Category Archives: 5 Thumbs Up

Chapter One 👍👍👍👍👍

 

Somehow our lunch bookings on Friday and Saturday were switched. That, coupled with our early arrival to Dublin, saw us walking for nearly three hours around the City. During our long walk, we also discovered our dinner restaurants. A lot of walking over the next few days.

We were warmly welcomed despite being 30 minutes early. Irish hospitality! We needed air conditioning, a comfy chair and a drink. They stepped up like rockstars!

Chapter One is downstairs next door to a Irish writers’ center. We think basement restaurants are so cool, particularly given our occasional slumber in gutters over the years…downstairs restaurants provided more protection from the elements.

We rated 5 thumbs up largely because the ambience was second to none!!! Continue reading Chapter One 👍👍👍👍👍

The Waterside Inn 👍👍👍👍👍

The world of fine dining begins and ends at the Waterside…Inn.  A fairly simple, countryside entrance to a non-descript building blossoms into the true meaning of an exceptional culinary – I dare say epic – event.

Diego, the maitre’d of maitre’d exceptionalism, swooshes around the dining room with an elegance of a conductor bleading his orchestra.  The definition of service and only challenged by the likes of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and L’Enclume.

Continue reading The Waterside Inn 👍👍👍👍👍

Robuchon au Dome 👍👍👍👍👍

We woke-up a touch tired and late, hustled to the fitness centre for a pre-lunch, much needed cardio workout and felt more than prepared for the sumptuous lunch ahead. Ah, so nice to return to Joey’s Place aka Robuchon au Dome in Macau!

Quick note: we spaced on the dress code and forgot men must wear collared shirts. The fact you may be going commando or wearing torn (read fashionable) jeans is irrelevant. Fortunately, the receptionist had a jacket for us to borrow to hide our very expensive sweater!

Regardless, Joey’s Place in Macau still ranks as a top destination and THE Wine Bible sporting 16,200 labels is simply spectacular fun!!!

AMBIENCE

location. The Grand Lisboa Hotel in the heart of the city centre of Macau. Give yourself ten minutes or so to walk around the lobby as it is home to an extraordinary collection of Chinese art and jewels.
character and atmosphere. OTT, swish from the moment you arrive to see a baby grand piano with a Swarovski chandelier hovering above to every element of the restaurant. Equally, classical…just sit back and let your senses be overwhelmed…then take a breath and return to reality!
style and comfort. Very, super stylish and comfortable. We were seated in a large private room that easily could handle 8…thus, 4 people were exceedingly happy.
table and glassware. Top-shelf and as good as it gets!
other guests. Mostly Sunday lunch / brunch people seeking something a big step above the buffets.
ambience rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍👍

SERVICE

booking. We recently met the Manager of The Grand Lisboa at Robuchon Hong Kong. He kindly made the arrangements.
reception. Excellent, professional and friendly. Apologies we forgot our collars.
floor staff (knowledge and presentation of food, attention to details and awareness of guests). Between the Sommelier (Bhatia), Manager (professional and fun lady from Taiwan) and the other staff, you were in a perfect, Michelin Three Star world.
sommelier, maitre’d, chef, manager. Excellent!
service rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍👍

FOOD

bread. OMYG meets exceptional. Only rivalled by Robuchon Hong Kong and Pierre. We had to request the staff remove the bread…otherwise, we would eat until there was not room for the “real” food.
ingredients. Excellent.
presentation. Excellent.
creativity. Very creative.
taste. Exceptional.
smell. Exceptional.
execution. Perfect.
food rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍👍

Le Mais – Amuse bouche of Sweet Corn Veloute, Marshmallow and Smoked Duck Breast. Very yummy…really loved the sweet cor veloute.

La Betterave – Duo of Beetroot, Apple and Avocado, Young Herbs and Green Mustard Sorbet. Many years ago, we started to encounter beetroot at quite a few restaurants. We thought average at best. However, beetroot in more recent years has been championed by some exceptional chefs and, not surprisingly, we have grown exceedingly found of its myriad of flavours and charming blending with other fruits, veggies and herbs. This dish was no exception as the beetroot was in perfect synch with the apple, avocado, herbs and, Oh My Ears and Whiskers, the green mustard sorbet. An OMYG meets exceptional starter!!!

L’hamachi – Yellowtail Carpaccio, Sea Urchin and Crispy Waffle. It is times like this when you realise the Japanese may do stunning sashimi, but the Europeans do even better carpaccio. Raw and lively, the Yellowtail was swimmingly stunning!!!

Le Foie Gras – Warm Salad of Roseval Potatoes, Smoked Foie Gras and Parmesan Cream. Très traditionnel and yummy!

Les Crustaces – Shellfish Bisque with Crispy Shrimp and Esspelette Pepper. We love bisque…we think it returns the love in waves of mild spiciness when laced with this famous French pepper. Arguably – we have tasted many a bisque in our day – the best version of this classic on the planet! OMYG meets exceptional!

