I'm at large again, this time eating my way through Hong Kong. The latest exploit is a little place I found in the new Michelin guide to Hong Kong that has earned itself two stars in recognition of its innovation and flirtation with molecular gastronomy. I call it merely a flirtation because whilst there are some very interesting ways of presenting the food, there's not really the confusion of sight and flavour that I would associate with that genre (cue bacon ice cream etc). Then again, what would I know - except to say I distinctly remember as a nine year old putting some purple food colouring in my mother's tea, genuinely impressed by the dissonance this created and eager to see what reaction I would get. It wasn't good, and there ended the superstar career I could have had in the field. I wish I hadn't been such a sensitive child.
Anyway, back to the food. There was a choice of two set menus and my dining partners and I opted for the larger "Chef's Menu". First course was a 1,000 year old egg wrapped in a cone of toffee. I'm glad they don't preserve these in horse urine any more these days (well I think they don't anymore...). This was followed by oyster with ginger and shallot ice and a quail's egg topped with beluga and bottomed with birds nest style pastry. Next was a uni, roe and tan tan noodle cup. This was followed by a strip of fatty tuna belly (toro) topped with little chunks of freeze dried raspberry and foie gras.
Next was a little shot of pea soup and a piece of toast with a very strong fishy taste (har mi) which you were supposed to bite and sip, bite and sip. After that we were served a piece of solid Chinese vinegar and a conceptual shorompo (how did they know to give me that!), as well as a scoop of rice ice cream with just a sprinkle of some very strong powdered Chinese sausage. Next was a little crab soufflé served with little bit of citrus pods (is that what you call the little filaments?). After that we were served a piece of slow cooked, honeyed fish with ginger and pickled bok choy.
Then the first main arrived - a juicy piece of foie gras with topped with duck tartare and paired with bitter plum and citrus reduction. Then the main event of the evening came in two stages. On the top of the bowl there was a cooked wagyu and some vermicelli, which when having been eaten revealed another uncooked layer of wagyu which was then to be paired and cooked in the steaming hot beef stock broth served on the side. Amazing! Dessert was then a medley of sesame mochi ball filled with chocolate, a little shot of foamy, piquant black sesame liquid and a yummy little cone filled with kumquat ice cream. Lastly we were served an apple crumble with what I think was mochi in place of the apple - delicious and a certainly a play on the normal texture of an apple crumble.
This was followed by a very normal coffee! The meal was washed down with a glass of dry champagne to start and then a very ordinary (I'm sorry to say) bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé. All in all, I think you'll have a really good time if you pay these guys a visit for dinner. The prices are pretty steep with it ending up at around US$200 per head. Not all the dishes are what I would call pure pleasure, but there is plenty that is memorable (eg. the "sorbet" of ginger foam cooked in front of you in liquid nitrogen!) and it all adds up to an unforgettable Hong Kong experience.
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