Pierre at Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong: The Must-Try Degustation

Amanda reviews two Michelin starred French restaurant, Pierre, at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star
A Pierre slideshow greets diners
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star chef
The man himself
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star
Red bouquets for Valentine's Day
Perhaps it's a sign of me being in my late 20's - and an acceptance that the uncanny teenage ability to devour huge quantities of food and not put on visible pounds has come and gone - but nowadays I generally avoid degustation menus in favour of a la carte dining. 

As it happened, the hubby and I had no choice but to go with the set degustation dinner when we visited Pierre at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong this past Valentine's Day - happily resulting in one of the most completely satisfying dinners I have had in a while.
Having arrived slightly early, we ordered pre-dinner cocktails at the adjacent M Bar while enjoying an enviable view of Hong Kong's famous skyline. 

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star m bar
M Bar
We preferred the Honeydew Cucumber Sour, which had just the right balance of sweetness and refreshment, over the signature Earl Grey Mar-Tea-Ni, which I found slightly bitter. The cocktails came with an accompaniment of green olives and Sichuan peanuts, and we had to consciously remind ourselves to stop grazing in order to not spoil the gastronomical experience to come. 

It wasn't long before we (and our cocktails) were whisked to our table inside the restaurant. One of the advantages of a degustation is being able to relax immediately and wait for the food! Knowing (and fearing) the possibility of a drawn out meal, we appreciated the big comfy leather dining chairs.

Amuse-Bouche

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star amuse bouche
Amuse bouche selection
We were given not one, but a selection of four amuse-bouches, beautifully presented on white sculptural plates. The highlight for me was the second one, being delightful mouthfuls of sharp cheddar discs. 

The Bread

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star bread

A hallmark of any French restaurant is its bread, and we were each given mini bread baskets with three different bakes. The baguette was crispy on the outside with a slight chewiness on the inside, and the signature oblong brioche was so wonderfully soft and addictive that both the hubby and I asked for one more.

Course 1: Guit-head bream carpaccio, clementine jelly flavoured with sea buckthorn, diced celery / soya / pink radish

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star bream carpaccio
Bream carpaccio
This dish not only looked pretty, but was a well-balanced mix of citrus tangy and sweet which melded well with the thinly sliced bream. I thought it was light and refreshing, and a great start to the meal.

As the hubby is not a fan of raw fish, the restaurant obligingly swapped this starter for a rather rich and earthy dish of black truffle with mushrooms. 

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star starter truffle mushroom
Substitute starter: black truffle and mushroom
Course 2: Scallop souffle, "Dundee-Peeky" spinach and thinly-shredded button mushroom

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star scallop souffle
Scallop souffle
This was a stand-out dish for the hubby (in his words, this was "f***ing awesome"). We loved the lightness and subtlety of the souffle, which packed flavour without the creamy heaviness you might expect from French cuisine. 

Course 3: Grilled Carabineros gambas, burnt onion syrup with carob-bean molasses; "Felicia" salad

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star carabinero prawn
Carabinero prawn
Artistically presented, the Carabineros gambas was beautifully cooked - you could see just a hint of translucence in the flesh of the prawn, which was oh-so-tender and paired strikingly with the burnt onion sauce and singed onions on the plate. I couldn't decipher the ingredients in the "Felicia" salad, which tasted to me like grapefruit droplets, and offered a slight bitterness to the dish, offsetting the sweetness of the onions.

Course 4: Truffled Jerusalem artichoke velvety soup, "Perigueux-style" Brussel sprout; dark chocolate

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star jerusalem artichoke soup
Jerusalem artichoke soup
The brussel sprout leaves were bouncy and chewy, and the dark chocolate added earthy tones to the rich and creamy artichoke soup. For me, this was slightly too creamy at the end and I was struggling to finish the dish.

Course 5: Green Chartreuse granita, caramelised apple ice-cream and Gin-flavoured lime jelly

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star granita
Granita
I loved the wafer thin apple topping the granita, but the strong flavour of the green chatreuse and gin coming through meant one mouthful was enough to cleanse the palate. The hubby didn't like the sourness of this dish, but I found it refreshing.

Course 6: Whole roasted farm hen, breast fillet coated with the gravy flavoured with tamarind, "Jacky" potatoes, Crispy thigh, radicchio puree with hazelnut oil, red endive

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star chicken
Main course
The main course was a well-executed and satisfying dish of succulent and tender chicken, combined with the slight bitterness of the endive, the crispiness of the potato slices, and a hint of Asian fusion through the tamarind sauce tying the elements together.

Course 7: Veil of aged Comte cheese (36 months), laid on walnut flavoured chestnut cream, lamb's lettuce salad

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star cheese and cream

The pre-dessert was a layered dish of finely sliced cheese and nutty cream. We loved the savoury quality of the cheese and the walnut chestnut cream was decadently rich. This was the biggest surprise to me, as I am not a fan of strong cheeses (e.g. goat's cheese), but this was straight-up delicious.

Course 8: Pierre Gagnaire's grand dessert

The grand dessert was a spectacular array of souffle, apple, sorbet, deconstructed Turkish delight and upside-down dark chocolate tart.

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star vanilla black truffle souffle
Vanilla and black truffle souffle
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star dessert
The grand dessert spread
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star turkish delight
Turkish delight
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star vanilla and black truffle souffle
Inside the vanilla and black truffle souffle
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star upside down chocolate tart
Upside-down chocolate tart
The highlight for me was the black truffle speckled vanilla souffle with vanilla bean ice-cream topped with shaved black truffle. So light and fluffy, and still oven-warm - a mouthful of heaven. 

To cap off our degustation journey were Pierre chocolates - jasmine, caramel and mixed nuts. Even after such an indulgent meal, there is always room for chocolate!

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star chocolate
Pierre chocolates
The takeaway

As far as degustations go, the offering at Pierre exceeded our expectations. The artistically modern presentation of the food, the selection of dishes, the ambience and the efficient and amicable service were hard to fault and contributed to a memorable and enjoyable night out.

Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star view
City lights
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star view
View from the Mandarin Oriental
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star view
"Love" in lights
Pierre Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong restaurant french michelin star view


xx Amanda

amanda@lslookbook

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