La Saint-Jacques – Pan-seared Sea Scallops, Creamy Baby Artichoke and Chickpea Foam. We often partake of the sea scallops at Joey’s Place because, well, they always are so darn yummy! We loved the accompanying creamy baby artichokes and the chickpea foam (seriously?) was outstanding!

Le dos de “Black Cod” Rôti – Roasted Back of Codfish with an Essence of Vegetable, Basil and Iberico flavours. When in Macau, regardless of the cuisine’s nationality, it seems Codfish always is a winner. Et voila, the Chef produced a perfectly cooked, excellent piece of fish with an “essence” so soft that it was mesmerising! Let’s hear it for the perfume. OMYG!

 

WINE

selection. THE BEST.
variety. THE BEST.
value. Incredibly reasonably priced!!!
wine rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down) 👍👍👍👍👍

We arrived at Robuchon Macau at 12 Noon, and we immediately requested “The Wine Bible” that boasts 16,200 labels! We spent the next 45 minutes speaking with the sommelier and choosing our champagne, white Burgundy and red Bordeaux for lunch. Always a magical experience as patience (a tempting virtue) results in a rewarding selection at a great QPR! We are spoiled…all other wine lists at the world’s best restaurants have to fall in line behind this extraordinary selection!

2000 Charles Ellner Champagne Brut. We were stunned to discover this vintage 2000 champagne at less than USD115 at a Michelin Three Star, internationally renowned restaurant! Joey’s Place (Joel Robuchon) in Macau rocks!!! Gold colour on the eye was mega-attractive. Aromas of mousse, toasted oak with vanilla cream. Outstanding! Honey, vanilla cream with toasted almonds on the palate. Luvly. A stunning finish. Excellent champagne!

2009 Remoissenet Père et Fils Corton-Charlemagne. A most excellent Corton-Chuckie from one of our favourite producers in Burgundy. Outstanding greenish-yellow colour that indicates she is ready to rock ‘n roll. Outstanding Bangkok Klong (the smell wafting through the air from the small streams in Bangkok…humanity presenting itself before showering in the morning) on the nose with ints of vanilla and toasted almonds. Honey, vanilla cream on the palate with a long, lingering, enticing finish. She is humming now, which surprised us a bit, but will continue to evolve for another 5 years. Outstanding QPR a reward for our patient review of The Wine Bible!

2005 Château L’Arrosée. We think L’Arrosee, now Quintis owned by Chateau Haut-Brion, is one of the best value St. Emilion wines. Light red on the eye. Aromas of dark berries with a toasty-smoky, nutty feel. Warmth on the nose. Subtle, smooth, red fruits with pleasant tannins and a comforting finish. Truly a pleasant sip!

MISC

type of cuisine. French.
dress code. Collared shirt for men. Business casual.
overall rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down) 👍👍👍👍👍

Robuchon au Dome 👍👍👍👍👍
Chef Joël Robuchon
43/F Grand Lisboa Hotel
Macau
http://www.grandlisboahotel.com/dining-Robuchon_au_Dome-en

Other Robuchon experiences

Photos (Robuchon au Dome)

Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA Macau  👍👍👍👍👌

We enjoyed a post-Broadway-lunch “high tea” at The JW Marriott Executive Lounge prior to a much needed power nap. By the way, the folks at the Executive Lounge are excellent professionals with exceedingly pleasant personalities…just in case you happen to parachute into Macau and are looking for some cost-effective pampering!

 

Suitably rested, we settled into The Ritz-Carlton 51st Floor Bar for a pre-dinner bubble – aperitif – with our friends. A bottle of NV Baron de Rothschild Champagne, albeit not the best bubble on the planet, was a perfect start for what would be a fantabulous evening! The Bar? Eh…swish but nothing special.

We arrived at Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA Macau with friends from Hong Kong and Chef’s Mama visiting from Italy to celebrate the award of a Michelin One Star for Bombana’s most recent success! Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA Hong Kong, the first of now four renditions of Bombana’s culinary destinations, remains our favourite Italian restaurant outside of Italy. Having said that, Otto e Mezzo Bombana Macau is a very, very close second…and likely will eclipse the “parent” given Chef always cooks us his very own style of Artisanal “Cocco” Spaghetti tomato in different forms and textures…OMYG!

By the way, we threw down the gauntlet to Chef while exercising with him in the fitness centre when we informed him the morning of dinner just how good the feast at The Tasting Room was the previous evening. Step-up time, baby, because Chef Guillame was off-the-hook inspiring!

AMBIENCE

location. The Galaxy Hotel Complex. We are not big fans of restaurants in malls – even super-swish ones like The Galaxy – but understand the reason. Small problem that was easily overshadowed by the venue.
character and atmosphere. Modern classical, very nicely designed and furnished. A little OTT in the wine cellar, but sit back and relax…this is Macau where a bit of silliness (if not garish or gaudy) is to be expected.
style and comfort. Excellent.
table and glassware. Not quite The Tasting Room, but excellent!
other guests. Lively, event-oriented and happy. Reasonably well-dressed.
ambience rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍

SERVICE

booking. We booked with Chef…good to have friends!
reception. Hey, when you walk into a joint with the Chef’s Mama visiting from Italy, what do you expect!? Passionate, professional and perfect reception!
floor staff (knowledge and presentation of food, attention to details and awareness of guests). Outstanding!
sommelier, maitre’d, chef, manager. A to Z, exceptional. Thanks to Antimo (Chef), Michele and Danny.
service rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍👍

FOOD

bread. Very good, but not The Tasting Room, Robuchon or Pierre.
ingredients. Excellent. Otto e Mezzo spares no expense!
presentation. Perfect.
creativity. Very!
taste. Exceptional.
smell. Exceptional.
execution. Perfect!
food rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down) 👍👍👍👍👍

Seared Red Tuna fennel pollen, tomato citrus emulsion (some with Calvisius elite caviar). Top-shelf ingredient, stunningly perfect preparation and a luvly use of fennel with tomato and citrus. Seriously, a beautiful, exceptional dish. The majority of the diners, based on Chef’s design and for reasons beyond our philistine attitude, enjoyed this dish with caviar. We guessed it worked, somehow, but as much as we love fish, we prefer they keep their eggs to themselves!

Scampi & Ceps green vegetables, gnocchi ragout, scampi jus. OMYG! Off the hook fantabulous scampi. Chef is remaining true to Bombana’s style of using the best ingredients and preparing perfectly and simply. We just adore this approach!!!

Royal Scampi, romanesco, sea urchin. Et voila, we did not try the “royal” version with the baby broccoli and sea urchin (we think they are best left alone peacefully in the murky depths of the ocean). However, the expressions on the faces of those who dived into this rendition of our second dish were, well, expressing pure ecstasy. We, therefore, extend, via proxy, an OMYG!

Pappardelle porcini mushroom, mushroom jus, Alba white truffle. Ah, the happy little piggies…or doggies…smelling their white truffles from Alba along with a mushroom sauce and some porcini mushrooms. Did we mention mushrooms? Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA Macau has a young Italian pasta chef in situ so you can guess how awesomesauce was the Pappardelle…simply marvie!

Homemade Chitarra Spaghetti Alaskan king crab, citrus spring onion, seafood jus. OMYG! Breathtaking pasta exceptional crab and luvly use, yet again, of citrus. A touch of Chef’s creativity, well, all over this impressive offering!

Artisanal “Cocco” Spaghetti tomato in different forms and textures. This is the dish we think defines the simplicity, creativity and phenomenal cooking of Chef. Yes, simple and creative altogether because, hey, what could be simpler than spaghetti? Well, first, you call it “Cocco”, which inspires thoughts of a century of “pasta masters” from Abruzzi, Italy. Big shoes! Second, you come up with three different flavours and textures from an assortment of tomatoes…creativity in the extreme. Finally, you put it altogether, try to explain to your Italian mother why hers could never be as good, and you can only say phenomenal. OMYG meets exceptional…and then crosses a road less traveled to je ne sais quoi!

Line Caught Seabass , clams & parsley broth, semi-dried tomato compote. Great fish + subtle yet flavourful broth and you have to be happy. Bombana simplicity!

“Fassone Veal” Tender loin, organic pumpkin, Piedmont hazelnut, parmesan fondue. If the pasta was not enough, then taking the best veal from Piedmont, Italy and employing the flavours of pumpkin and parmesan with the texture of hazelnuts just “flies you to the moon”. OMYG!!!

Millefoglie, wild strawberries, “Mara des Bois” strawberry sorbet, vanilla chantilly. Excellent…we always are happy to know a Japanese pastry chef is in situ. When the Japanese do either French or Italian, they really do it well! The attention to detail, subtle flavours and textures and blend of everything yummy is their province!

Selection Of Italian Cheese from In-house aging room, homemade raisins, orange marmalade, onion compote. We almost always find ourselves staring at a selection of French cheese, which does not suck, but we just get all giddy inside when offered some of Italy’s best! The Taleggio brought tears to our eyes!

WINE

selection. Excellent.
variety. Excellent…and fun.
value. Reasonable.
wine rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down) 👍👍👍👍

NV Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Champagne Brut. Aperitif at the Ritz-Carlton Macau 51st Floor Bar. Vibrant yellow with bubbly bubbles on the eye. Subtle toasty almonds and citrus fruits on the nose. Reasonable dry, pleasant aperitif! A slightly difficult QPR, from our perspective, but definitely a nice way to start a great evening.

2007 Bellavista Franciacorta Gran Cuvée Brut Pas Operé. A blend of 65% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Nero that immediately lets us know Italians are more than capable to produce fantabulous bubbles. Vibrant gold with fine bubbles. Absolutely attractive!!! Perfume of almonds, vanilla, honey and green apples. Dry, Sophia Loren elegance and structure with nice balance of fruit and acidity. A diva commanding the unparalleled attention of the men in the room as well as the jealousy of the other deserving luvlies. Stunner!

