Amina Modern European - Private Kitchen


I haven't been to a lot of private kitchens in HK yet as most of them are hidden and located in random buildings so it's hard to come across them unless you look deliberately. Thanks to Joe at Amina for the invitation so I can experience this lovely dinner with J in a private location! The restaurant is located in a commercial building on the bustling Cameron Road in TST. There is no restaurant signage at the entrance of the building so you won't stumble upon this restaurant unless you know of it ahead of time.

When we arrived on the floor, we had to ring the doorbell before being let in. Once inside, I noticed that the restaurant was decent in size with 4-5 small tables as well as 2 private dining rooms. The decor was simple and chic with mainly black, grey and white color schemes. There was also an oyster bar and wine rack with a small selection of wines. As wine lovers, we were excited to learn that Amina does not charge corkage fee, so we brought our own bottle of pinot noir for our dinner this evening. 

Amina serves a blend of European cuisine and offers a set dinner of 5 courses for only ~$600. The set dinner menu changes every 1-2 months depending on the seasonality of the ingredients and the chef's liking apparently. Fresh oysters from France are offered as well for $68-$98 per oyster. For our dinner, we tried their set dinner as well as their oysters. 

Bread with Homemade Sauce - the bread was warm and soft while the eggplant spread stole the show. It reminded us of baba ghanoush - a Levantine dish of mashed eggplant, olive oil and other seasoning. The texture was soft and smooth while the flavors were light and flavorful. It was a nice surprise that the chef used baba ghanoush as a spread for the bread, although the bread could have used more texture.

Fresh Oysters - they had 4 choices of oysters which were all from France: Gran Fine de Claire, White Pearl, Gillardeau, and Pinky. All of them were extremely fresh and full of different flavors. Some were firm and briny while others were softer and creamier. These were probably one of the freshest oysters I've had in HK. The only critique I have is that while they offered cocktail sauce as condiment, they did not have mignonette sauce.
Homemade Venison Terrine with Bacon and Mozzarella - a very interesting combination of pate, fried bacon bits and mozzarella cheese. The pate was very rich and flavorful while the textures of the crunchy bacon and soft cheese all worked together to produce this solid dish. 

Kobe Beef Tartare - with beef tartare, the beef used has to be fresh and top-quality as you are eating raw beef. The kobe beef used here was fresh and finely chopped but just did not have that strong raw beef flavor as other beef tartare I've had in the past. I think it could have used more seasoning as well. 
Squid Ink Soup - I've had squid ink risotto and pasta before but this was my first time having squid ink soup, and it was surprisingly good! The soup arrived pitch black with a squid in the middle. Made from squid ink and fish broth, the aroma was fresh while the flavors were intense and flavorful. The squid was also soft and tender to eat. 

Lobster Bisque - the lobster bisque was good but the big surprise was that there was a big scallop sitting beneath the surface. The scallop was very fresh and sweet, which enhanced the overall flavor of the soup. 

Foie Gras with Beef Root and Cranberry - the foie gras here was excellent! Not only was it cooked perfectly, the surface was nicely caramelized as well which gave an additional texture and flavor to it. The cranberry sauce was tart and flavorful but the best part was the balsamic vinegar drizzled at the bottom. The balsamic vinegar was very thick and rich, which went perfectly with the foie gras.
Scallops with Baked Cheese and Onion - the scallops were very fresh and half-cooked while the baked cheese was light and aromatic. While the texture was tender, the scallops were still slightly cold on the inside which stood out against the warm cheese mixture. 

Sorbet of the day - we were then given a guava sorbet to cleanse our palates before consuming our main course. The guava sorbet was light and sweet, which served its purpose wonderfully.
Main Course
M6 Kobe Steak with Artichoke, Gnocchi, Chef Sauce - M6 refers to the grade of the beef and we were told that most restaurant usually serves only M4-5. The steak was finely sliced and while it was nicely cooked, it was not as fatty or flavorful as I'd expected. The temperature of the steak was also not as hot when it arrived which may have impacted the taste. What I love about this dish though was the gnocchi sitting underneath the steak! While the gnocchi I usually have are soft and chewy, the gnocchi here was nicely toasted on the outside so the texture was a bit harder but still chewy. Love it!   

Braised Lamb Shank with Mashed Potato - the lamb shank was braised very well as the meat was very soft and tender, which peeled away from the bone easily. The lamb was flavorful and gamey while the mashed potato was soft and rich. The rosemary used was also very fresh. A very solid dish overall!
Creme Brulee - the caramel on the surface was hard and crunchy while the custard was warm and a bit runny. I love how the top layer of caramel was harder than usual, but I prefer my custard to be more solid as well. As our dessert arrived, french jasmine tea was also served in a beautiful tea cup with a few jasmine buds floating on top. The tea was light and aromatic, which was perfect for digestion. 

Verdict - I was pretty impressed with the overall quality of the food here while I thought most of the dishes were well thought out. They didn't skim on the ingredients so the value for money was definitely high! The service and attention to detail was excellent as well. I was pleasantly surprised when they sprinkled pepper onto the side of the soup plate instead of on the soup directly, which allowed us to add and taste as needed. The ambiance is cozy and quiet which is great for couples and just about anybody who prefers a private place to dine at. It turns out that they have a branch in CWB as well but is currently under renovation. As that is more convenient for me, I would love to visit that branch next time to try the food there as well!

Amina Modern European
Shop A, 5/F, Long Kee Mansion, 54-56 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
6018 0244 

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