Amber [Hong Kong]
Amber in the Mandarin Hotels Landmark site deservedly holds 2 Michelin stars. A few months ago I debated with Charles Yu whether HK starred restaurants are as good as their European counterparts: I argued they were not. However, our Sunday lunch yesterday makes me eat my words. Having eaten at Le Cinq and The Ledbury in the last month, both are which are highly regarded two stars, I would say Amber is as good if not a bit better. We really enjoyed the meal.
Lots of choice on the menu, with a couple of set degustation’s and a full ALC, we opt for the Weekend Wine Lunch which delivers four courses with wine pairings for HK$798 (US$100) a head which represents great value.
To start a glass of Verve plus 3 amuse bouches; a light goats cheese mouse with sago pearls and a herb emulsion; a foie gras “chupa chop” lolly; and a croquette which had a liquid ham and cheese center. All were very good and makes a nice change from the ubiquitous pumpkin soup in a shot glass, I haven’t tried the Meat Fruit at Heston’s Dinner but thought the Foie lolly was similar. These were served with a choice of a German Riesling or a Spanish white both of which worked well with the food.
Three starters to choose from and I head for some more foie gras which was good, however my partner chose an eel dish which was a splendid visual treat and tasted as good. Next another choice of three, this time a Jerusalem artichoke and chestnut veloute and a wonderful risotto scattered with truffles (HK$148 supplement). This was served with an excellent Austrian pinot noir (Markowitsch No.8) which was a nicely structured wine.
Another three courses for mains, I opted for the duck which was excellent, my partner choose the lamb which again is very well plated and tasted as good as it looked. This was paired with Verrazzano chianti classic which was good but nothing like the Pinot so we ordered an extra half bottle of the Pinot (HK$390) to go with the cheese. The cheese course is an additional supplement at HK$152 each, the selection of six was chosen for us and each one was in top condition despite the slightly disheveled appearance of the Camembert. A note for our next visit, we should have asked for the trolley because when we checked it out when we left there were choices we may have preferred.
There are alsothree desserts on the menu, which I expected to choose one from, but no you receive all three. The first is a fairly astringent sorbet that wakes up the palette, next some caramelized pineapple with an ice cream, which was good, and then to end a chocolate log. These were served with a decent sauterne. We end with fine coffee and some nice petit fours.
Overall a very good meal in a very comfortable room with reasonable service, but best of all it is superb value, our total bill was HK$2,677 (US$345) which was very reasonable for the excellent food and good wine.
Two slight weaknesses let the restaurant down, first the desserts are not as good as the other dishes, I really think they could di a bit better with these. Second, the service is a little too enthusiastic (common in HK) with glasses and plates cleared before we had both finished. That said small quibbles – we will return.
re: Charles Yu
From the photo I would say that the waiter held the plate in a light angle, so that the pineapple moved to the side.
Also nice to read that PhilD liked the Markowitsch Pinot Noir. The Markowitsch wineries (there are 3, all owners related to another) are just 30 minutes from my home and I have wines from them sometimes in my Restaurant. They produce some really good wine and it is nice to read that they have advanced as far as a HK 2-Star!