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2021-12-04 503 views
This Michelin 1-star restaurant is located on Wellington Street in Central, headed by Executive Chef Vicky Cheng, and featuring his special integration of French cooking techniques with Chinese ingredients, building a unique connection to Hong Kong. The restaurant has an open kitchen, with a 25-seat counter running the length. We were seated at the far end of the counter, at the bar area, so did not see well the cooking happening at the other end unfortunately.The décor is contemporary, featurin
This Michelin 1-star restaurant is located on Wellington Street in Central, headed by Executive Chef Vicky Cheng, and featuring his special integration of French cooking techniques with Chinese ingredients, building a unique connection to Hong Kong.
The restaurant has an open kitchen, with a 25-seat counter running the length. We were seated at the far end of the counter, at the bar area, so did not see well the cooking happening at the other end unfortunately.
The décor is contemporary, featuring plenty of marble, bronze, and metal. But instead of a cold feeling, the smart use of lighting created a warmth ambience. The sommelier, Alex Yim, showed us the different champagnes and I started with a glass of 2015 Benoit Dehu La Rue des Noyers Brut Nature ($290), a very nice and unique Pinot Meunier Blanc de Noirs, to kick start.
The chef then showed us the menu, as well as introducing the options on the main courses. We decided to have the 8-course tasting menu ($2,280 each), replacing the main dishes with fish maw ($980 each) and dried abalone ($1,580 for two). I also opted for the Chinese wine pairing ($1,280) as well.
The first course was Snacks, comprising of four different bite-sized appetizers. A wooden box is served, and we also heard there was music playing, a familiar tone of one of George Lam’s all-time favourites. There were two pieces of rolled paper, opening them it showed the lyrics of the song. The snack itself was a puff pastry sandwiched with some pak choi leaves, threadfin, and dried salted fish. Really tasty, the nice taste of the threadfin integrated perfectly with the salted fish, with the pak choi leaves a touch of different texture. It was also symbolic with the ingredients matching with the lyrics to praise the importance of having a great companion would make even the simplest ingredients tastes wonderful. A fantastic starter encompassing visual, taste, and audio pleasure.
Continuing the appetizers, the next one was Sea Cockle. The poached clam was meaty, fresh and full of umami sweetness, with some fermented soy beans and celtuce puree underneath, providing a complementary and familiar note of savoury which matched well with the sea cockle. The creamy celtuce puree was delicate in taste. Another nice starter.
Coming to the next one, it was Foie Gras Canape, with the crunchy cigar spring-roll had foie gras stuffed, and the rich and intense flavours appealing on the taste. It was good but among the four starters this probably had the least wow factor.
The last starter was Grilled Pike Fish on Paprika Tart. The small piece of pike fillet was grilled nicely, with the fish oil enhanced by the heat, fragrant and tasty. The tartlet had a nice crumbly texture, and the red paprika on top helped to reduce the fishy note from the pike to make the snack welcoming for even customers who might not like to have anything slightly fishy.
The second course was Kristal Caviar. Presented like a can of caviar, the outer surface was a layer of premium caviar, with nice savoury note, while underneath there was the king crab mixed with Chinese celery. The delicate crab meat is surprisingly complementary with the stronger taste of the Chinese celery, and together with the caviar an integrated and well-balanced dish of finesse. Another nice one. The wine paired was Chateau Simone 2018 from Provence.
The third course was Yamaguchi Red Abalone. The staff showed us the abalone from the Japanese prefecture, large in size, with the chef cooking it to perfection. After cutting thinly in slices, the abalone was tender and very soft on the bite. There were some pull noodles underneath, with some aged lemon to complement. The chef also used the liver from the abalone to prepare a sauce to mix with the noodles, increasing the flavours to another level. Another wonderful dish. The wine paired was Puchang Vineyard Rkatsiteli 2017. The staff also prepared a brewed Longjing Tea to remove the richness afterwards. Very thoughtful.
