Thursday, October 17, 2013

Amber - Hong Kong

We had wanted to squeeze in something fun in amongst a super quick and slightly stressful trip to HK. So, ahead of time, we had booked in Amber, a 2 Michelin star restaurant, for lunch. To book this restaurant, we had to lock in a deposit of over HK$500 per person. Normally, this would be non-issue. Unfortunately, in the super early hours of the day we were meant to be going to Amber for lunch, I came down with food poisoning and was spewing left right and centre - leaving me with zero appetite. Hence, the conundrum began... do we not go and loose HK$1000? or do we go anyway despite me not able to eat?

Being ultimate foodies, I put on a brave face and went anyway. Hubby also promised to eat my meal. We were seated promptly at 12.30pm in a beautifully yet simply adorned room. The tables were nicely spaced out so no one got in anyone's way. We ordered a set lunch each and were provided with three seemingly awesome amuse bouches and really well done bread. We both had the french baguette and they were so good! Crispy and warm, yet white and fluffy inside. Awesome~
There was the mini crab salad spring roll, a beetroot and foie gras lollipop, and a cream curry croquette. I believe that all three were deliciousness (according to hubby) and if I didn't think I'll be spending hours over a toilet bowl, I think I would have loved it too. As it stands, I just nibbled on all. The foie gras lollipop was beautifully rich and smooth and full of flavour. The croquette I think was made to eat in one bite, as when you bite on it, a wonderful creamy curry mix flows out. The spring rolls were delicate yet flavoursome.

In terms of our entrees, hubby had the Hokkaido sea urchin. This was a small sea-urchin shaped shell with fresh sea urchin, a lobster jelly, cauliflower mousse, a ton of caviar and gold leaf. This was served with an assortment of seaweed crisps. It looked so delicate and I so wished I wasn't sick as I only managed to eat a small spoon of this. The flavours were wonderful and subtly sweet. The textures so wonderfully smooth and the seaweed crisps? Deliciousness!

The second entree was the cep mushrooms. This was a thin puree film of kabocha (Jap pumpkin) with scattered mushrooms, fresh hazelnuts, bellota ham and bits of lettuce. It was OK. Didn't taste particularly awesome or flavourful. Didn't feel like a waste that I couldn't eat it. Instead, I wanted or rather, NEEDED an iced lemon tea - it was the freaking best iced lemon tea I've had... probably cos that was the only thing my stomach wanted at that time.
The two mains we ordered was the fish and the pork. The Atlantic cod was a pretty hefty piece of fish. It was cooked confit and was absolutely perfect. Unfortunately, it lacked any form of flavour. A bit of salt would be good no? The fish was served on a bed of paimpol coco beans and chorizo... again, slightly devoid of any taste. It came with three black squid ink fish balls which tasted almost nothing of fish balls.
The pork had a bit more flavour. Unfortunately, these cubes of piglet shoulder lacked the crispy skin that it should have offered. It came with sweet potato, cepes (mushies) and tat soi (spinachy things). It was dressed with a rich pork emulsion.

The pre-dessert was pretty much the first thing I really ate. I couldn't resist. It was a tiny magnum looking pop. Coconut sorbet covered with chocolate and nuts. AMAZING. I gobbled it all up.
 This was the start of my appetite as I could also stomach the dessert. It looked amazing and there were the flavours to back it up. The triangular Jivara chocolate cremeux with a rich perfect-looking cocoa glaze was served with coconut sorbet and a white chocolate disk. Really chocolately. Really rich. Creamy, yet with a crispy crunchy bottom. Delicious! I was surprised that I could eat most of this! (and I kept it down~ chocolate really does heal all).
Hubby had the cheese. Whilst the cheese cart offered much yummy delicacies, we left it up to our waiter to decide our selection (we weren't familiar with most of the cheesey names). He gave us a really good selection... some cheese yummier than others. Hubby particularly liked the blue cheese option.
Coffee and tea are complimentary here and so, hubby had a coffee whilst I had another lemon tea to go with our tower of petit fours. There was a fruity caramel lolly, a lemony creme thing, chocolate tart, mini macaron, a coffee profiterole, and an almond biscuit thing. I think it was more the WOW factor. Definitely wowed me. But I guess taste-wise, it was just average.

So all up, it was a decent meal at Amber. The sea urchin and the jivara chocolate dessert was probably the highlight of the meal. Everything else was just average. 2 Star worth? not super sure about that...

Food - 7.5/10
Service - 7.5/10
Ambiance 8.5/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 30/40

Amber Restaurant
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
15 Queens Road Central
Central Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2132 0066