Saturday, October 12, 2013
While I generally avoid Michelin-starred restaurants, especially the western restaurants in Hong Kong, I'm not so opposed to the Chinese restaurants holding the stars. They're usually less disappointing than the ones offering progressive cuisine. Tried a whole host and I've decided to be very persnickety about where I choose to eat in Hong Kong. Next to the private kitchens, the Cantonese restaurants would offer a cuisine familiar and welcoming in all sorts of new and traditional presentations.
Wanted to try out the modern Chinese restaurant Above and Beyond (天外天) at Hotel ICON. Heard good things about it, and it came strongly recommended by the friends who share my preferences. Yes, the staff speak English fine, but of course speaking in Cantonese will get you those extra smiles. I wanted a lighter interpretation to the traditional foods instead of the usual oily versions. And I definitely didn't want any funny Sichuan pepper in the dishes.
Since we're staying at this hotel, it makes it quite a breeze to sort out reservations at 天外天. After a long day out in the sun, it'd be nice to have a hot bath and a fuss-free quiet dinner before retiring to an early night. The restaurant is a little on the narrow side, but the tables are well-spaced, offering a semblance of privacy, so long you keep the conversation level low. The lighting is deliberately kept dark so that from this 28th floor, the diners could stare out of the windows to the night skies and city lights beyond.
The kitchen didn't disappoint. Rather spectacular food trotted to the table. There were just the man and I dining. We had to be very conservative with the number of dishes ordered. It would be in relative proportion to perceived stomach space. Just soup, fish, abalone and spinach, our favorite lobster noodles, and vegetables. We left it up to the chef to sort out exactly how he would mesh the flavors together, say for example, he decided to do the noodles crispy, and ascertained that we didn't mind him de-shelling the lobster.
At the end of the meal, it wasn't unexpected that there was no more room for dessert. Then again, the mainly Chinese desserts didn't exactly appeal, so we passed. I still remembered the appetizer. Am truly in love with their smoked eggs with oolong tea leaves and bits of black truffle. :) Yes, I like eggs, but this was a truly stunning version.