Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Amber - ♕♕♕♕

The Kitchen is headed by Amber's honcho Richard Ekkebus.  AMBER was first awarded 2 Michelin Stars in the inaugural edition of the HK Guide in 2009, retaining the 2 Stars in the 2010 Guide.  Haute Cuisine of Contemporary French with classy imported ingredients from all over the world,  especially from France directly... They even have an in-house Chocolate Sommelier - which explains why they can make sumptious Chocolate desserts as well as world class Petits Fours.   This is the first of 3 meals eaten here as of today, the subsequent ones were better as it improved... and they shall receive Score Upgrades soon!

Lagniappe:  Foie Gras with Raspberry Coating and Crisp,
Lobster Consomme Jelly with Sea Urchin & Cauliflower Cream, 
Iberian Pork Croquette with Basque Spice
Amber always starts off with similar Amuse Bouches..

Matching Wines included in $640 HKD
4 types in total..

French Fine de Claire Oyster & Leek Parcels with Iberian Pork, Snout to Tail & Watercress in warm Vichyssoise Veloute.  A refreshing start and innovative with wrapped Oysters..
Challans Duck & Corn of 3 Ways Preparation:
Traditional Duck Pate with Yogurty 'Ravioli', Consomme with Duck Ravioli,
Corn Salad with Gizzard Delicacies
Great concept but tasted slightly bland.. 7/10
Fattened Blue-Fin Tuna centre cut, poached in Olive oil with stuffed Baby Calamari, Taggiasca Olive, Leek & Preserved Bell Peppers
Tuna a bit tough stringy, Calamari tasty.. 6/10
Line-caught Cod - Dorsal fillet “demi sel” salt roasted on the Skin,
Belly served as a Brandade, Cuttle fish & Zucchini skin Tagliatelle
Hand pounded condimentCod slightly over-cooked but sauce was enjoyable,
slightly lemony.. 7/10
Amber's Pre-dessert: Oreo Ice-Cream Sandwich
Refreshing but prefer the real thing more..
Camembert de Normandie, Reblochon, Livarot,Bleu D'auvergne
from French Cheese Master:  Bernard Antony
A little strong across the board rather than gradual.. but great.

Salad with Cheese Course: Shaved Yellow Beetroot, Mesclun Salad
Very good salad.. 9/10
Pineapple marinated with fruity Italian Manni Olive Oil: with hint of Bourbon Vanilla & Sweet Basil,Pink Grapefruit & Rose Petal Sorbet
Nearly perfect but needs more flavour, very enjoyable.. 9/10

Espresso ice-cream with Whiskey cream, Caramelized salted puff pastry & Dolce de Leche. Looks better than it tasted.. but still enjoyable -  8/10
Jivara Milk Chocolate & Manuka Honey Runny Square, Milk Chocolate & Yuzu Ice Cream. This was slightly 'minty' like and very enjoyable, with runny centre.. 10/10

Italian ‘Blended’ Cappucino
Could have been better, lather foamy and under-extracted ashy..
Petits Fours: Orange Gum Candy, Chocolate, Pistachios Sponge, Rose Petal Strawberry Marshmallow, Mini Chocolate Tart with Manuka Honey.  These tasted perfect, confirmed to be made in-house... Lovely!   8.5/10
Price: $640 + 10% including 4 Wines
Score: ★★★★☆☆
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

牛陣 - 90 Minutes All You Can Eat Shabu Shabu - ♕♕♕

Gyujin is an All You Can Eat Shabu-Shabu Restaurant, operated by a Japanese Tajima Group (但馬屋), a Japanese importer of fine Beef from Japan as well as Overseas. It has Wholesale Outlets mainly in Jusco, Great and Yata's (一田) supermarkets, which is a very dependable butcher if you opt to cook at home.
Below is a review of 2 Singular Visits - once eating the Top Kobe Beef $450 Course, another eating their 2nd cheapest $180 non-Wagyu beef Course. They also have a few courses in between.  The more expensive course was much better in comparison ~ therefore the score's been averaged.

Authentic Japanese Kobe Beef Promotion for $450
Is it trustworthy and worth the money?
Food Counter with Noodles, Veggies, Seafood, Sauces, Dessert

Japanese Imported Egg
1 Free, additional charge at $10 - 8/10

Unlimited Refill - Sesame Sauce
Pretty good and not too vinegary-sour or diluted, but could do with more sesame taste.  6.5/10

Kobe Tajima Beef #1
1st Plate of Top Wagyu beef from Kobe. Cut from the back-loin area..

Very Well Marbled Wagyu -
But sliced way too thin, need to stack before cooking them.