2012 Foradori Nosiola Fontanasanta Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT. We decided to “go off the range” with our first sip of Nosiola, which is an “ancient” varietal from Trentino, Italy. With only 8,000 bottles produced, we felt privileged to sip this light, friendly and fun rarity. Aromas of tropical fruit and citrus. Fresh, dry and served best fairly cool. A pleasant wine we would be delighted to sip again when seeking an alternative to the usual suspects. Excellent QPR…we wonder for how long!

2013 Fattoria San Lorenzo Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Le Oche. Transparent to the eye. Aromas of toasted almonds and lemon-citrus. Nutty with citrus fruits and fairly high acidity. Short, tangy finish. A pleasant wine that prepared the palate well for the upcoming, fairly big Italian reds.

2008 Benanti Etna Serra della Contessa. Vibrant ruby red on the eye. Aromas of very, berry berries. Equally, very, berry berries on the palate with subtle tannins. Pleasant, good QPR and interesting wine from Sicily.

2004 Antinori Solaia Toscana IGT. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 20% Sangiovese. Oh my ears and whiskers, what an awesome Bordeaux blend with just enough of Tuscany’s great Sangiovese to allow the Italians to throw down the gauntlet to their French friends! Ruby red colour that screams “sip me if you can”. Aromas of dark red fruits and liquorice with subtle toasted oak. Perfect perfume of spicy red fruit…enticing Palate of robust red fruit and terrific tannins. Long lingering finish. The salacious seductress you want to meet, but then can never forget…and wish you could date every night!

MISC

type of cuisine. Italian
dress code. Smart casual.
overall rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down) 👍👍👍👍👌

Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA 👍👍👍👍👌
1031, 1/F, Galaxy Macau, Cotai
Macau
http://www.galaxymacau.com/en/macau-restaurant/restaurant-directory/international/otto-e-mezzo-bombana

Photos (Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA Macau)

The Tasting Room By Galliot 👍👍👍👍👍

Having stretched our stomachs with a quick cardio workout at The JW Marriott fitness centre after ours tasty Thai lunch at Saffron, we hopped a complimentary shuttle bus to the City of Dreams where we had a quick stroll through SOHO. Frankly, we are not big fans of these hyped-up food courts, but we are confident quite a few younger “playas” in Macau would enjoy this venue sporting bars, restaurants, live music and a lively vibe.

In any event, we arrived at one of our favourite French restaurants outside of France – Michelin Two Star The Tasting Room by Galliot – where rockstar Chef Guillame Galliot plies his trade. We enjoy the fact Chef Guillame never allows us to see the menu and always designs and perfectly cooks a culinary masterpiece for us! Exceptional!

The double-edged sword of The Tasting Room by Galliot is the scarcity of guests (four or five tables) and the more than sufficient number o front-line staff (almost as many as the guests). We clearly are benefitting from all those people sitting at slot machines, baccarat and card tables as they generously donate excessive sums of money to the casinos…and subsidise our culinary extravaganza! Xie xie, pengyou!

AMBIENCE

location. Crown Towers Hotel in the City of Dreams, Taipa, Macau. If you are anywhere in Taipa, you can easily walk or hop a courtesy bus to visit.
character and atmosphere. Modern classic feel accentuated by the wonderful walk from the lift to the reception area while reviewing the wines in the floor-to-ceiling glass cellar. Let’s just call it The Walk of Fame!
style and comfort. We consider the sitting and dining room to be THE definition of style and comfort. Generous spacing between tables, exceedingly stylish and comfortable chairs and attention to every detail really makes The Tasting Room a winner from A to Z.
table and glassware. Exceptional!!! Only the best restaurants in the world dedicate as much attention to such details. The Tasting Room rocks in this regard. We registered a complaint to the Chef that he still has not solved the problem of not serving the food on edible dishes…we think a minor, yet worthy of mention, oversight! :p
other guests. Mostly couples, like us. A perfect setting for a romantic dinner despite the fact we were the only people who dressed the part.
ambience rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍👍

SERVICE

booking. We booked directly with Chef Guillaume…good to have friends!
reception. Perhaps because we had the earliest booking or perchance they remembered us, but we were greeted by our names before uttering a word…nice!
floor staff (knowledge and presentation of food, attention to details and awareness of guests). The only appropriate word is “passionate”. They simply share with us a sincere appreciation and love of Chef’s culinary creations.
sommelier, maitre’d, chef, manager. Chef Guillame visited our table to say hello and chat. He truly is a culinary genius! We were impressed with the new sommelier, Mathieu, who demonstrated excellent knowledge and an appreciation for QPR. Given sipping wine is our favourite sport, we were very happy to meet Mathieu.
service rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍👍

FOOD

bread. OMYG!!! Same class as Robuchon and Pierre!
ingredients. Top-shelf.
presentation. Outstanding.
creativity. Exceptional.
taste. Exceptional.
smell. Exceptional.
execution. Perfect.
food rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)👍👍👍👍👍

Eel marinated, avocado sauce and egg mimosa. Exceptional! The eel, marinated in je ne sais quoi yumminess, was a delectable piece, just thick enough and perfectly cooked. The avocado sauce paired beautifully with the eel. Egg mimosa pleasant. Luvly way to start!!!

