DIN­NER DATE

The Busi­ness Trav­eller Asia-Pa­cific team test out new culi­nary hotspots and check in with old favourites

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS - Craig Bright

Busi­ness Trav­eller Asia-Pa­cific re­views some of Hong Kong’s premier din­ing es­tab­lish­ments

UMI

The new­est din­ing ven­ture from Le Comp­toir, Umi brings au­then­tic Ja­panese tastes within easy walk­ing dis­tance of the Cen­tral busi­ness district.

Nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als and min­i­mal­ist dé­cor of­fer a Zen­like en­vi­ron­ment, with a spec­tac­u­lar show­piece in the form of a hang­ing orchid tree. A set omasake (chef’s choice) menu is pre­pared live by fourth-gen­er­a­tion sushi mas­ter Yukio Kim­i­jima, with two seat­ings for 10 pa­trons at a time (HK$1,588/US$205 per per­son).

Our four ap­pe­tis­ers com­prised six-month dried rice with lav­ish shav­ings of French truf­fle; sea­sonal hi­rame (Ja­panese hal­ibut) adorned with the vi­brant hanaho flower; Narita-sourced abalone; and grilled Hokkaido scal­lop wrapped in sea­weed with sweet chestnut.

Be­fore the ten sushi cour­ses, a few eti­quette rules were ex­plained:

No cut­lery – each piece of hand­crafted sushi is placed on the bare ta­ble be­fore you.

– to main­tain the op­ti­mum tem­per­a­ture and airy tex­ture the sushi is cre­ated with a looser con­struc­tion, which is eas­ier to eat by hand.

– a com­mon faux pas ap­par­ently. Fol­low­ing au­then­tic tra­di­tion, chef Kim­i­jima adds fresh wasabi and a light brush­ing of soy sauce to each piece be­fore serv­ing.

– fresh, pick­led ginger is on hand to nib­ble be­tween cour­ses.

The sushi pro­ces­sion started with the lighter flavours of say­ori, snap­per and ko­hada fish, through to the more meaty tex­tures of akami tuna and toro. A rich miso soup, a pow­er­fully flavoured sea urchin roll, and a dessert of mochi and matcha Val­rhona choco­late fol­lowed. The menu is avail­able with sake pair­ing.

Au­then­tic Edo­mae sushi pre­sented in a lovely en­vi­ron­ment, Umi is a fan­tas­tic ad­di­tion to the culi­nary scene. Tam­sin Cocks

Open Mon-Sat 6.30pm-8pm and 8.30pm-10.30pm. Shop 3, G/F, 159-163 Hol­ly­wood Road, Hong Kong; tel +852 2956 3177;

YEE TUNG HEEN

Lo­cated on the sec­ond floor of The Ex­cel­sior ho­tel in Cause­way Bay, Yee Tung Heen is a su­perb ex­am­ple of Can­tonese fine din­ing, with a new and in­no­va­tive sen­si­bil­ity to­wards the cui­sine em­bod­ied by ex­ec­u­tive chef Wong Wing Ke­ung.

The dé­cor is dra­matic, with a con­tem­po­rary artis­tic bam­boo pat­tern in red and black lead­ing through to flo­ral-pat­terned par­ti­tions, which cre­ate five separate din­ing rooms and dis­guise the fact that this is a large restau­rant (200 cov­ers). There’s an el­e­gant tea counter at the restau­rant’s en­trance where you can choose from a range of pre­mium tea and be­spoke blends.

The restau­rant has won a lot of awards in re­cent years, in­clud­ing be­ing rec­om­mended in the Miche­lin

Guide Hong Kong & Ma­cau 2015, one of Hong Kong’s Best Restau­rants from 1997 to 2016 by Hong Kong Tatler and one of Hong Kong’s 100 Top Ta­bles by the South China Morn­ing Post.

The à la carte menu is huge – 14 pages – and in­cludes sev­eral dishes, which have their own awards. We tried the twin mush­room plat­ter, which won a Gold with Dis­tinc­tion Award at the Hong Kong Tourism Board 2015 Best of the Best Culi­nary Awards. The two mush­rooms were stuffed, but light in both tex­ture and flavour, and ex­em­pli­fied the sub­tle ap­proach of the chef.

Another high­light was the steamed rice roll with tiger prawn, kale and beet­root dumpling served with prawn oil soy sauce. This well-known restau­rant de­serves a re­turn visit. Great food and ser­vice and some in­no­va­tive cook­ing. Tom Ot­ley

Open Mon-Sat 12pm-2.30pm; Sun­day and public hol­i­days 10.30am-3pm; din­ner served daily from 6pm to 10.30pm. 281 Glouces­ter Road, Cause­way Bay; tel +852 2837 6790;

FLINT GRILL & BAR

Flint Grill & Bar may be housed on Level 5 of the JW Mar­riott, but it’s not your typ­i­cal ho­tel restau­rant. The restau­rant has a lux­u­ri­ous sense of space and up­mar­ket in­dus­trial-chic dé­cor, with hall­mark fea­tures such as ex­posed brick­work and raw pipe work.

In 2016, Flint wel­comed new head chef Pi­eter FitzDreyer, who has re­vamped the menu with ex­cit­ing, mod­ern cre­ations.

Our meal started with op­tions “from the Sea”. First, the Akaroa king salmon with oys­ter, charred cu­cum­ber and white bal­samic (HK$190/US$24): a seafood sen­sa­tion el­e­gantly served in a black, oval dish. Another stand­out was the Ahi tuna (HK$190). Pre­pared at the ta­ble, the con­coc­tion of fresh flavours served with home­made Nori crack­ers was a melt-inthe-mouth mo­ment.

