Amber

My first blog post ought to be my favourite restaurant in Hong Kong and so, here it is… Amber! I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Amber now, but each time, it made me want to go back again!

Menu . Bread . Wine Parings
This meal was the 6-course Weekend Wine Lunch Menu and basically consists of choosing a selection of one starter, one middle course and one main course as well as three tasting desserts. Along with the unlimited refill bread, three amuse bouches, coffee, petits fours and the four wine parings you will certainly be left filled and satisfied. If this is still not enough, you also have the option to try a selection of french farmer cheeses. Note that if you don’t like wine, you can change this to a juice paring or forgo it all together.

Amber . Menu

We were given a selection of four different breads to choose from (olive bread, crispy bread, whole-wheat roll and french baguette). Having tried them all before, I went straight for my favourite olive bread which tastes great even without butter due to my love of olives. The attentive staff will more than likely ask if you would like additional bread throughout your meal.

Olive Bread

If you chose the wine paring, for the summer season menu, you would be paired:
Amuse Bouches – rose sparkling wine
Starters – 2009 riesling . plantagenet, mount baker, australia
Middle Courses – 2008 chardonnay . wirra wirra ‘the 12th man’ adelaide hills, australia
Main Courses – 2008 shiraz and grenache . glaetzer ‘bishop’, barossa valley, australia

AMUSE BOUCHES
Foie Gras, Raspberry and Beetroot Lollipops . Pork Croquette with Kimchi Mustard . Tomato, Jello, Cheese
I always look forward to trying out the amuse bouches at Amber, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed that I had tried two of them before. Admittedly, they are excellent, but I do like to try new things. The new amuse bouche was a layered tomato on jello on a soft cheese. Although new, I personally did not think it matched up to the other two. But the cheese was excellent and did go well with the tomato.

The foie gras, raspberry and beetroot lollipop is a personal favourite of mine. As expected, the foie gras goes extremely well with the raspberry and beetroot and it is just a joy to taste.

I also enjoyed the pork croquette with kimchi mustard despite having tried it before. I know many others have commented that it is not that good, but personally I liked the explosion that happens in your mouth as you bite into the croquette. If I could, I would have named it ‘tonkatsu explosion’ since it reminded me of good tonkatsu as I bit into it.

Foie Gras, Raspberry and Beetroot Lollipops . Pork Croquette with Kimchi Mustard . Tomato, Jello, Cheese

STARTERS
Organic Aubergine – caviar layered with fresh goat cheese, bell pepper, micro basil and manni olive oil tossed toasted bread
I tasted a bite of this only as it wasn’t my dish, and it was ok. While it was a very colourful dish and its presentation was exquisite, there wasn’t anything too special about the taste that stuck out.

Organic Aubergine – caviar layered with fresh goat cheese, bell pepper, micro basil and manni olive oil tossed toasted bread

‘Maatjes’ Herring – served with new potatoes, beetroot, pickled pearl onions and crispy rye bread
I highly recommend this herring dish especially if you like fish. It has a slight fishy taste, but it completely went well with the potatoes, beetroot, onions and crispy bread. Yes, the dish looks a bit small, but the presentation is nice and believe me that it tastes excellent especially the herring and beetroots. Definitely wanted to try more and would order this again off the menu in a heartbeat.

‘Maatjes’ Herring – served with new potatoes, beetroot, pickled pearl onions and crispy rye bread

MIDDLE COURSES
Line Caught Pollock – oven roasted, spring vegetables and garden herbs prepared like a minestrone
The fish was perfectly cooked and the minestrone like base wasn’t bad, but if compared to the other two choices, then I would have to go with the others.

Line Caught Pollock - oven roasted, spring vegetables and garden herbs prepared like a minestrone

Tasmanian Winter Truffles – carnaroli rice and parmesan regiano prepared as a risotto ‘mantecato’
This risotto was an extra $148 on top of the original price of the set, but is well worth it if you enjoy a perfectly cooked but very rich, cheesy and creamy risotto.

