[Hong Kong] The Ocean at The Pulse in Repulse Bay
Since I live on the Southside, I'm always keen to try any new restaurants at The Pulse so I went to check out The Ocean with a group of friends for a birthday celebration over weekend lunch! The Ocean is part of the Le Comptoir restaurants that also brought us Bibo, Hotshot and Tri which are all known for their fantastic interior designs so I wouldn't expect anything less for this venue. My assumptions were confirmed once I stepped into restaurant which made me feel like I was riding the waves with its gorgeous 50 shades of blue, bright sunlight from the vast floor to ceiling windows and curving walls.
The seating was mostly round sofa booths which faces the windows with beautiful views of the beach.
The tableware, cushions and blanket throws used were exquisitely fine which turned out to be Hermes (ooh la la).
The entire restaurant was super long and, after walking past two private rooms sharing a marine reef aquarium, I reached The UMI Bar which offers omakase sushi. Beyond the bar was the third private room which was basically surrounded by a huge jellyfish aquarium! It was definitely 5 stars for aesthetics and decor but how did the food fare?
For lunch, the restaurant offered a 3-course lunch menu for $488 where we can choose our own dishes under each category: first waves, great reef and coastal view which just code names for starters, mains and dessert with 4 options each to choose from. You can also add $588-$1,288 for free flow champagne to enhance your lunch experience from 12:30pm-3:30pm daily which wouldn't be a bad way to spend your afternoon actually, but we all behaved and drank non-alcoholic drinks.
Our amuse bouche were beautifully presented on coral and seashells and we were instructed to start with the lobster tartare that was wrapped in daikon on the seashell. Next up was the truffle puff pastry in the wooden box where had a rich creamy filling. The last series on the coral were the cousa with potato, leak and coriander, the beetroot and carrot spicy tart, and deep fried rice with cheese. Not a bad start but I wasn't sure all the bites packed the flavors they were supposed to deliver.
For the appetizers, J chose the slow cooked salmon with avocado, caviar, fennel seeds, creme fraiche, lemon and capers which was light and well-balanced in flavor.
I chose the recommended pan-roasted langoustine with traditional potato gnocchi, maitake mushrooms and ocean broth. The langoustine was nicely cooked but it could have been more rare while the gnocchi was too soft and could have been more chewy as well. The overall flavors were very safe and not offensive but also not memorable either.
The artic char en croute with broccoli, celery and micro green salad was possibly the best dish of the meal! It was like a fish version of a beef wellington as the fish was placed inside a crispy pastry crust which was very well-executed in both flavors and textures.
The recommended charcoal grilled sea bass with quinoa collection, pear onion carnival and salsify textures was less impressive though as the fish was slightly overcooked.
Moving onto desserts, the impressive plating continued with this chestnut textures with celery gelee, cassis sorbet and yogurt snow.
The recommended passion fruit with champagne granite, coconut foam and crispy meringue was definitely my favorite of all the desserts as it was light with sweet and tangy flavors that was nicely complimented with a variety of textures.
The peanut parfait with spiced bread toast, milk meringue and infused red apple looked and sounded amazing but somehow just fell flat on execution. I was looking forward to the spiced bread toast but couldn't taste it while the peanut flavor needed to be counter-balanced as the flavors were quite one-dimensional here.
Service was awesome though and after I told them that it was our friend's birthday that day, they offered to do something special for him with a very delicious cream and berries puff pastry cake!
Our petit fours were then wheeled to our table on a cart as the finale of our meal.
We got a bit of everything to try which was placed in an elegant red and golden box for us.
The cannele, lemon meringue tart and mixed berries tart were lovely to eat and a nice ending to our meal.
Verdict - I was definitely more impressed with the look and feel of everything here than the flavors of the food which wasn't bad but just not particularly impressive or memorable except for a few dishes. The flavors were very safe in general so they weren't offensive but I think they could have been bolder as well for the price I was paying. The dining experience on the whole was very exceptional though especially with the enchanting decor and attentive service, so I wouldn't mind coming here again to sip unlimited champagne on the weekends while curling up on the sofa booth with a Hermes blanket!
Shop 303-304, 3/F, The Pulse,
28 Beach Road, Repulse BayTel: +852 2889 5939
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