness coming out of that first date conversation, plus it’s very cool and very impressive.
And for dessert, a very dense Gianduja chocolate torte with caramel sea salt gelato and candied orange paired with OLIVARES Dulce Monastrell 2006. I’m just going to let the picture speak for itself.
The joie de vive revival of the Palm Beach cocktail culture has begun.
Click here to view more photos from our evening at HMF