[Hong Kong] Ando - New Restaurant by Agustin Balbi
Rating: ❤❤❤❤1/4 (4.25/5)
Congratulations to Chef Agustin Balbi on the opening of his new restaurant Ando! Previously of The Ocean and Haku, the chef will showcase cuisine with influences from his Argentinian roots and training in Japan. The space is beautiful and minimalistic with lots of aesthetic details and a huge open kitchen; there’s also a gorgeous centerpiece in the middle of the restaurant representing seafood. I was here during the soft opening period and already everything felt super smooth from the pace of the meal to the service. Lunch starts from HK$588 and is available from Tuesday to Saturday while dinner starts from HK$1288 and is available from Monday to Saturday.
We started our meal with a beautiful appetizer COMO EN CASA / LIKE AT HOME with kohada, uni, celeriac and flower crisp. The kohada is prepared the same way as in Edomae sushi with salt and vinegar, and there were lots of flavors packed in one bite.
Followed by the refreshing TODO DIFERENTE / ALL DIFFERENT with yellow pineapple tomatoes, tofu burrata, physallis, Japanese mango and Kristal caviar. Tomatoes are often thought to be red in color so here’s a dish to challenge our perception with yellow pineapple tomatoes (plus we really thought it was a pineapple at first glance). I loved the combination of the tomatoes with the tofu burrata and the saltiness of the caviar.
The meal continued with a familiar dish of the chef's - PARTIR/DEPARTURE with 5 delicious sashimi selection: Hirame with garlic and green pepper, Ebi with ebi oil and ume, Tai with lily bulb, Aori Ika with koji, and Akami with nori seaweed. For this course, you are presented with a choice of handmade chopsticks to eat with.
NUNCA PODIA FALTAR / WAS ALWAYS THERE
Then there’s the elaborate bread course with extra virgin olive oil made from olive trees over a thousand years old! The bread is custom-made by Baked and served with miso butter and dashi broth on the side.
MEDIO MUNDO / HALF WORLD
Kinmedai with miso eggplant, citrus butter sauce, ebi oil
TARDES DE CAMPO / AFTERNOON IN THE FIELD
Quail with carrot-miso, glazed hierloom carrots
SIN LOLA / WITHOUT LOLA
Of course the all-time favorite Caldoso rice with abalone and chorizo from the chef's HAKU days makes an appearance again! It’s a tribute to the chef’s grandmother Lola. And there’s no need to ask for seconds as the entire bowl is left on the table for more servings if you like.
For desserts, we had a refreshing palate cleanser to start - UN SEGUNDO DE AMOR / A SECOND OF LOVE with ume, nectarine, tofu cream and Japanese whisky. Simply gorgeous to look at!
A LOS DOS NOS GUSTABA / WE BOTH LOVED IT
The main dessert comprised of sesame, yuzu caramel, orange fresh and rice puff. Inspired by wagashi and the chef’s favorite childhood pastime, we were told to crack it open like a soccer ball to eat, and the flavors were very well-balanced.
Ando is definitely one of the hottest openings of the year in HK and I look forward to what's to come next.
1/F, Somptueux Central
52 Wellington Street, CentralTel: +852 2380 9007
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