VASCO is the Spanish Fine Dining restaurant on top of the more casual ISONO Eatery & Bar downstairs - both are consulted and looked after by the Barcelona Michelin 2* Lasarte kitchen team and also 3* Martin Berasategui from Basque Country. We arrived here for a friends birthday and it was going to be all out or nothing, let’s order the $1180 Grand Tasting Degustation meal, which comprises of around 10 Courses and other add-ons.
Dried Cecina Beef Grissini, Foie Gras Crispy Sandwich,
Olive with Orange Jam, and Spiced Caramelized Pistachios -
Interesting starters and thoughtful and playful, also very Spanish in a way. Loving the concept already. ~ 8.5/10
5 Colored Butters -
Plain, Mushrooms which was very powerful earthy, Tomato which was also herbal and almost meaty like a Bolognaise ragu. Pistachio which looked greener than it tasted so, and Beetroot which was mostly about sweetness but could have more Beet taste. It’s not as gimmicky as it looks, we finished most of them in no time. ~ 8/10
Sourdough Bread -
As I mentioned previously, Hong Kong has seen an up rise in bread quality during the past 1-2 years and this was no exception, yeasty and aromatic, crispy yet soft. Great bread and memorable. ~ 9/10
Amuse Bouche #2 -
Fish Cheek-Tongue Kokotxa with Parsley Cream and Edible Flowers -
Definitely Basque Cuisine, which is one of the best places on earth to eat Pintxo tapas, and how fine dining in that area evolved from these dishes, both from French and Spanish Basque side.
Sakura Prawn Crisps, with Trout Tartare with Orange, Curd Cucumber & Trout Caviar -
We thought the trout tartare was slightly overly minced and salty, but the shrimp crackers were very aromatic and reminded me of a similar dish at AMBER recently. ~ 7.5/10
Roasted Foie Gras with Hazelnut Salt, Duck Consommé, Citronelle,
Horseradish, Seaweed and some Lemon Grass -
Initially I didn’t like the sound of this recipe as it’s too Asianized, but when I bit in, the duck gras was cooked to perfection and with a crunchy coating, all the flavours were balanced and not over powering each other. Was very surprised I liked this dish so much more than I anticipated. ~ 9/10
Red Palamos prawn, with Sea Urchin, Crustacean Mayonnaise,
Prawn Salt, Seaweed & Samphire seabed -
This was so reminiscent of the dishes I ate in Spain especially closer to the Catalonia to Basque side. This was really lovely – although I have had even more amazing Palamos prawn dishes there to compare with directly, though I am talking about Michelin 3* restaurants in Spain. ~ 8/10
Birthday Girl needed a Quilt due to the Air-con Blasting on full -
They actually have these pre-wrapped. Excellent preparation by the restaurant,
if only they also stopped pushing us to order $95 a bottle Mineral Waters that tasted too Alkaline, or actually know that Cecina is dry cured beef, instead of just saying ‘No’ it is not to me and acting a bit defensive.
Farmhouse Egg Yolk with Potatoes and Mozzarella foam,
Guanciale pork jowl, Basil, Black Truffle -
This was pretty decent but one can’t help to compare it to the NUR Restaurant version. That one has more egg and mushrooms and grains taste. This dish was just ok and the weakest dish tonight for me, it needed more flavours in most aspects. ~ 6/10
Wild Turbot on Onions and Paprika with Clams and Seaweed, Braised Endive, Octopus -
This was cooked well but somehow I thought could do with more. It was good but may be it needed some Shells Present or Grilling flavours? It was a bit flat in the aromatic sensations ~ 7/10
Slow-cooked Iberico Pork Loin with Barley -
This was again a replacement dish due to the Birthday girl not wanting any game meat. Surprisingly the meat tasted almost Salt-Cured like. The meat texture could be softer but for a make-shift solution, this was ok..
French Pigeon, Pigs Ears and Dry Tomato stew, Apple Cream and Foie Gras Toast -
This had a crisp skin and the pigeon cooked to medium-rare accurately and seasoned well. In HK context this was one very fine pigeon, although the versions I had at AKRAME and Caprice are on the same level. The ones I ate in Basque Michelin restaurants are better yet again though and more complicated in recipe, so you can always expect more fanciful ideas perhaps? ~ 8/10
Cardamom and Rice Essence soup, Arbequina olive oil sponge, Frozen cream -
This was surprisingly likable and reminded me of a modern day Riz au Lait. The olive oil sponge was so El Bulli inspired in style. Very strong in the Cardamom input too. Unexpectedly likable, in fact Madam Sixty Ate did a similar dessert before but I liked this one more ~ 9/10
Frozen Coffee with Chocolate Leaf, Apricot Jelly -
This looked pretty enough. It was decent and a nice finish as a dessert. If anything, I expected some sauce for some reason but this was so Autumn.... ~ 8/10
Raspberry Financier, Yuzu Fruit Pates, Choux Puffs -
I was very surprised on the positive side, as these mini desserts were all done excellently and didn’t just carry the presentation. The financiers were caramelized chewy on the edges, the fruit pate had a lot of sourness than foreseeable and helped to cut down on the fullness from the many Courses. Very thoughtfully done. Overall the meal was great value for Money at $1180 for all the Tasting Courses, and with Great Butter and Bread too. Definitely Michelin 1-2* Quality food for the 2015 Guide if you ask my own opinion. Great pick by the birthday friends !
Price: $1180 + Drinks + 10% Per Person
Food: ♕♕♕♕ 1/2 - ♕♕♕♕♕
Address: Vasco, 7/F, Block B, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2156 0888