Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mandarin Grill & Bar - (文華扒房)

Michelin 1 Star

  The good old Mandarin Bar & Grill has always been a favourite spot amongst local diners looking for a fine dining venue,  and in the past synonymous with a pilgrimaged visit to Amigo in Happy Valley – except over there they haven’t changed much over the years, and it also shows how old I am becoming!   Over here meanwhile,  this fine dining venue has been given a dramatic new breath of life under the leadership of talented Executive Chef, Uwe Opocensky,  a German born chef whose impressive resume includes having worked in a multitude of reknowned Michelin Starred restaurants in Europe before a mind-opening stagiaire in the El Bulli kitchen beside Ferran Adria.   Chef Uwe carries a dual responsibility of looking after both the private dining part of The Krug Room (a mostly fun, Molecular based food menu and requires advanced booking),  whereas the  Mandarin Grill is still engaging and fun but more relevant and accessible as a daily  dining option.   Visiting here is a unique dining experience that will certainly make you and your dining partners leave with a big smile on their faces.   After warming up with a previous PR lunch session for a quick test,   I decided to return with a close friend to share this unique experience with me over dinner time and judge their real performance.    

Tasting Tour’s range from around $1,088 to $1,688 (8 Courses) depending on the number of dishes.   For us, we ordered a mixture of a Tasting Menu and what were separate A La Carte dishes. 

P1080997-1Over the Years @  Mandarin Grill -
The Kitchen has undergone a big transformation and direction, belying it’s appearance…

P1080902Wattwiller Mineral Water  (France) -
Mandarin Bar & Grill carries 8 types of famous Bottled Waters, some of these are unique.. 
They also carry the famous Chateldon (served in the Court of Louis XIV)

P1080909P10809105 Types Olive Oil Trail -
Served by default is French Chateau d’Estoublon EVOO here.   But if you ask politely, you are allowed to experience the full range of their even rarer selections of famous Olive Oils.   Do make comparison notes!    The others are all regarded as Ultra-Premium graded oils, including 2 varieties of Manni Olive Oil (Italian), which chefs only use small dribbles at a time on dishes!   There’s reknowned  λ /lambda/ Olive Oil (Greece) the most expensive in the world. And the even rarer to find let alone offered by a restaurant and may I add also ultra-expensive bottle of El Mil Del Poiag cold-pressed oil made from Spain’s unique 437 millenarian Farga olive trees with that subtle and refreshing green citrusy note.    (It retails at around HKD$2,000/bottle locally!).   This is the best EVOO line-up ever ! ~  10/10

Bread Basket -
As far as I’m concerned, this is the best Bread Basket I have ever had offered.  With an extensive selection of Milanese roll & sundried tomato, German style Laugen Roll,  Olive Twists,  Pain au Lait,   Maize Roll or a Focaccia Roll all made perfectly and warm.  Perfect.   ~  10/10

Amuse Bouche # 1 -
Marinated Pineapple,  with Pickled ginger,
5 Spice Seasoning & Coriander flower.   Very refreshing..

Amuse Bouche # 2 -
Wafer Cornet of Alaskan King Crab & Herb

Amuse Bouche # 3 -

A Gougère with Parmesan

Amuse Bouche # 4 & 5 -

Foie Gras Cherry,  with Truffled Brioche


2008 Meursault 1er Cru “Genevrieres”,  Maison Roche de Bellene. 
Burgundy, France   ($268/Glass) -
An expensive glass of wine and with a bit of mark-up in hindsight!  But they suggested this,  so I guess I’ll splurge out, pay and try what this is all about.   Turned out to be a really great wine but not the typical Meursault I associate with.   I distinctly remembered a dry lemon and stone fruit note with subtle minerality, unless I was imagining things!  Amazing wine for me, may be not for others : ) 

FLOWER POT  -  Herbs, Salad, Soil
It’s playful look aside and notice how its ‘watered’ by the server in front of you!  Look deeper and I saw the sophistication of afterthought put into this Salad!  A variety of Organic Herbs, Cresses, Flowers and sous-vided Root Vegetables,  sits on top a Rocket Puree Cream and 3 types of soil made from Beer, Milk and Dried Olives.    With a Minus 8 Wine Vinaigrette -  the –8C referring to the temperature the grapes are picked at!!  no easy recipe  

RAW – Organic Salmon, Alaskan King Crab, Botan Shrimp, Sake, Cucumber
Sounds simple?   Not mentioned in the title are Oyster flavoured Pearls,  Sake and Cucumber flavoured jelly which paired well with the seafood.  Green Tea Sponge,   (Photo Below) Oyster Leaf from France that surprisingly carries an intense flavour of real oysters,  because the tree is fed with oysters!!  With White Vinegar ‘Water-Droplet’.   Kinome Leaf, Okinawan Sea Grapes and Sea Cress..  Very oceanic.