Kinki fish cooked “à la plancha” Mediterranean vegetables. OMYG! We felt so “kinky” after munching on this stunner Kinki is an awesome fish when cooked properly. Et voila, Chef hit this one out of the park. The baby veggies were excellent.

Slow cooked turbot with zucchini mash Corn and Comté cheese emulsion. Seriously!? The best use of Comté – when not au naturel – that we ever have experienced! OMYG meeting exceptional!!! Pure genius as the Comté emulsion blended beautifully with the turbot. A moment of sheer ecstasy!!!

Grilled lobster in the shell, cauliflower cream light sea food jus. Leave your knife for steak or chicken as this lobster succumbed to our spoon. The jus ranked at the top of OMYG and only was surpassed by the Comté emulsion. Oh, please stop it, Chef!!!

Cheese from Les Frères Marchand. Mimolette and Comté from our favourite French affineur!!! A bit of Chef’s bread and “we were knocking on Heaven’s door”.

The Tasting Room lemon meringue pie. Tres parfait!!!

Petit Fours. Photo speaks volumes!

WINE

selection. Excellent.
variety. Excellent.
value. A touch pricey.
wine rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down) 👍👍👍👍👌

Glass of NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. You cannot go wrong with this bubble!

Bottles of:

2013 Henri Germain et Fils Meursault (Click for photo and additional details). We were searching the wine list for a nice, white Burgundy that would not break the bank. Sommelier Mathieu recommended (thanks!) this “village” wine that presented a vivid yellow reminiscent of a 1er Cru to the eye. Aromas of wet stones with excellent balance. Fresh, crisp and light/medium-bodied on the palate. The wine clearly benefitted from the delicate seafood/fish menu Chef Guillame. Tres parfait!!! A dainty, luvly lady, very good QPR…definitely worth a second date!

2005 Wine & Soul Douro Pintas (Click for photo and additional details). We decided to go off the ranch, so to speak, and sip a Portuguese, rather than expensive Bordeaux, wine. Sommelier Mathieu recommended this most excellent drop…thanks! Dark purple red on the eye…did you say “opaque”? Mysteriously inviting. Mathieu suggested, and we agreed, that decanting was in order given the fairly short time window to sip. Aromas of dark cherries, coffee and chocolate…warm o the nose. Palate of dark fruits, massive tannins and great balance. Long finish that went well with the 30 months Comte. Excellent!

Sommelier Mathieu offered us some complimentary sips of a pleasant Chenin Blanc and Port. Both well-received and went well with the cheese.

MISC

type of cuisine. French.
dress code. Smart casual.
overall rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down) 👍👍👍👍👍

Menu/Price

 

The Tasting Room by Galliot 👍👍👍👍👍
Chef Guillaume Galliot
Level 3, Crown Towers, City of Dreams, Cotai
Macau
http://www.cityofdreamsmacau.com/dining/international/tasting-room

Photos (The Tasting Room by Galliot)

 

Pierre White Truffle Menu 2015 👍👍👍👍👍

We visited Pierre Hong Kong as Chef Pierre Gagnaire was in town presenting his white truffle menu…and to celebrate, yet again, our birthday month!

Pierre Hong Kong, nay, Pierre just about everywhere on the planet (we have visited almost every venue) is the “definition” of fine dining. When it comes to what we call “global celebrity chefs”, only Joel Robuchon can sit in the front seat with Pierre.

Better yet, two friends visited for an after-dinner sip! Very nice!!!

Bottom line: people make Pierre Hong Kong hum. Thanks to Sebastien, Hubert, Gabriel, Chef Pierre, Chef Jean-Denis and all the great people at Pierre Hong Kong…rockstars all!!!

We remain baffled that Pierre Hong Kong only has earned Michelin Two Stars…nonsensical!

