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Amber shines on Hong Kong

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World’s 50 Best
36th 2013
Asia’s 50 Best
4th 2013
Month of Review: Dec 2011

A hotel doesn’t need many restaurants if it has one of the best in the world! The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is such a hotel as their Michelin 2-star restaurant Amber really made headlines last year for being the only restaurant in China listed in the 2011 S. Pellegrino “World’s 50 Best Restaurants.”

Due to many disappointing experiences of French cuisine in Hong Kong over the years, I had some reservations prior to visiting Amber, a modern French cuisine with inventive twists. Thankfully, the 4-hour dining experience at Amber not only satisfied my palate in every way, but also changed my impression of French cuisine in Hong Kong forever.

Chef Richard Ekkebus is the spirit of Amber. This Dutch-born chef had training under some of the greatest Michelin-star chefs in Europe before heading up the Amber kitchen when it first opened its doors in 2005. Hong Kong proves to be an ideal location for a motivated chef like him; in his own words, it enables him to “take the full advantage of this unique crossroads between East and West.” A quick glance at his menu shows that Chef Ekkebus uses only the finest ingredients from both local and global sources: sea urchin from Hokkaido, blue lobster from Brittany, salmon from Tasmania, and many ingredients from local organic producers.

Situated on the 7th floor of the hotel is an eye-catching wave of 4,000 golden rods hang from the high ceiling of Amber’s stylish dining room. Serving no more than 60 diners a night, this restaurant offers a sense of space to each guest. The tasting began shortly after the arrival of my glass of champagne: the appetizing lime mousse emerging out from the thin crispy mini roll; the rich foie gras coated with raspberry jelly served on a wooden stick; the warm deep-fried ball with flavourful pork jus bursting out; and the creamy pumpkin velouté with an airy chestnut foam. This series of innovative amuse bouche was a successful introduction to the elaborate meal to come.