Pork Loin and Belly -

Sukiyaki Broth for Shabu Shabu
Too sweet and one dimensional, could have been better with 2 divided broths..!  4.5/10

Kobe Tajima Beef #3 -
Best one for the night of 4 Plates we ate... 9.5/10

***************** 2nd VISIT *****************

Lots of Veggies, including Japanese Shungiku

Seafood Options include Fish, Scallops,
also more Veggies like Mushrooms, Taro -

No Wagyu Beef this time, just plain 2nd Grade Beef -

Beef Plate #2 -

Pork Loin and Belly -

Haagen Daz Ice Cream Unlimited -
My best beloved!  ... but couldn't eat more.  Damn! 

Haagen Daz Strawberry Ice Cream -

Price:   $450 + 10% for Top Kobe Wagyu Beef 90 Minutes, All You Can Eat
             $180 + 10% for 2nd Non Wagyu Course

Score:  ★★★
*Meat sliced too thinly, Lesser Courses not Worthwhile..
Opening Hours:  Mon to Sun  11:00 - 00:00
Address: 尖沙咀彌敦道63號國際廣場(iSquare) 7樓 706號舖
(Shop 706, 7/F, iSquare, 63 Nathan Road,, Tsim Sha Tsui)
Ph: 2311 1092
Original Review:

Pierre - ♕♕♕♕♕

Michelin 2 Stars

The Hong Kong branch of the famous Pierre Gagnaire’s Avant Garde style French restaurant, the whole set up here is as close as it gets to the real deal. Using mostly fresh Imported French products from butter to food ingredients to their Bernard Antony cheese, the basic structuring reminds you of a true French Haute Cuisine restaurant and has resemblance to the locally 3 Star Caprice in comparison.

Inside Pierre of Hong Kong

Bread Basket with French Bretagne Butter
Onion Sourdough, Mini Baguette, Onion Bread.. 8/10

Bread Crisps, Melba, Parmesan Cheese Shortbread & Croquants, Puy Lentils with Blue Cheese Spread, Pierre's Signature Bread Dip I actually won't mind if these were slightly more like Amuse Bouche.. 7/10

2 x French Red Wines At 175ml,
these are slightly larger than the norm.
Sommelier splits them into 2 glasses for us.. nice touch

Spinach Salad -
Smoked Duck Roll with Black Rice, Apple on Crisp Biscotti
Pretty good starter salad and loved the overall composition.. 9/10


Bouillaisse Jelly -
with Soubrossade Ice Cream, accompanying potatoes and
French sausage bits, Bouillaisse jelly fairly strong..

Nicoise Toast as Side With Parmesan, Crisp Bacon,
Romaine Lettuce and Anchovies - 7/10

Pan-Fried Duck Foie Gras -
Cherry, Lin Chi Enoki or more Shimeji Mushrooms and Celery.
A little misleading with the lin-chi namesake,
Foie was grilled to perfection and sauce was lovely.. 7/10

Toast as Side With Dehydrated Mushroom & Black Summer Truffle -

French Farm Chicken Fricassee -
With Grenaille Potato, Crispy White Onion and Salad.
Nice and refreshing, but not an expected dish at a Michelin restaurant...
but very PIERRE ! 8/10

Iberico Pork Tenderloin -
with Steamed Chinese Fan Gou, a little porky in taste here,
the 'dumplings' were slightly over-steamed..
Sauce was very well balanced and sophisticated - 7/10

Caramelized Tomato with Spinach works well with the above pork dish as it cuts away some grease.. 7/10
'Affineur' Bernard Antony, 3 Types of Cheeses - St Nectaire, Fromage de Brebis,Fourme D'Ambert, Served with Mango Chutney, Glazed Sultana, Salted Caramel Almonds, Dried Prunes & Toast - 9.5/10

' Nelson ' - Vanilla Milk Jelly, Lemon Wurtz,
Malabar Ice Cream & Strawberry Marshmallow
A very Innovative and gorgeous tasting dessert, the lemon wurtz balanced out the milk jelly, the quenelle of bubble gum flavoured ice-cream together with the marshmallows just worked wonders as a package! Addictive. 10/10

Italian Espresso Pretty good for once,
unlike other Michelin restaurants using the same blending.. 7/10

Price: $390 @ 3 Courses, additional Course $80 each.
            Wine @ $160 a glass + 10%


Opening Hours:
Mon to Fri 12:00 - 00:00
Sat 19:00 - 00:00
Sun Closed

Address: 中環干諾道中5號香港文華東方酒店25樓
(25/F, Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, 5 Connaught Road Central, Central)
Ph: 2825 4001


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