Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Admittedly, I frequent a lot of nice restaurants on my travels, but when I'm back in Hong Kong, I almost always crave hearty, home comforts. That's why it's a bit rare for me to indulge in such lavish brunches here like the one at the highly esteemed Amber restaurant in Mandarin Oriental, the only Hong Kong restaurant to rank in the latest World's 50 Best 2017 list. Also #3 on Asia's 50 Best 2017 -- a list which I put full stock in after my genuinely mind-blowing experiences at Suhring (#13) and Gaggan (#1) in Bangkok (write-ups coming soon for these two!). Anyway, I thought it was about time I checked out what the hype was all about on my home turf for a change, and the first place that came to mind was Amber with its award-winning Executive Chef Richard Ekkebus. Rose (@fatasslovesfood) and I decided to try out the Weekend Wine Lunch Menu, which includes a wine/mocktail paired 6-course menu and goes for HK$998+10% per head.
Since I didn't want 4 different wine pairings, the charming hosts kindly allowed me to mix & match my drinks. So I decided to receive the amuse-bouche champagne, mocktails for the starter & middle courses, and red wine to pair with my Miyazaki Wagyu Beef main course. Read below for the full experience:
The entire width of our table was filled with four different kinds of beautifully-presented bite-sized Amuse Bouche. Clockwise from top left: "Salt", a taste of the sea with frozen distilled sea water pearl with oyster leaf, sea grapes & seaweed dust; "Bitter" Guinness beer with onions, salted peanut & crispy cereals (fave); "Sweet" Green Garden Pea with Mint & Concentrated Hokkaido Milk Foam, and "Sour" Lemon & Lemon over a red rice cracker.
For the "Starter", I chose the Amberjack served raw over creamed cheese stracciatella, with pickled cherry radish, shaved green strawberries, wild fennel & fennel seed cracker. By itself, the stracciatella is intensely creamy & heavy with the delicate raw fish, but so delicious when slathered over the crunchy fennel seed cracker like a paste.
For the Middle Course, I opted for the delicious, seasonal and simple Asparagus. If ever there was a restaurant that could elevate a simple asparagus, it would be Amber, right? Right.
I was pretty excited about the main course, Chef Ekkebus' famous Miyazaki Wagyu Beef (+HK$260), striploin with dulse seaweed, red cabbage slaw with horseradish & pepper berry emulsion. This was nicely paired with the elegant Yann Chave Crozes Hermitage Le Rouvre 2013. You can taste the luxurious quality of the fat and the beef just melted in my mouth as I chewed. Loved the perfect, smoky sear too. I'm glad I decided not to have it at the Taste of Hong Kong event, because I wanted to try it in the restaurant for the first time!
How come people don't talk more about Amber's amazing desserts?! I'm not that big on desserts, usually, but damn these were amazing and we were pleasantly surprised! The one on the right, ‘Crème fraîche crue fermière’ vacherin with naturally sweet strawberries and meringue was my favourite. Accompanied by lemon basil, shiraz & strawberry sorbet on top. The one on the left, is a deconstructed chocolate ganache with "fisherman's friend" dust peppermint & white chocolate sorbet.
The concluding Petit Four felt like another dessert course in itself, and was filled with seasonal delights like Japanese mikan and the citrus sorbet. Very satisfying ending, but we were too full to finish it all!
Total: HK$2903 for 2 weekend wine lunches, +$260 for Rose's langoustine appetiser course, +HK$260 for my wagyu beef main course, 2 coffees + service charge.
Weekend Wine Lunch @ Amber Details:
Available on Sat, Sun & Public Holidays only from 12pm (last order @ 2pm)
Address: 7/f LANDMARK, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central
Tel: 2132 0066