Tasmanian Winter Truffles - carnaroli rice and parmesan regiano prepared as a risotto 'mantecato'

Green Garden Pea – veloute with organic egg and morel, ‘tartine’ of lardo and matured belotta ham
I remember that Bourdain once said on Top Chef, if you put a runny egg on anything, it will taste good. I absolutely agree with this assessment and this egg in green pea veloute was no exception. First trying the soup without breaking the yolk, it was fresh and tasty. Remember though that I don’t like eating peas! Then once I broke the yolk and lightly stirred it in, the veloute just became perfect. So good!! The ham… well this was just something extra to go with the soup.

Green Garden Pea - veloute with organic egg and morel, 'tartine' of lardo and matured belotta ham

MAIN COURSES
Challans Corn-fed Chicken – breast steamed with crispy chicken skin crusted langoustine, green asparagus, fava beans and morel mushrooms
This chicken was perfectly cooked and completely tender. Actually, I did not think that chicken could be cooked so soft. The langoustine was nothing special, but I would order this just for the chicken.

Challans Corn-fed Chicken – breast steamed with crispy chicken skin crusted langoustine, green asparagus, fava beans and morel mushrooms

Tasmanian Salmon – cooked on the skin, white asparagus and ham parsley sabayon topped with new potatoes
The salmon was presented nicely and cooked well. But perhaps I eat too much salmon normally and this means that to me, as a fish, salmon is too plain and it would have to be a super special dish for me to recommend it.

Tasmanian Salmon – cooked on the skin, white asparagus and ham parsley sabayon topped with new potatoes

Beef Oxtail – braised in red wine, with foie gras in fresh pasta, yoghurt, mango dice and cevennes onions emulsion
I had high hopes for the oxtail dish as I LOVE oxtail, but was honestly disappointed that the oxtail was quite tough. Everything else that supported the dish; the pasta, foie gras, yoghurt, mango etc… was excellent, but the main ingredient was a bit of a let down.

Beef Oxtail – braised in red wine, with foie gras in fresh pasta, yoghurt, mango dice and cevennes onions emulsion

TASTING DESSERTS
Malaga Strawberries – with fragrant green tea ice-cream and coconut milk panna cotta
The wonderful fresh sweet strawberries went well with the green tea ice-cream and panna cotta. I don’t see how you can really go wrong here.

Malaga Strawberries – with fragrant green tea ice-cream and coconut milk panna cotta

Pineapple – marinated with bourbon vanilla infused manni olive oil with a hint of sweet basil, rose petal and pink grapefruit sorbet
This dessert was pretty good but just not as good as the other two. Perhaps its just that sorbet will never quite match up to ice-cream.

Pineapple – marinated with bourbon vanilla infused manni olive oil with a hint of sweet basil, rose petal and pink grapefruit sorbet

Gianduja Chocolate – and hazelnut praline ‘marquise’ with gianduja sorbet
This chocolate dessert though was just amazing. I am not particularly fond of chocolate but this was different. The texture of the cake is just the way I like it with a surprising crunch mixed in. All the chocolate bits and pieces on the plate just fit together like a puzzle. Yummmm!

Gianduja Chocolate – and hazelnut praline ‘marquise’ with gianduja sorbet

Coffee . Petits Fours
As you would expect, great coffee and the petits fours were interesting. I particularly enjoyed the round yellow lemon tart like one and the macaroon.

Petits Fours

Overall, this is still my favourite restaurant in Hong Kong. The atmosphere is relaxing and the food is excellent. It goes without saying that this is definitely worth a revisit.

Recommended:

  • Foie Gras, Raspberry and Beetroot Lollipops
  • Pork Croquette with Kimchi Mustard
  • ‘Maatjes’ Herring – served with new potatoes, beetroot, pickled pearl onions and crispy rye bread
  • Green Garden Pea – veloute with organic egg and morel, ‘tartine’ of lardo and matured belotta ham
  • Challans Corn-fed Chicken – breast steamed with crispy chicken skin crusted langoustine, green asparagus, fava beans and morel mushrooms
  • Malaga Strawberries – with fragrant green tea ice-cream and coconut milk panna cotta
  • Gianduja Chocolate – and hazelnut praline ‘marquise’ with gianduja sorbet

__________
Amber
7/F, 15 Queens Road Central, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Central, Hong Kong
2132 0066

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