almost very definitely the best meal I’ve had this year.
food delicious, service fantastic, ambiance terrific. top stars and major ticks in every box.
I’m very tempted to slap this entire post in its long, beautiful state on the front page, because it really deserves it – and let me tell you why.
numbero four-no on the san pelligrino’s top 50 list for asia, the process started off easy-peasy with online reservations, and rapid response in the form of a courteous, personal email that noted my mention of my BFF’s (aren’t you honored, stef) birthday celebration.
we arrived at the mandarin oriental to a beautiful restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows, all wood and lush textures – very tasteful and elegant, and so much beautiful light coming through at lunchtime.
I’ve found that although some
snobs people turn their noses up at the lunch sets, they very often are a measure of just how good the restaurant can be, even when you aren’t ordering their most expensive entrees – and how professional their wait staff are in serving you, regardless of what you’ve ordered.
so we did that here, a four-course weekday set meal that started with two glossy-red balls of beetroot-raspberry-pate mousse on lollypop sticks, a selection of warm bread, and tiny pastry tubes with crab and avocado puree.
we had a couple bowls of soup, a creamy white asparagus one served with beautiful sprigs of coriander and a delicate tuile topped with tiny shrimp – and one that looked like a veritable garden.
the portions are more than reasonable, beautiful, and generous enough for you to feel like you’re feasting, without any too-early satiety as a result. our mains followed at a leisurely pace, a simple fillet of amberjack seared and served with roasted carrots,
and how-is-it-possible tender cuts of pork served with morels and a dark au jus.
when a meal is this good – I usually worry about dessert, which for me is the most important part of the meal (and the one from which I take the most memories).
completely irrelevant here, as it turned out – we started with sticks of housemade magnum,
a melange of cut berries and meringue shells over a shallow pool of silky berry consomme and jelly,
and a deeply, darkly luxurious triangle of chocolate entremet that had crunchy, rich insides, a glossy black ganache, and served alongside coconut sorbet. always so gratifying when flavours live up to both appearance and expectation.
we also, greedily, ordered a chocolate souffle to share – and it was ephemeral, and a very good choice if you’re looking for something both sweet and light to finish off what had already been a delicious, fantastic, best-this-year kind of meal.
(objectively, though, cut still does my favorite souffle.)
I mentioned earlier that this was a birthday celebration, and the lovely people at amber so graciously brought us a three-tiered display of tiny bon bons, meringues and jellies alike, as well as an elegant box of the most adorable pink macaroons.
I didn’t go into too much detail about how everything tasted – suffice to say that the pictures do justice to the food, and the flavours do justice to the photos. service is top of its class – friendly, helpful, and warm without being intrusive; and the space is both elegant enough for a business do, and intimate enough for dining with friends.
the best experience for a while yet – almost on par with my favorite gordon ramsay at royal hospital road (and I think that the highest praise possible).
The Landmark Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong