Amber | Hong Kong

Rating: ❤❤❤❤❤

Ranked No. 24 on S. Pellegrino's "World's 50 Best Restaurants", Amber is the only restaurant in Hong Kong to be included on the prestigious list. Located in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental with culinary director Richard Ekkebus at the helm, the restaurant serves French classics with modern twists that takes advantage of Hong Kong's unique position at a global crossroads. I couldn't believe that I still haven't been to Amber yet so I had to rectify the situation by making a reservation for lunch. The main dining room was smaller than I'd imagined with warm amber color hues and thousands of bronze rods suspended from the ceiling. The lunch set starts from $548 for 3-courses to $748 for 4 courses. 

We were presented with a trio of amuse bouches first starting with a crab crispy roll which was quite refreshing to eat with its light and acidic flavors. 

The foie gras lollipop was both a delight to look at with its playful presentation and delectable to devour with a fruity raspberry coating. The duck liver pate was rich and smooth which was carefully balanced by the tartness of the outer layer. 

We were instructed to eat the pork croquette in a bite so we dutifully obeyed by tipping the cup of fried goodness into our mouths. Our mouths were filled immediately with a rich and creamy filling which was a tad salty actually. 

Hokkaido Sea Urchin (5/5) - for my starter, I ordered Amber's signature dish of Hokkaido Sea Urchin which required a $248 supplement. The dish looked like a work of art with the caviar carefully shaped on top of sea urchin, lobster jello and cauliflower cream while encased in a ceramic sea urchin shell.  Several pieces of crispy seaweed waffles came with the dish as well with the recommendation to take alternating bites between the two. The dish was simply mind-blowing with its different layers of delicate flavors and textures which all managed to come together perfectly to create this heavenly combo!

Aubergine (5/5) - J's starter looked like it was ready for spring with its bright and colorful appearance! With bell pepper jello, tomato confit, pickled onions, brined lemon, and sorrel, I felt like I was tasting a garden with 10 times the intensity as each ingredient had been carefully selected and flavored. 

Line Caught Pink Seabream (4/5) - the fish was cooked with fragrant spices and paired with orange juice caramelized heirloom carrots. The seabream was cooked perfectly while the sauce was pleasant to taste with a zesty spin to it. The little cubes of orange fruits were a nice surprise to bite into as well. 

Lamb from the Pyrenees (5/5) - braised and pulled, the lamb was prepared crepinette style in a delicate clear casing along with bayaldi vegetables. Served with aubergine, black garlic and tomato, the lamb was succulent and scrumptious while the accompanying sauces enhanced the flavors of the lamb with its intensity!

Before our desserts arrived, this palate cleanser of chocolate dipped coconut ice cream popsicle was brought out for us to enjoy. What's not to like about an ice cream bar?

Crassan Pear (4/5) - I simply adore the beautiful bowl this decadent dessert arrived in! Poached in fragrant spiced Shiraz red wine, the pear was tender and sweet to eat along with the black currant sorbet. 

Lychee (5/5) - this dish was impressive from the start with its gorgeously bright colors! The lychee sorbet was served over strawberry jello with season berries, violets and macaron fragments. I love love love this lychee dessert as the flavors of each ingredient were so rich and intense! A perfect end to a perfect meal.

The lunch set came with a choice of coffee or tea and I chose to have a cup of latte. While obviously not the best cup of latte in Hong Kong, it was still nice to drink after our meal to help with the digestion.  

Last but not least, the petit fours arrived in a elegant 3-layered metallic case with 6 different choices. Sadly they were the most disappointing aspect of our meal as most were overly sweet and coarsely made, but we're willing to overlook this last part in light of the amazingly delicious food we had before this. 

Amber demonstrated care and thoughtfulness they put into their food with its delightfully imaginative flavors and carefully chosen ingredients - and even down to the plates they used to present the food in. While I was initially worried that the meal would take a long time, it turned out that I had nothing to worry about as the service was quick and prompt to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle in Hong Kong. As the chef refreshes the menu every 3 months, you can bet that we will be back again to dine at Amber soon!

7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen's Road Central, Central
2132 0066

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