LANGOUSTINE -  Scottish, Seaweed, Gnocchi, Crustacean
This Scottish rather than French sourced langoustine is much bigger and is soooo fragrant.   This is a Main Course dish but it is one of the best langoustines I’ve tried.  Won’t explain the surprise details from now on as ‘spoiler’,  gave you enough clues above!    You’ve just got to come visit to experience yourself…

Foie Gras -  French, Andignac, Pistachio, Wild Strawberry, Balsamic
A lovely concept, but to me this milk-poached Andignac Foie Gras was a little too soft to our liking.
Probably the only dish we didn’t understand fully, and probably prefer it more normal like a smooth pate, or a poele grilled style with a more charred crust?

2007 Nuits Saint Georges  (Vieilles Vignes),  Nicolas Potel.  Burgundy, France.  $238/Glass -
This is only half portion.   It’s related to the above White wine by maker.  
Definitely not as impressive as the Mersault, and at this price point...

CHICKEN – Welsh, Rhug Estate, Organic, Bones, Shallot, Natural Jus
There is as usual some surprise here, but the main thing is this tasted really great.  Baked in a cocotte, the mushrooms and endives gave it an earthy and textural contrast. Still very moist.

Wonder what this is that came with the CHICKEN dish?  
You’ll need to come & find out!

SIRLOIN – Welsh, Rhug Estate, Organic, Leather, Onion, Truffle
With fried Potato strings,  this came with a ‘cow leather skin’ on the bottom.  The steak was cooked well and flavourful, but it was the strong Black Truffle sauce which was very satisfying.  I haven’t had truffle sauce this fragrant for a long time. Wonder what’s the secret?

Came with Broccoli -
This was relatively a boring dish for tonight’s standard!  Oh well..

SOUFFLE -   Raspberry,  Raspberry
This souffle already had the right look, so no need to elaborate more.  The quenelle of Raspberry Sorbet was dunked into the souffle by the server.   Only minor niggle is the souffle didn’t have much Raspberry taste for some reason!   Otherwise good.

Dessert of SPRING - 
Made to resemble a Spring Garden…  this was made into various Spring Vegetable lookalikes using a mixture of Apple puree, Caramelized Beetroot with beetroot espuma,  Milk ice cream ‘Asparagus’,  Fennel snow,  Green tea sponge,  Chocolate sprigs,  
Hazelnut & Chocolate soil.

Yogurt like balls, encased in what tasted like Guava Pod Skins… 
This dessert is complicated.   Most importantly,
Everything was EDIBLE.  I looove it when that happens!!

Chamomile Tea  -
Had wanted to try Rose tea as well, but the room was empty so just shared with a friend.
Overall, this meal brought a lot of surprises indeed especially with all the Amuse Bouche’s and Desserts during dinner time!  

PETITS FOURS -  Edible Chocolate ‘Mandolin’ and Chocolate Truffles
This was 1stly surprising because the 42% cacao edible board was so real!  But 2nd reason? 
Let’s not give out too many clues…  But I was quite surprised.  Even the staff aren’t allowed to tell!

This Seafood Counter looks deceiving…
One could have never imagined the Playful and often Ingenius food that came out from this kitchen.
Highly Recommended for taking your friends or spouse here for anniversaries and celebrations.
Bonus being that on top of beautiful and fun food,   I also found a bonus that food portions here are generous as well.   Unlike some other Starred restaurants in town charging more!

Price:   $900 – $1388 Per Person + 10%.   Plus Wine.   Above meal was shared by 2.
Food:  ♕♕♕♕♕  to  ♕♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sat -   12:00pm - 23:00pm

Address: 中環干諾道中5號香港文華東方酒店
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central
Ph: 2825 4004


  1. 都幾貴喎,同埋好似無咩野食@@~!

  2. 唔貴啦, 凈係嗰幾只 Olive Oil 都要五千蚊呀. 其他嘢好難煮㗎. 你睇多次..

  3. Nicolas Potel the man was forced out of Nicolas Potel the company, and started Roche de Bellene... So he's in the same situation as Franck Muller, Harlan Goldstein...etc

  4. food looks just awaiting my visit!

  5. Peech - thanks for the explanation! I'm getting a little confused with wine right now.

    G. - This place is honestly pretty amazing, and I still have another review to come. But only when I get around to it :D Just too slack over here!!!



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