7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental,
15 Queen's Road, Central
Tel: +852 2132.0066
Hi everyone! Can't believe it's April already...I'm currently on my last day of Easter holiday and I just came back from a wonderful vacation in Sanya, Hainan Island. As you can guess from the title of this post - I am engaged! It happened in March - two days before my 27th birthday. With our birthdays being only a day apart, my fiance and I practically share the same b-days. SO, when Andy told me he had booked the two Michelin star restaurant, Amber, I was super excited and didn't think twice about the occasion...little did I know this was actually our pre-engagement dinner :-D.
Amber is located in The Landmark Mandarin Oriental and serves a fusion of French and Japanese cuisine. The restaurant made headlines last year for being the only restaurant in China listed in the 2011 S. Pellegrino "World's 50 Best Restaurants." Their interior design reminds me of a mix between NYC's Le Bernardin and Per Se - simple yet classy. With waves of golden rods hanging from the high ceiling of the Amber's dining room, Andy and I joked that if an earthquake hit Hong Kong at that very moment, we would have nowhere to hide! With limited seating, 60 diners to be exact, this restaurant offers a sense of space to each guest. The service is attentive and very friendly. The best part? You don't have to be super dressed up to get in! There's no particular dress code. We were dressed semi-formally, but as we entered the dining area, we saw a man with just jeans and a college hoodie (okay, maybe that's a little too casual, but that man did get away with it alright!)
The tasting began after a glass of wine and champagne. We started off with some crispy amuse bouche and croquette. The thin crispy mini rolls were warm and flavorful. Some had mousse emerging out while others had more of a heavy and creamy filling. We were also served a creamy pumpkin veloute with an airy chestnut foam. Next, came the famous and rich foie gras lollipop with beetroot and ginger bread. The foie gras was coated with raspberry jelly and served on a wooden stick. All in all, they were all perfect starters for what's to come...
One of our first main dishes was the Hokkaido Sea Urchin and Caviar - probably my favorite dish at Amber. The waiter introduced three types of crispy seaweed waffles to pair along with the sea urchin and caviar. The presentation made this dish memorable - a sea urchin shell elevated by a bowl of ice with a shiny caviar shell spoon on the side. Chef Ekkebus further enhanced this combination with a layer of lobster jello before crowning it with a quenelle of caviar and a gold leaf. Are you salivating yet?
Our next dish, the confit of salmon was enclosed by a globe of smoke! I watched in awe as the waiter removed the cover from my plate and immediately, I could smell the smokey aroma. It was the perfect smell to accompany the Tasmanian salmon, which was creamy and delectable. The dish came with avocado, horseradish and granny smith apple.
Next came the Brittany Divers Scallop seared over black truffle coulis, lardo & belotta ham tartines toasted hazelnut sabayon & kabocha pumpkin gnocchi. The Langoustines was seared with cauliflower, capers and langoustine reduction with brown butter. It was these complex yet beautifully balanced flavors that truly showed the style of Amber and its team of chefs.
My second favorite dish of the night was the Kagoshima Wagyu Beef along with oven roasted puree of shallots. Yummy!! The dish also came with a twist when they presented a similar side dish, but with a small amount of creamy soup mixed together. In addition to all the food, we also added another dish of pan seared foie gras - unfortunately, nothing too special, but yummy nonetheless! After all, there's nothing as to too much foie gras in my book :-) Not to mention, we had another bottle of sweet white wine to go with it!
For desserts, I opted for the pineapple and yogurt dessert while Andy chose the French Farmer Cheeses. He also got the Blood Orange Sorbet with florentine's & confit zest. While I ordered my Abinao 85% Chocolate, also a fancier name for chocolate souffle with cacao sorbet. The souffle was dark and rich...but remarkably not heavy at all!
Just when I thought was the end of the meal, I looked up and saw a big chocolate cake topped with a piece of gold flake. On the plate said, "Happy Birthday Pam" Awwww :-). Another year older and another great meal to remember!