From the daily spe­cials, we en­joyed the lob­ster ravi­oli, deca­dently smoth­ered in a creamy co­conut sauce in­fused with Thai herbs and dec­o­rated with young as­para­gus tips.

The main event was the Linz Her­itage USDA Prime cut, 45-day dry-aged on the bone steak (20oz rib-eye HK$590/US$76). The strong taste of the age­ing process was prom­i­nent, though this may not be for ev­ery­one.

Desserts in­cluded pan­na­cotta with ly­chee gran­ite, black sesame and ed­i­ble rose petals, and a crunchy, tangy ap­ple crum­ble, which my com­pan­ion de­clared the best she’s ever had in Hong Kong.

Flint ticks all the boxes for both in­di­vid­ual busi­ness trav­ellers and lo­cals look­ing for a high-end but in­for­mal set­ting, with an in­ven­tive menu that de­liv­ers in spades. Tam­sin Cocks

Open daily 12pm-2.30pm; 6pm-10.30pm; Bar: 5pm -12am. Level 5, JW Mar­riott Ho­tel Hong Kong, Pa­cific Place, 88 Queensway, Ad­mi­ralty; tel: +852 2810 8366; mar­riott.com

BI­ZOU

Opened in De­cem­ber 2016, Bi­zou of­fers Danish-born chef Mag­nus Hans­son’s fresh in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the clas­sic Amer­i­can brasserie tra­di­tion. The menu is farmto-ta­ble in style, with no GM food­stuffs and or­ganic pro­duce as the rule.

Lo­cated on the ground floor of Pa­cific Place mall in Ad­mi­ralty, Neri & Hu De­sign has cre­ated a cool, com­fort­able area with nat­u­ral wood fin­ishes, dark leather and wood chairs, white tiling on the walls and warm light­ing.

To start, we chose fried camem­bert cheese with cloud­berry pre­serves, fried pars­ley and toasted sour­dough; rich with the per­fect com­bi­na­tion of crusty skin and melt­ing cen­tre. We also sam­pled the grilled oc­to­pus with crispy pota­toes, olives, young cel­ery, mint hum­mus, su­mac, ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and lemon – a fas­ci­nat­ing mix of flavours.

For mains, we tried the slow-braised bone­less short ribs in red wine with potato purée, gailan green veg­eta­bles and fresh horseradish; and the panseared Ice­landic cod fil­let with butter, soft-boiled egg, cau­li­flower purée, sautéed kale and fresh horseradish. The ribs were cooked beau­ti­fully, the meat shred­ding eas­ily and filled with juicy flavour. The fish was also ex­cel­lent, the egg adding a nice soft touch along with the cau­li­flower, while the crispy kale and horseradish were a pi­quant in­jec­tion into the oth­er­wise mild, creamy dish.

A se­lec­tion of six ap­peal­ing desserts in­cluded gooey choco­late cake with lemon-cumquat mar­malade, whipped ri­cotta and fried sage, and lemon yo­ghurt Bundt cake with Greek yo­ghurt, lemon syrup and hon­ey­comb.

The wine list was a rea­son­able size, strong on Ital­ian but with a good global spread, while the highly cre­ative cock­tails menu at the bar comes from cel­e­brated mixol­o­gist Joseph Boroski. (HK$1,500$2,000/US$190-US$250 for a three-course meal for two with wine.)

The at­mos­phere is a nice mix be­tween mod­ern and tra­di­tional, the ser­vice was ex­cel­lent and, most im­por­tantly, the food was con­sis­tently de­li­cious – I was im­pressed. Jeremy Tredin­nick

Open daily 11.30am-10.30pm; Shop 132, L1, Pa­cific Place, 88 Queensway, Ad­mi­ralty; tel: 2871 0775; din­ing­con­cepts.com/ restau­rants/ bi­zou

COBO HOUSE

Cobo House (short for “com­mu­nity of bo­hemi­ans”) is an arty eatery tucked away in the Shek Tong Tsui district. Fo­cus­ing on a farm-to-ta­ble experience, the restau­rant grows its own herbs and plants, while other in­gre­di­ents are pro­cured from lo­cal mar­kets.

The in­side of the restau­rant fea­tures art­work from around the world cu­rated by Adrian Cheng, founder of the K11 Art Foun­da­tion, with the pieces ro­tat­ing every three months.

The menu is brief and to the point. For starters, we chose the “Mush­room” and the “Crab”. The for­mer con­sisted of a king trum­pet mush­room, egg tofu and herb butter, along with more mush­rooms, a pan-fried egg tofu cube and smashed potato. The in­gre­di­ents were fresh with a pleas­ant hint of truf­fle sub­tly up­grad­ing the over­all flavour.

For the mains, we se­lected the pork and the veg­e­tar­ian somen. The slow-cooked pork belly comes with pota­toes and charred spiced pineap­ple giv­ing the dish a slightly pep­pery taste.

A key part of this restau­rant’s appeal is the col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jan­ice Wong, a Sin­ga­pore-based chef known for found­ing 2am:dessert­bar.

The restau­rant’s dessert de­gus­ta­tion menu of­fers three dishes and com­ple­ment­ing bev­er­ages for HK$298 (US$38). We sam­pled the Pop­corn, a com­bi­na­tion of sweet and savoury pop­corn-flavoured par­fait; Ky­oto Gar­den, a flo­ral dish with orange blos­som ice cream in a white-choco­late shell; and Basil White Choco­late, a sharp, fruity dish with pas­sion fruit, white choco­late and basil. Per­haps the most im­pres­sive dessert is its à la carte Cas­sis Plum, a sig­na­ture dish of Wong’s that no­tably made an ap­pear­ance on Mas­ter Chef Aus­tralia 2015.

Main pic­ture: Yee Tung Heen Above from left: Umi chef and din­ing room

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