AMBIENCE

– location. The always classic and classy Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong in the financial district.
– character and atmosphere. Classic and classy. Not quite the original Pierre in Paris, but a stunner.
– style and comfort. Modern, classical. We love the chairs, which are plush, wide and properly designed for resting one’s arms when the sipping ’n snacking becomes a touch tiring…second wind, if you will!
– table and glassware. Beautiful and perfect. Every glass is chosen specifically for the wine.
– other guests. A blend of locals, local foreigners and hotel guests.
– ambience rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)
👍👍👍👍👍

SERVICE

– booking. We know the manager, and we booked directly.
– reception. Professional and friendly. We have not visited in several months. The first time ever we were not greeted by name. Never mind…that is our error.
– floor staff (knowledge and presentation of food, attention to details and awareness of guests). Everyone is well-versed with the ingredients, preparation and TLC that is uniquely Pierre. We can feel the staff really believe in Chef Pierre, his style and his passion for creating some of the best dishes on the planet. Folks, it is a great feeling to be with people who really love their jobs and work with passion!
– sommelier, maitre’d, chef, manager. Hubert is a most excellent Sommelier, who enjoys the challenge of choosing the right wines for discerning, non-label driven clients. Sebastien is a thoroughly professional and fun-loving Restaurant Manager, who meets, greets and treats all his diners like family. Gabriel is the new Assistant Manager, who recently parachuted into Hong Kong from Kitchin in Edinborough where we first met him last year…top-shelf fella! Chef Pierre Gagnaire…enough said! Chef Jean-Denis arrived in Hong Kong two years ago from Sketch, Pierre’s restaurant in London, and he has been wowing the local crowds ever since landing.
– service rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)
👍👍👍👍👍

FOOD

– bread. To die for and only second – very close second – to Joel Robuchon.
– ingredients. Chef Jean-Denis explained to us in detail from where he bought every element of our menus. He has researched, spoken with and, in many cases, visited every supplier. When he speaks about them, you just have to put down your fork, knife, glass and jaw…passion!
– presentation. The staff know the dishes inside and out. They love to present them in a way that is befitting of the cuisine’s lofty standards.
– creativity. THE definition.
– taste. Glorious.
– smell. Equally glorious.
– execution. They never skip a beat!
– food rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)
👍👍👍👍👍

Amuse Bouche with tuna carpaccio and sea urchins. Melted in your mouth yummy, delicate and fresh.

One of us, who loves everything truffles, went for the menu that included the following doused with more shavings of the little mushrooms than you could shake a stick at:

* Velvety of pumpkin, milky box with garlic, gnocchi and cream of spinach with parmesan cheese. Beautiful contrasting colours. Creamy and smooth, gnocchi was perfectly prepared…Pierre mastering even Italian cuisine!

* Corolla of scallops with a veil of lard di Colonnata, tomato dices, artichokes. Yet again, cooked to perfection. Good play on textures. Stunning aromas…perhaps the truffles?

* Breast of farm hen roasted, onion fondue from Italy, dry Paris mushrooms and raisins. We were pretty full by now, but the smell and flavour of this dish compelled usto finish every single piece and every drop of sauce. Chicken was, yet again, perfectly cooked (it must be “boring” to be so good) and melted in your mouth. Sweetness of raisins with the onion fondue resulted in each bite being that much more succulent. OMYG!

Dessert, in uniquely Pierre style, of:

* Iced of green apples with mint, syrup of rocket. Gorgeous presentation, interesting blend of flavours but not exactly what we look for in dessert.

* Shortbread amandine, jelly of pink grapefruit with passion fruit. Great creamy texture with crunchy shortbread. A bit too sweet for our palates.

* Creamed of chestnuts, veil of hojicha tea, coulis of prune. Fun, but we have never been fans of prunes.

* Vanilla parfait, autumn coulis. (with roasted truffle). Tres yummy

Chef Jean-Denis, recognising truffles are not for everyone, designed the following menu for the philistine at the table:

  • Grilled langoustine “Dundee Peeky” potato chip with lard di colonnade and sate. A stunning langoustine grilled to perfection. It almost melted in our mouths. You could cut the succulent meat with a butter knife, nay, spoon. OMYG!

  • Dover sole Meuniere, stuffed with slow-simmered spinach/chorizo/grilled Paris mushrooms and champagne sauce (Ruinart Blanc de Blancs). Perfectly cooked, yet again, with a wonderful blend of flavours from the spinach, chorizo and grilled Paris mushrooms. OMYG! Seriously, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs for the champagne sauce!? Chef does not mess around!!! Only complaint: the portion was too big!

  • Risotto with parmesan, velvety of spinach. Parfait preparation worthy of the best Italian Chefs we know. The parmesan was huge, but blended well with the spinach. OMYG! Only complaint, once again, the portion was too big!

  • Cheese assortment from the master refiner Bernard Anthony. 19 Michelin three star restaurants (and a fascinating list of two and one star places virtually everywhere but the USA…crazy Yanks!) present the mastery of Maison Anthony so, well, the assortment did not suck. Sadly, the portion was far too much and we departed sadly leaving a few specks behind. Every cheese was perfect and paired with some little jellies and jams to match. Bread, of course, too good. Photos speak volumes!!!

