A Fantastic Michelin-Starred French Meal in Hong Kong: Vietnam, Cambodia, Macau and Hong Kong Trip Report

Index:

On top of my 3 Michelin star lunch at Bo Innovation, I had a 2 Michelin star dinner at Amber while I was in Hong Kong.

It was fantastic. But it was dinner, so it was more expensive. It was generally Western (French), so in some sense not really the kind of place you couldn’t go in another major city. I had heard good things, I wanted to try it, and it didn’t disappoint.

In fact, I had the best Wagyu beef I’ve ever tasted at Amber. It was accompanied by onions seven ways. Yes, this is the sort of place where they care about the placement and detail of the seventh kind of onion on the plate. That also says something about the food costs here, that the restaurant really doesn’t spare much expense (and that’s reflected in the prices.. ~US$245++ for the 8-course tasting menu).

Amber is located on the 7th floor of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental (this is important, for those unfamiliar there are two different Mandarin Oriental properties in Hong Kong and I consider this to be the lesser of them).

Heading up in the elevator I rather liked the sound of this advertisement:

We were a little bit early for our booking so began with a drink in the bar and some tasty bar snacks,

The dining room is gorgeous, and features a ceiling fixture made of 4320 bronze rods.

The restaurant was dimly lit, and I never use a flash (nor did I bring a camera appropriate for the level of light) so the photos are fairly dark. Nonetheless I think they communicate the style of the food reasonably well. We selected the tasting menu.

There were multiple amuse-bouche offerings, I especially liked the foie gras lollipops.

ebisu magaki oyster
steamed at 70 degrees and served cold with foie gras confit in sauterne gel

Hokkaido sea urchin
in a lobster jell-o with cauliflower, caviar, crispy seaweed waffles

Served in a shell, the urchin was covered with a thin layer of lobster jello and rested on top of the cauliflower mousse. The sea urchin was fantastic, and my second favorite course after the beef.

normandy diver scallops
seared with lardo di belotta, caramelized celeriac root, black winter truffle, golden celery leaves & patanegra de belotta bouillon

duck foie gras
steamed with fondant daikon radish & seaweed broth

kagoshima wagyu beef
strip loin; oven roasted, puree of ‘forgotten’ Cevennes onion, braised short ribs with seasonal green leaves

French unpasteurized cheeses

They brought out a large selection to choose from, offered to make recommendations, and also ordered them on the plate with a recommendation for the direction in which to eat them.

amaou strawberries
crispy tubes with marscarpone & menton lemon, hibiscus & black courant sorbet, opal basil & French ‘marigold’

abinou 85% chocolate
Souffle’ with cacao sorbet

For final petit fours, a tin of marshmallows, macarons, and other treats.

Service is fantastic, they have plenty of staff each with a designated job, and they’re taught to monitor from afar. Some of the newer staff had too much energy without enough to do, the gentleman whose job was to bring more bread when he noticed you were out was probably burning off nervous energy a little bit too visibly. Nonetheless on the whole they were completely attentive without being too intrusive.

All in all the meal was pricey, but fairly priced. It was a fantastic dinner, though I wouldn’t say it was truly unique in a world context. I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for top-end Western or French dining in Hong Kong, but I wouldn’t travel to Hong Kong to try it and most of the time in Hong Kong that’s not the meal I’m looking for.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I just hope someone will shove food down your throat just like the geese were shoved.

    A life of misery and horrible murder for your few seconds of taste enjoyment. You torture and murder with your wallet.

    Worse, you spread it.

    Cancer and other horrible diseases will catch you soon.

  2. @MEOW – It’s a completely different experience. I love Waku Ghin, but having been twice and they don’t really change the menu it’s hard to go back.. but here you have more options. Waku Ghin is on a stool in a kitchen, the cooking is a show, here it’s more traditional..

  3. wow — nasty guy!! — guess he eats only grass
    no fish , chicken, beef love to watch what
    he eats for a week

    HK hotels know service , many can learn from

    do not know the ratio — hotel workers to guests
    in 5 star HK hotels vs Europe

  4. It seems like you had a fantastic experience. I will have to go a table there next time I fly to HK.

  5. Regarding “tasting menu”, I used to love them. But now I have come to realize that it is usually too much food for my small stomach.

  6. Looks amazing!

    If you like that, I highly recommend the reinvented Mandarin Grill at the other Mandarin Oriental. It combines the service and attention to detail you describe with hints of molecular gastronomy. We actually liked it better than Alinea in some ways.

  7. @ the first post.
    WTF happened to you? Seriously, if you don’t care about what Gary has to say don’t read the blog.

    -Gary I’m glad you’re a bigger man than him.

  8. Gary,

    I know I hate to ask this question, but did crackers come with the cheese? BTW, next time I’m in HKG, I’ll try Bo Innovation at 780 HKD. In Japan, try the whale…it’s great, 3000 yen for 6 pieces. 😀

    Big thanks on the reviews!

    ED.

  9. Great review! That’s a lot of foie gras……just my kind of place! Actually Animal Revenge could come to San Francisco where he can gloat about politics victory over food……well NOT really because if he goes to Le Folie they will serve it under the table for $80 but never mention it by name while 4-5 San Francisco cops mill about the street corner (assuming to protect us from Animal’s Revenge when he shows up)………

  10. Thank you Gary for this delectable little treat (pun intended). One of life’s greatest joys is dining at an exquisite restaurant & I am thankful to have read a review of a place I have yet tried. My next dining destination is Helene Darroze in London. And your pix were great; perhaps they were a tad dark but I so very much respect & applaud your decision not to use the flash.

    @justSaying: La Folie is my second favorite restaurant in SF (Atelier Crenn being #1). But I had no idea it was a speakeasy for foie gras! Yum!

  11. @gba – not usually French food, certainly something more like my earlier segment on Bo Innovation, or dim sum 🙂

  12. It also makes me think there are other “speakeasy” fine dining in our fair city……San Francisco has never been a city with a deep sense of compliance for the law……..the stories I could tell………

  13. @Bill, @JustSaying, etc. – Eating meat, fish, fowl, etc is one thing, but the geese are tortured to make foie gras. While Animal’s Revange needs to learn how to express him or herself more constructively (and learn how to spell), I can sympathize with his/her feelings. It is truly ghastly what they do to the geese and a person who eats it is either ignorant or is entirely self absorbed and without conscience. Of course, the animal will have it’s revenge in the end since it is also very bad for your health as it is full of cholesterol and saturated fat.

  14. Lot of myths abound on foie gras but I’ll leave that to other forums on the web, suffice to say it’s worth reading up on the details, which may surprise some.

  15. @Gary – I have read all about the details of foie gras creation and I’ve also seen it done. There are sites that try to downplay the harm the forced feeding does to the goose for their own selfish ends. All the investigations of these claims have turned out to be false. But you go ahead and do what your conscience tells you to do. I still believe eating foie gras displays a lack of compassion and a sense of narcissistic entitlement.

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