Special thanks to Richard Ekkebus and Luca Piscazzi for the private tour in the kitchen
Housed in the heart of the CBD of Hong Kong inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Amber ranked as the 38th on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants and 6th on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2015. This is the place that has hosted many world’s most famous celebrity chefs for pop up nights, including Ferran Adrià, the godfather of molecular gastronomy from El Bulli and one of the best chefs of modern times. I was very honoured to be invited to a special lunch at Amber followed by a private kitchen tour.
As I walked through the dimmed corridor from the hotel lift, I see the Wall of Famous, where they exhibit all the world class chefs who has been to the restaurant. I soon reached a high-ceiling not-so-big but definitely spacious dining hall.
The meal started with the greeting from the chef and accompanied by a glass of Champagne (this is such a French touché to start the meal with a glass of fine bubbles), followed by a tea set of mushroom soups.
We went through FOUR amuse-bouches before the actual set menu started. One of the them was served on a pieced of finely carved pineapple shaped pine-wood. Placed on top was the a variation of mushroom croquet and a piece of crispy pumpkin.
The fouth amuse-bouche was Jerusalem artichoke.
My first course started with the wild yellow tail served raw over burrata di bufala, with pickled cherry radish shaved green strawberries, wild fennel & fennel seed cracker was served separately on the side. There was a fine balance between the yellow tail and burrata di bufala, the after taste combined well with a bite of the fennel seed cracker.
As soon as a pearl spoon was placed on my table, I instantly knew caviar was about to be served. This was a surprised dish from the chef and also is the signature dish of the restaurant – Hokkaido Sea Urchin in lobster jell-O with cauliflower and topped with exquisite caviar and gold flakes, served with crispy seaweed waffles. When carefully went through the all three layers of lobster jell-O, sea urchin and the caviar along with crispy seaweed waffles, all the flavours blossomed in my mouth. It was delicate and exceptionally fresh. The Hokkaido sea urchins are flew-in freshly daily from Japan. This was definitely my favourite dish among all.
I was soon surprised by another signatures dish from the chef – Duck Foie Gras with timut pepper terrine served with dekopon & hyuganatsu citrus prepared as a marmalade, jell-O and in segments. The foie gras was so smooth, it almost slide straight across my tongue into the “down-under”.
My main was another signature dish from Amber, carefully picked by the chef. It was the Pigeon ‘au sang’ – a delicate piece of pan roasted pigeon breast on its carcass, leg & cereal ‘cromesqui’ chiogga beetroot cooked & puree. It was perfectly cooked at medium rare and it was tender that minimum amount of chewing was needed.
The second main was cooked at our table. Line caught whiting was wheeled out inside a Le Creuset raw. White wine was poured onto the fish inside the heated cast iron pot and steamed for 3 minutes, timed by a glass-hour. The whiting is then served on a bed of caper leaves, flatbean, leeks, sazae & cockle stew with pink grapefruit.
My moment of happiness came when I saw a whole trolley of French wheeled toward it. I was jumping up and down in the cheese and tried almost every thing offered from the restaurant.
As I thought my special meal was going to conclude there, we were served with more desserts.
Pineapple confit, grilled millefeuille, ‘grand cru’ madagascar vanilla cream, licorice, lime along with yoghurt mousse and exotic fruits.
Milk Chocolate with toasted almond cake log, sesame nougatine with tasted almond ice cream.
Of caused the meal was finally wrapped by a beautiful tower of petit four. The most exciting part was actually started after the meal. We had a private tour in the massive kitchen. It was almost the same size, probably even bigger than the whole dining room.
The restaurant menu changes every season. Yes, I would definitely come back here again and will be looking forward to next set of new dishes.