The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Birthday lunch @ Restaurant Akrame, Hong Kong

Hubby had his birthday on the weekend, and we celebrated it with a visit to Restaurant Akrame. We'd visited Chef Akrame Benallal's other restaurant next door a few months ago and had really enjoyed it, so we were looking forward to lunch at the fine-dining sister restaurant. Bucking the design trend of many French fine dining restaurants, Restaurant Akrame instead features a minimalistic and contemporary interior of white walls, black furniture and portraits of tatooed models, lending a no-fuss and casual atmosphere. We applaud the fact that our reservation was not shunned though we clearly stated that we would be bringing our almost-4-month-old baby along with us. (For the record, #3 is the model baby, quiet and unfussy, so we didn't fret too much about bringing her to a fine dining restaurant.) Restaurant Akrame is small, seating only 30 diners, but the tables have a comfortable space in between that affords some privacy. Staff was polite and helpful, and service in general was professional and faultless. For lunch, we had quite a few options. There was the nine-course menu for HK$1088 with specified dishes and optional wine pairing. The Menu Degustation suits those who like to be surprised with the chef's choice of dishes, with several options depending on your appetite: the friends lunch menu (three courses, HK$280), menu favorite (four courses, HK$380) and gourmet menu (six courses, HK$580). Wine or juice pairings were available for extra. An a-la-carte menu was also available for those who want a little less mystery over the food that is served. Both hubby and I chose the 6-course gourmet menu, and since hubby is not a wine-drinker, he went for the juice pairing for an additional HK$238. While juice pairing was a novelty, I'm undecided on whether the juice pairing enhanced the experience. It was fun to give it a go nonetheless. We weren't given a printed menu, but below is what hubby wrote down as we were served the dishes (I would have done that work if my hands weren't already taken up feeding the baby and taking photos at the same time - something you'd think I'd get good at by #3, but it's still a challenge).

I don't have a better shot of the restaurant, but this gives a general idea of size and interior design:

The first of the two plates of amuse-bouche: smoked eel with squid ink cracker and balsamic vinegar (foreground), and sesame cracker with avocado (background):

Second plate of amuse-bouche was crispy fried potato:

Delicious crusty bread with citrus-salted butter:

First course was slow cooked egg with potato puree, sweet corn kernels and a type of pepper from South France (perhaps Espelette pepper?). The yolk was firm but thick, rich and satiny smooth. The corn kernels were juicy and very sweet. Everything in the bowl tied well together. Paired with a pineapple and coconut juice:

Foie gras and balsamic. The serving size of the foie gras was perfectly petite - any bigger and I would have trouble with it. Paired with pomegranate juice:

Oysters with potato emulsion and beetroot. Both were good but we liked the potato emulsion better than the beetroot:

Cod with peas, wasabi sauce and basil foam. Succulent cod flesh went surprisingly well with wasabi. Paired with spinach and apple juice:

Hubby's duck and a bowl of lentils with cheese foam. Juicy and flavourful duck with orange jelly. Paired with beetroot juice:

Pork with a balsamic reduction:

Dessert was brioche with vanilla custard and hazelnuts, served with a bowl of fluffy frozen cream-like dessert similar to semi-freddo:

Petit fours with a birthday message:

We had an enjoyable lunch at Restaurant Akrame. The menu changes monthly so it'll be worth a revisit.

[Prices quoted above do not include the 10% service charge.]

Restaurant Akrame
9B Ship St
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Tel. +85 2 2528 5068

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