Friday, February 8, 2013

Amber & Afternoon Tea - (Hong Kong)

Michelin 2 Stars

Consecutively being featured in the Pellegrino’s Top 50 Restaurants in the world,  AMBER this year slotted in comfortably at no. 44.    This makes them the most highly placed restaurant in Hong Kong and Macau region despite not having a 3 stars rating!    I partially agree with this assessment as Richard Ekkbus’s food is so sensible and well executed.   On the other hand I always encountered 2 or 3 obvious weaknesses here:   the appetizers have not changed much over the years,  and their desserts and mignardises have also experienced peaks and troughs.  Having been to some immaculate restaurants in the world over the past few years,  I came back to re-explore AMBER’S dessert menu as that is precisely where I thought it’s weakness would lie.   Let’s see if it can re-ignite my passion for dessert in Hong Kong !



Iberico Croquettes with Piccalilli Pickles -  $98
These are the signature Amuse Bouches here.  Today’s version was quite pickled sour and the promised Nose to Tail pigs usage seemed a little weak.   At least it was bursting in your mouth!  ~  7.5/10


Da Hong Pao ‘Oolong’ Tea from Fujian -  $88
This seemed a little too uninteresting for a Da Hong Pao Oolong!   The 2nd flush was better after more steeping time,  but it carried none of that sudden retrieval moment when an Oolong makes a U-Turn and surprises u in a fruity and tannic composure.  This came with some Gingery,  Matcha and Coffee cookies.   ~  6.5/10




Caramelized Apple Tarte Tatin – $48
While the base pastry was well browned and crisp,  so appreciated!!  Yum.  But the baked apple on top was not too caramelized and came at refrigerated temperature.   Taboo for a Tarte Tatin even for a modern interpretation.  The green apple slices on top were adorned with lemon zest,  which was appreciated.   Overall this was quite decent but ultimately,   the apples sort of let it down and it was not spiced in taste either.  ~  6.9/10



Tonka Bean Crème Brulee,  Valrhona Nyangbo 68% Chocolate Cremeux, 
with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream,  Roasted Pistachios -  $160
The Tonka Bean flavour was kind of subtle and missing,  compared to the other ingredients of the same dessert.  Tonka flavoured desserts in my experience should carry a taste of both vanilla-like yet caramel sweetness and a distinct fresh sap wood aroma.  Not here though.   The Chocolate cremeux layer was quite mousse like.  Overall this was great especially with that croustillant crispy layer,  yet you somehow will wish for more of that illegal to sell in the US,  unique Tonka Beans taste.    I remember I have had better before especially in Holland.  But then they also make weed ice cream over there Smile with tongue out  ~  7/10


85% Valrhona Abinao Dark Chocolate Souffle, 
with Cacao Ice Cream,  Crisp & Soil – $160
The soufflé climbed well along the side wall,  but ultimately the sprinkling of sugars along the side ended up being grainy sugary bits when biting in!  The chocolate taste was not so apparent and the texture was somehow reminding me of a floating island than a cloud like souffle.  The best part of this dessert was the cacao ice cream,  which they called a sorbet which is usually fruit based.   ~  7/10


Ease of Access:  4/5
Food:  ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Opening Hours:
Mon to Sun:   06:30am - 22:30pm

Address: 中環皇后大道中15號置地文華東方酒店7樓
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen's Road, Central
Ph: 2132 0066

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