The fourth course was Sea Cucumber. This was the signature of the restaurant, with the chef putting the braised sea cucumber on top of some minced tiger prawn patty. Pouring in a special intense broth which I believed was made from the prawn shell like a lobster bisque, it was further sprayed with some 20-year Shaoxing wine on top. The wine came from the 144-year old Wing Lee Wai, one of Hong Kong’s oldest businesses, and added further complexity and sophistication to the dish. No wonder it is the signature. The wine paired was Legacy Peak Chardonnay 2018 from Helan Mountain in Ningxia.
The fifth course was Kinmedai, and we were surprised to hear that it was prepared with sour cabbage and chili oil, similar to the famous traditional Sichuan dish. The kinmedai had its skin grilled to crispiness, while the thick fillet was moist and soft on texture. Underneath was the sour cabbage, having the familiar taste of the Chinese version, and to me the greatest element was the chili oil, not too spicy but demonstrating the kick and fragrance, and mixing with the sauce it was every bit harmonized. I almost ended up licking the bowl because of how good it was. The wine paired was Tiansai Skyline of Gobi Reserve Chardonnay 2017.
Transitioning to the main course, the staff brought us a box of preserved apricot, the one we used to purchase when visiting Macau to share with friends. Bringing back a flock of memories, we were served also a sorbet made from the same preserved apricot, as a palate cleanser. The nice sourness of the sorbet balanced perfectly with the sweetness, and again demonstrated the creativity of the chef and how everything tied back to this city and its people.
The sixth course was Fish Maw, with the chef using French cooking techniques to braise and infuse the fish maw with flavours, then added with some Ratte potato chips. Due to the nice nutty and buttery flavours they were a great match with the rich butter sauce, which had added with Oscietra caviar. There were also some lemon leaves and finely chopped spring onion added to give fragrance and somehow, it reminded me of snake soup. The taste was simply gorgeous. The wine paired for the original dish was Puchang Crimson Reserve Pinot Noir 2014, but the sommelier thought it was not a good match with the fish maw so he poured me an additional glass of Alain Jaume Domaine Grand Veneur La Fontaine Chateuneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2018 to pair with the rich dish.
In order to help reduce the fullness from the rich course, the staff brought us a cup of Chinese tea to clean the palate, before serving the seventh course of 28 Head Dried Abalone, in which the chef had added with sweetbread and veal meat to prepare a pithivier. The pastry was baked to an appealing golden brown, with each layer having different texture, and while the dried abalone was great in taste with umami, sweetness, and a nice bite, the soft and creamy sweetbread was even more appealing. The sauce was also fantastic, using old chicken to make a reduction so intense and rich. Another must try in my opinion. The wine paired was Grace Vineyard Chairman’s Reserve 2011.
The staff then asked whether I was still hungry, and offered to prepare a Fried Rice. Although I was quite full, I could not resist the temptation and asked for it. The fried rice was unbelievably good, with each rice distinct, and the chef had added some foie gras if I was not mistaken. Very full at the end finishing it, but I was pleased I decided to try it out.
The eighth course was Muscat, with the chef cutting the big grapes in halves and then putting on top of a shortbread biscuit, with jasmine vanilla cream on top. A delicate dessert, the natural sweetness of the grapes and the light floral fragrance from the jasmine cream were good complements. The wine paired was Puchang Turpan Clovine 2015.
The final course was Black Truffle, with the sundae having a truffle ice-cream with melted chocolate on top, and then the chef also shaved in some black truffle to garnish. First time having the prized truffle made into dessert, the overall taste was great, with the sweetness appropriate and the rich palate providing a rewarding and contented conclusion for this wonderful meal.
Ordering a cup of coffee, the staff presented a box of Mignardises, with six different bite-sized dessert to choose from. True to my nature, I opted to sample all six, and all of them were good in taste and I would suggest to save some room to try it out.
The service was very good throughout the meal, the staff attentive and patient in explaining each dish, and I was also impressed with the choice of wines for pairing. The bill on the night was $10,967 and while it was expensive, it was in my opinion worth the price to experience this wonderful meal. I would not be surprised to see them awarded 2-star next year.