[Hong Kong] Ecriture - When You Need to Prepay for Lunch
Rating: ❤❤❤3/4 (3.75/5)
I was meeting up with a friend for lunch and decided to make a reservation at Ecriture - the newest French restaurant from the Le Comptoir Group with Chef Maxime Gilbert (formerly of Amber) at the helm. Located on the top floor in the new H Queen's which is also home to Arbor and the soon-to-open Ichu Peru by Virgilio Martinez, the restaurant's decor is minimalistic like an artist's blank canvas with subtle luxurious touches. Lunch starts from 3 courses (HK$488) whereas dinner is a 7-course affair ($1488). To deter last minute cancellations and no-shows, Ecriture only accepts online reservations with prepayment of the whole meal. Yes that's right - you need to prepay for the entire meal and it's not refundable for changes or cancellations within 7 days of the reservation date. Look I get that no-shows can be a challenge for restaurants in Hong Kong but requiring full payment even for lunch is a bit stringent. A deposit or credit card guarantee are perfectly acceptable - heck even Suhi Saito in HK only requires 50% deposit and they have a much stronger brand allure. Also 7 days seem a bit long when most restaurants only require confirmation 48 hours in advance. Unfortunately for Ecriture, they have a direct competitor right beneath offering similar cuisine and price point but without the reservation hassle, so I'm not sure if people would be willing to put up with this after the opening hype is over.
For the 3-course lunch menu, 2 choices were available for each of the starter, main and dessert, so we decided to get one of each to try everything. After we placed our order, a few tasty amuse bouches and sourdough bread were brought over to the table to kick start the meal. The pumpkin oreo was the best of the three snacks.
We got to choose our own knife which was customized and especially designed for the restaurant.
The starter Amaebi with bonito jelly and pickled onions was probably the strongest and best dish of the entire meal. The flavors were well-balanced and the crispy beetroot on top was an especially nice touch.
The lighter flavors of the Green Asparagus paled in comparison to the Amaebi though.
The John Dory was also cooked perfectly but I couldn't help but think that the entire dish came across a bit bland.
The desserts came next and they were weaker compared to the earlier portion of the meal. We also didn't finish either of the dessert.
The Citrus was refreshing but also nothing extraordinary.
The Cacao was actually pretty bold with a combination of peanut ice cream, spicy cacao custard and alfonsino mango chutney. It was also one of those dishes where it sort of works but also sort of doesn't.
The petit fours were actually much better than the actual desserts of the meal. The first was a deliciously crunchy kouign-amann with a layer of sour cream in the middle.
The second petit four had been hiding in plain sight the whole time as it had been stashed inside a book on our table!
The staff drizzled a splash of cognac on the chocolate tart before cutting it up into fours.
The tart was rich and luscious and I happily packed up the remaining pieces to go when we couldn't finish all of it.
Overall the food at Ecriture is pretty solid but also not good enough to make me want to deal with the reservation hassle again any time soon. I hear dinner is better so if I were to go again, it would be to try the longer tasting menu.
26/F, H Queen's
80 Queen's Road East, CentralTel: +852 2795 5996
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