* Ossau Iraty, Ewe’s Milk from the Basque country

* Bonde de Gatine, Goat’s milk from Poitou region

* Tomme de manigodine, Cow’s milk from Manigod village in the French Alps

* Vacherin du mont d’or, Cow’s milk from Haut doubs

* Coulommier, Cow’s milk from Seine et Marne region

* Beaufort, Cow’s milk ( Made during Summer) from French Alps

Our only complaint regarding the food was the portions. When did Pierre start to serve Yank Super-Size portions? Hmmm…

WINE

– selection. Excellent.
– variety. Excellent, but we only focus on French when in a French restaurant…a tradition we maintain, i.e. wine to match the cuisine…geographically, culturally, etc.
– value. Expensive. The markups range as high as 4x. We knocked down the rating a bit because of the markups…and the fact only Robuchon Hong Kong and Macau deserve five thumbs up.
– wine rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)
👍👍👍👍👌.

Complimentary glasses of:

NV Ruinart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut. Amazing when sipping this glass second after the 2004 Fleury Bolero…our own blend, if you like ;-)! Ruinart EVERYTHING is always a good start to any event. The Blanc de Blancs Brut is not exception. Golden yellow with hints of green. Citrus and tropical fruits. Slightly bubbly bubble. Long, refreshing and vivid finish

2004 Fleury Pere & Fils Champagne Bolero. Vivid, dark gold on the eye. 100% Pinot Noir very evident on the nose. Dry, ripe fruits, black currant and a touch of caramel on the palate. Slightly tangy finish. Amazing when sipping this glass first and following with the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs…our own blend, if you like ;-)! Barely legal, she will blossom into a full-bodied, swaggering “wine” in the next five years or so.

Bottles of:

2013 Domaine Berthoumieu Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Sec Les Pierres de Grés. We decided to go “off the range” for some wines less sipped and, with the assistance of Hubert the Top-Shelf Sommelier, we went down this path. Happy! Dark bronze yellow. Thick peach and pear nectar aromas with white flowers. Texture of honey, caramel butter. Dry. Smooth and nicely balanced. Slightly sour, short finish. Great QPR.

2010 Château Lamartine Cahors Expression. Ruby dark red. Rustic and ripe fruits on the nose. Mochaccino, heavier on the chocolate with caramel as well on the nose. Alcohol still present after nearly two hours decanted. 14%. Massive tannins. Huge ripe red fruits. Touch of oak. Nice balance. Long silky finish. Excellent! Great QPR.

MISC

  • type of cuisine. French.
  • dress code. Smart casual.
  • overall rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)
    👍👍👍👍👍.

Menu/Price

Pierre
Chef Pierre Gagnaire 👍👍👍👍👍
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
25/F, 5 Connaught Road
Hong Kong
http://pierre-gagnaire.com/#/pierre/ambiance_pierre

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong 👍👍👍👍👍

When Chef Joel Robuchon visits Hong Kong, we visit L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon aka Joey’s Place. We think he is one of the two best celebrity chefs on the planet (Pierre Gagnaire is the other). Yet again, he did not disappoint!!!

AMBIENCE

  • – location. In the heart of the City.
    – character and atmosphere. Professional, but fun.
    – style and comfort. We think the L’Atelier concept is outstanding as we enjoy seeing the chefs at work.
    – table and glassware. Top-shelf. Only complaint is we cannot eat the dishes! We always inform Chef Robuchon this is his failing…initially lost in the translation, he now smiles every time we mention it to him.
    – other guests. Mostly business people.
    – ambience rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)

SERVICE

  • – booking. Carl, now moving up the rank of the Robuchon empire in Greater China, still remembers us and arranged the booking of “our corner”. He is a supreme professional.
    – reception. Excellent. How do they always remember us when we only visit 2 or 3 times per year? A great reception is a perfect way to start a four hour lunch.
    – floor staff (knowledge and presentation of food, attention to details and awareness of guests). They really know the Robuchon menu. You can feel the passion. When the entire floor staff sang happy birthday, we had to smile.
    – sommelier, maitre’d, chef, manager. Davide (Executive Chef), Anthony (Manager) and Terrence (Sommelier) always take great care of us.
    – service rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)

FOOD

  • – bread. THE best on the the planet.
    – ingredients. Top-shelf.
    – presentation. Staff know their stuff.
    – creativity. THE definition.
    – taste. Top-shelf.
    – smell. Top-shelf.
    – execution. Perfect.
    – food rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)

Quinoa, golden pastry and smooth smoked piquillo. Pleasant amuse bouche, crunchy on the outside and soft and smooth on the inside. Piquillo did not make much of a debut, which sadly made this a relatively ordinary tasting morsel.

Seasonal mushrooms on potato seaweed emulsion with blinq blossom. Joey never ceases to amaze when taking something simple like mushrooms and flavouring the same with an edible flower that offers a unique herb-like experience. Stunning OMYG dish!!!

Homemade crispy pork sausages with edamame and cep mushrooms. Really? The edamame went beautifully with the crispy on the outside and delicate pork on the inside. Excellent.

Pan-seared Hokkaido scallops with green curry and coriander sauce, squid ink farfalle. Perfectly prepared meaty scallop, a touch too much salt, spectacular blend of flavours with the coriander offering smoothness to the curry. A winner from A to Z!

