[Hong Kong] The Launch of Amber 2.0
Amber has reopened after a temporary closure late last year to revamp the restaurant! Gone are the amber hues and bronze rods hanging from the ceiling; instead expect softer and lighter beige colors with curved partitions for intimate dining spaces. Aside from the decor, Executive Chef Richard Ekkebus also has a new culinary vision for Amber. While most people tend to associate French cuisine with heaviness, the chef wants diners to leave his restaurant feeling light and not stuffed by doing away dairy and gluten completely. While this may be shocking news to some (I mean how can a French restaurant not use cream and butter right?), the end result will be cleaner and purer flavors. Just be aware that bread will only be served by request since it is not gluten free.
The main dining room is much brighter than before and in line with its modern decor, the white tablecloths are gone and replaced with wooden table tops with bronze trimmings.
Our meal started with a light and refreshing Homemade Silken Tofu with heirloom tomatoes, salted sakura and virgin almond oil. I was impressed to learn that the chef and team had made their own tofu which had great taste and texture. All the ingredients came together nicely here and the flavors were subtle, layered and elegant.
Aji with wheatgrass, celtuce, kyuri and virgin line seed oil
The Aka Amadai with violin zucchini, Nocellera del Belice, caviar lime and shiso was probably my least favorite of the meal. Don't get me wrong - the fish was nicely done as the scales were deliciously crispy, but since the flavor of the fish was on the mild side, I was hoping for a richer and more savory sauce on the side to compensate (at the moment I was thinking of a langoustine sauce). The chef shared with me his thought process for this dish where his vision was that the frying process of the scales would enhance the richness of the fish and therefore needed some acidity to counterbalance it. Therefore the zucchini is seasoned with olives (salt) and caviar lime (acidity), shiso (fragrant) and kabosu gel (very tart); another advantage is that unlike traditional sauces or broths, the zucchini would not soften the crispy scales.
We ended our savory portion of the meal with this luscious Wagyu Beef A5 Sirloin with baby aubergine, black garlic, maitake and buckwheat. The beef was buttery and just melted in my mouth while the sides were delicious as well especially the black garlic puree.
After the savory dishes, it's time for desserts! The first is the refreshing Avocado with lime, Sicilian pistachio, Granny Smith and Thai basil.
The Sake Lees with raspberry, Camargue rice and rice milk was my favorite of the two.
For petit fours, we had Burlat cherries from France which is in season now and freshly baked coconut and buckwheat madeleine which was a bit crumbly in texture.
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
15 Queen's Road East, Central
Tel: +852 2132 0066
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