GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER?
For its first Stellar Dining Series, The Ritz-carlton gathered its constellation of Michelin stars across four Asian destinations for one epicurean extravaganza to remember. Mary Lim reports from Hong Kong
vincent van Gogh once gushed: “For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.” And what heights The Ritz‑carlton reached with its first Stellar Dining Series, which celebrated the group’s tradition and talents in culinary artisanship and innovation.
The gastronomic festival spanned four destinations in Asia, kicking off in Singapore before making its way to Osaka, Hong Kong and Beijing. Each leg lasted three or four days, and featured collaborative menus dreamed up by Michelin‑starred chefs and bartenders from the group’s hotels across the region.
On November 22, gourmands descended upon the third stop: The Ritz‑carlton, Hong Kong, which took the Stellar Dining Series more than several notches up – literally. Occupying levels 102 through 118 of the 484m‑tall International Commerce Centre ( icc) in Kowloon, it is the highest hotel in the world, with all 312 of its guest rooms offering amazing views of the city and harbour.
TWO HANDS ARE GOOD, BUT FOUR ARE BETTER
It was at Tin Lung Heen, the hotel’s two‑michelin‑starred Chinese restaurant, that the 4 Hands Dinner with chefs Paul Lau and Shintaro Miyazaki, of Tin Lung Heen and Azure 45 in The Ritz‑carlton, Tokyo respectively, was served. The six‑course menu, featuring signatures from
both, presented the best of Cantonese and French cuisines.
Kicking things off was a double bill of tuna carpaccio by chef Lau and steamed pigeon egg with fresh truffle by chef Miyazaki. Clean and elegant, they were a match made in gourmet heaven. Chef Lau’s triple tantaliser of barbecued pork with osmanthus flower honey, fresh abalone simmered with sea salt, and deep-fried scallop with sesame sauce followed. Everyone at the table polished off the last bite while marvelling at the ingenious balance and juxtaposition of rugged textures and refreshing flavours.
If first impressions lasted, they didn’t do so for long, as every course henceforth presented familiar favourites that delighted the palate. Chef Lau sent out his hearty double-boiled chicken soup with fish maw, served in a baby coconut husk, and garoupa fillet with bird’s nest simmered in lobster bisque, both of which are must-eats for fans of Tin Lung Heen.
Chef Miyazaki, meanwhile, redefined succulence with delicate flair. His next two dishes, steamed blue lobster with pear, tonka bean and finger lime, and Japanese Wagyu beef fillet with eggplant and date vinegar, kept us busy. We required the least persuasion to give the Wagyu a go – it was so soft, it melted quickly in the mouth. That was easy!
By the time his lovely dessert – mascarpone mousse with coffee and passion fruit – made its appearance, it was past 10pm, but everyone was determined to stay put. Light on the lips, it glided down smoothly. “I’m so full, but this is yummy!” the lady opposite me squealed. I shot her a look
– not because I thought her behaviour unbecoming at a formal dinner, but because I was trying to suppress a burp. Yes, darling, me too, I tried to say with my eyes.
The Ritz-carlton, Hong Kong is also home to the world’s highest hotel bar, Ozone, which occupies level 118 of the
icc. And it was there we adjourned to for Autumn Sips, where Oscar Mena, the Mexican master mixologist helming Ozone, joined forces with Kentaro Wada, the awardwinning Head Bartender at The Ritz-carlton, Tokyo, to present to us a quintet of exclusive cocktails led by Fly Me To Hong Kong (tequila, Mandarine Napoleon, mikan, carrot and yuzu juice, and orange bitters) and Ritzologie (junmai ginjo sake, Chita whisky, coconut syrup and shiso).
Adding a dash of artistry to the Hong Kong leg was Masatada Hosokawa, the chocolatier from The Ritz-carlton, Osaka. At the Chocolate Afternoon Tea at The Lounge & Bar, he patiently demonstrated how to create his wondrous “zero-gravity” sweets. But while we oohed and aahed at his craft, nothing left us more exhilarated than nibbling at those very-pretty dark squares. Let’s hope the 10 people who attended his Chocolate Masterclass fared better.
Blue Lobster Roasted, Spicy Sauce, Turnip Abalone Baked In Its Broth, White Wine Cream With LiverLeft: Chef Shintaro Miyazaki and his team at work for The Ritz-carlton’s Stellar Dining Series.
“Zero- gravity” chocolate