Pan-fried John Dory with lime, tomato and coriander. We really are beginning to love coriander wherever you put it. On a perfectly pan-fried John Dory? Magic!!!

Ricotta and spinach ravioli with poached egg and Alba white truffle. Well, truffles are truffles, but really this ravioli on its own was beautiful! Nice!!!

Crispy langoustine papillote with basil. A long-time favourite that never disappoints. One of the dishes we miss everyday we do not have it!

Mashed potatoes. Like the bread, the best on the planet!!!

WINE

  • – selection. Outstanding. Second only to Joey’s Place Macau
    – variety. Outstanding. Second only to Joey’s Place Macau
    – value. Basically, a 3x markup, which we expect in this sort of establishment. Only makes us work harder to find the best value.
    – wine rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)

1996 Andre Beaufort Champagne Polisy, (click for photo) élaborée par Jacques Beaufort. WOTN. We started our four hour liquid lunch at Robuchon Hong Kong aka Joey’s Place with this heretofore unknown champagne…and we were delighted!!! The sommelier was impressed with the choice…sadly this did not reflect intelligence, but simply one of the few producers on the list we had not yet tried. Dark, yellowish-gold with virtually no bubbles (served in a white Burgundy glass) on the eye…very inviting. Aromas of super-ripe pears and green apples with hints of luvly toasty, creamy vanilla. Silky smooth on the palate and reasonably dry…we would prefer a little drier, but no complaints. Given we were lunching at a Michelin Three Star restaurant, we were not unhappy with the price.

2009 Frédéric Magnien Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru (click for photo). Our second wine of the afternoon at Robuchon Hong Kong aka Joey’s Place was a stunner! Yet again, we chose because we had never tried Frederic Magnien‘s Corton-Charlemagne aka Corton Chuckie. Fairly transparent yellow screaming at us “hey, I am too young to show you mine.” C’est la vie! We let her warm-up a bit and the toasted vanilla cream subtly attacked our noses. Beautiful! A touch light on the palate, this dahlin’ will be singing a different song in a few years…we expect it to be all about that bass, little treble by that time. Long, lingering, a touch tart finish. A winner and, yet again, our research of Robuchon Hong Kong’s fantabulous wine list (http://www.robuchon.hk/media/pdf/latelier_winelist.pdf) yielded a fairly reasonable price. Get this, if for some insane reason the Hong Kong list does not meet your requirements, then with 2 to 3 weeks notice you can order a bottle from the 16,200 labels available at Robuchon Macau. Oooweebaby…truly crazy fun and we want to party with anyone thinking the Hong Kong list is insufficient!

2006 Alain Hudelot-Noellat Clos Vougeot Grand Cru (click for photo). Our third wine of the afternoon at Robuchon Hong Kong aka Joey’s Place was another stunner! Yet again, we chose because we had heard of, but never tried, Alain Hudelot-Noellat. Our research the night before, yet again, impressed the sommelier as he loves this wine…and the price, albeit high, was only 2x retail!!! Light cherry red on the eye. Aromas of wet forest (sous bois) coupled with soft, still ripening berries of all sorts. the palate was light with subtle tannins, nice fruit and great balance. We think quite a few more years to go for this barely legal university senior to become the runway model she has been promising to become! Very nice, albeit a little bit over-shadowed by the strength of the Corton-Charlemagne we had just before.

2005 Remoissenet Père et Fils Clos de la Roche Grand Cru(click for photo). Our final wine of the afternoon at Robuchon Hong Kong aka Joey’s Place was massive! We chose because we had enjoyed Remoissenet Pere et Fils wines in the past…top-shelf Burgundy producer. Equally, great vintage, albeit we can testify that she really needs a few more years to sashay down your palate. Dark purple red on the eye happily alerted us to the Mack Truck we would be sipping. Super wet forest (sous bois) on the nose was tres inviting…fortunately, we had decanted at the beginning of lunch as the three hours of air was fundamental! Great integration of the barrel with the fruit and acidity…stunner!!! A tres parfait way to end our four hour lunch!!!

MISC

  • – type of cuisine. French.
    – dress code. Smart casual.
    – overall rating (1 to 5 thumbs up/down)
  • Menu/Price

 

Check out other Joel Robuchon‘s experiences

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon 
www.robuchon.hk
Chef Joël Robuchon
Shop 401, The Landmark
16 Des Voeux Road Central
Hong Kong

GastroNaughties’ Restaurant Ratings Criteria

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Amuse Bouche – Quinoa, golden pastry and smooth smoked piquillo
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Pan-seared Hokkaido scallops with green curry and coriander sauce, squid ink farfalle
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Ricotta and spinach ravioli with poached egg and Alba white truffle
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Seasonal mushrooms on potato seaweed emulsion with blinq blossom
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Crispy langoustine papillote with basil
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Homemade crispy pork sausages with edamame and cep mushrooms
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Pan-fried John Dory with lime, tomato and coriander
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong
Cheese Platter