TASTING HONG KONG
Updated: May 13, 2019
POSTED ON MARCH 21, 2018
Is it possible? In one day, under one roof can I get a taste of the diversity, complexity and magic of Hong Kong? Yes it is when Hong Kong’s acknowledged best chef (and one of Asia’s top chefs) Richard Ekkebus wields his magic. In Hong Kong East meets West, classic weds contemporary, it’s gleaming glass and steel shopping malls jostle for space with fresh meat and produce markets along cobbled streets. It’s restaurant’s cape bustles with incessant energy and innovation. Fine dining and comfort food, dimsum and then some. Rising high in the throbbing heart of Hong kong, a slim, stylish skyscraper houses the Mandarin Oriental Landmark, two Michelin starred Richard Ekkebus is it’s culinary director. Here he wields his culinary magical wand with ease, panache and versatility. Please take a look at the two dish photographs. While one is the Asparagus dish from the pure vegetarian menu of Amber, the iconic best restaurant of Hong Kong, the other “Honkiedog” is Chef Ekkebus’s creation of a Hong Kong hot dog for the “Please Don’t Tell” bar on the ground floor of the same MO Landmark
Please take a look at the accompanying photograph of Amber, what you see in the background is actually a bronze chandelier that infuses the room with a golden, amber tone. Globetrotting gourmet who actively encourages Chef Ekkebus’s work, the dynamic and dapper Archie Keswick who helms this landmark is also a yoga aficionado. Here, in this golden Amber toned magical Amber I taste two Michelin starred Dutch genius Richard Ekkebus’s magic. The only Restaurant from Hongkong on the prestigious Worlds 50 best list and 3rd on Asias50best.
In this iconic golden-toned temple classical European culinary tradition tangoes with Hong Kong’s East-meets-West ingredient-sourcing possibilities, resulting in a deliciously sublime seasonal menu in Ekkebus personal style.
Of course I taste all is non-vegetarian signature dishes, but focus on his dedicated vegetarian menu. Vegetarian amuse bouche for all flag off the dinner Gems Of wizardry are served up as the four flavors Salty..(celery black bean caper soya sauce), Sour.. (lemon meringue at puree), Bitter (.and ice with campari and orange jelly), Sweet..(.jerusalem artichoke Tonka bean powder) kickstart my appetite
Beautifully presented Asparagus from Jerome hall’s in orchestra with peas and a medley of herbs is followed by the amazing parsnip which is chargrilled and every part of it is used in the dish and solidified extra virgin olive oil yuzu gel amaranth pearls add to.
The transition pre dessert of Buffalo burrata l strawberries cherry tomatoes refreshes as does the citrus dessert and prepares for the unforgettable. Cacao sorbet caramelized almonds salted caramel acidity of kalamansi which dazzles. Of course I did revel in his stunning non vegetarian dishes the signature Hokkaido Sea Urchin dish and also the Wagyu beef.
Love the sublime light contemporary notes that Chef Ekkebus orchestrates.
NO WASTE VEGETABLE COOKING
Kudos chef Ekkebus for using all parts of the vegetable. Like in the delicious dish of Parsnips, a masterpiece of textural contrast too. I request Chef Ekkebus for tips on using all parts of the vegetable at home. He advises making sure the vegetables are cleaned well and are preferably organic. Drying and frying the skin makes for a crunchy starter, be it carrots, potatoes, turnips. The skin of Tomatoes used in a broth adds a lot of color. Can make a dashi or infusion with vegetable trimmings.
PLEASE DON’T TELL
When the cult-status, speakeasy PDT from NYC opens in Hong Kong, what does the brilliant chef Ekkebus do? Creates Honkiedog for it. The hot dog which oozes with the taste of Hong Kong, the umami of it’s XO sauce of chilli, soybeans, seafood, and crunch of scallions and cabbage. And he does so with as much passion and gusto as he does when creating the parade of refined dishes in Amber. The talented and creative Adam Schmidt creates many a delicious cocktail and mocktail (including the cucumber based tuffnut tonic). Gladis young points out how this cozy bar with recollective design elements such as a copper bar top, herringbone-patterned wood ceiling and taxidermy adorning the walls is renowned for mixology, And making waves in Hong Kong is the edgy “Entertainment suite” party space with everything from a DJ booth to it’s liquid metal, spaceship-glow cabinets house popcorn, wine dispensers and other grown-up treats. And ofcourse, there is the spa with it’s yoga, pilates “The year of the earth dog” treatment, for sure the fusion of East and West has always been Hong Kong’s calling card, but here in the most expensive real estate of Hong Kong is an oasis of energised calm. A true Hong Kong Landmark.