ince winning our award for Best New Chef l ast year, Agustin Balbi has proven that he didn't just have beginner's luck here i n Hong Kong. The young Argentine chef, who has worked with some of the very best names in the business—among them, Michel Troisgros and Seiji Yamamoto—is set on defining his own way, constantly drafting exciting new dishes for t he Le Comptoir restaurant he has been entrusted with running.
We've been watching Balbi for a while, and we're always in eager anticipation of the new dishes he's been practicing when they eventually appear on the menu at The Ocean—among them a butter-poached turbot hidden underneath a ‘leather' made from black garlic. The dish is positively gothic in its presentation, but is given a burst of sunshine by way of bright golden chanterelles and pearly onions. With a keen eye for colour and balance, his plates are among some of the most beautiful in Hong Kong, if not Asia and the rest of the world—and there are so many extraordinarily plated dishes that we've seen in the last 12 months.