Rating: ★★★☆☆
Address: 2/F, Carfield Commercial Building, 77 Wyndham Street, Central 中環雲咸街77號嘉兆商業大廈2樓
Telephone: 2530 1600
http://www.diningconcepts.com.hk/laris/index.php

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我向來都很喜歡Dining Concepts的餐廳,最近他們和澳洲籍名廚David Laris合作在雲咸街開了一間叫Laris的餐廳,主要供應現代澳洲及地中海料理。室內裝修挺豪華,有皮椅和一個大雲石廚房檯面,但空間細小,覺得有點逼。食物方面,菜式有創意,味道都可以,但份量很少,我吃了三道菜也不太夠飽。晚餐有一個8道菜的Tasting Menu,每位$788,聽朋友說份量也不是太大。

Dining Concepts is well-known for their brilliant collaborations with celebrity chefs, such Vi Cool with Sergi Arola, Lupa and Carnevino with Mario Batali and Il Molo with Michael White (see my review here). Their latest venture, located in the prime location of Wyndham Street, is a partnership with David Laris, an Australian chef and the brains behind many renowned restaurants in Shanghai, including Twelve Chairs, The Fat Olive and The Purple Onion.

Laris is David’s first foray into the Hong Kong dining scene, and with his Australian and Greek heritage he has created a modern menu incorporating Australian and Mediterranean flavours. The restaurant is bright and luxurious, with round-backed seats, a marble kitchen countertop and a large glass window overlooking the Old Central Police Station. The staff were knowledgeable and helpful, but the tables were placed too closely together for such an upscale restaurant. I went there for lunch with two colleagues, and tried their set lunch at $138 for 2 courses and $178 for 3 courses. The price is quite reasonable for a high-end restaurant in Central, but the portions were not robust. A few of my friends tried the 8-course tasting menu for dinner at $788 per person, but apparently the portions verged on the ungenerous too.

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A warm, crispy baguette was served, and the garlic butter spread was moreish.

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(1) The Leek tart with brie cheese served with rocket salad and aged balsamic toffee arrived first, and it was alluring, with the meltingly smooth brie cheese adding richness to the warm leek tart.

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(2) The Hand cut New Zealand ocean beef tartar with crostini, apple mustard and slow cooked egg had a serene presentation, but tasted rather ordinary. Even though the translucent slow cooked egg looked beautiful, the apple mustard was too mild to lift the flavours of the tartare; this dish needed a bit more zing.

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(3) The New Zealand Grass fed burger, Fontina cheese and truffle aioli served with potato croquettes followed. We were told that it was cooked to medium rare, but it was actually more like medium. The beef patty was thick and sizeable, and the burger was hearty and satisfying. The potato croquettes (not chips) were gorgeous – crunchy on the surface and powdery and fluffy in the middle, it was just the perfect companion for the burger.

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(4) The Jumbo lump crab cake with sweet corn puree and fresh made coleslaw was also outstanding. Large, fresh strands of crab meat filled the crab cake, and the coleslaw on the side was crunchy and refreshing.

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(5) Lastly, I also enjoyed the House made green pea and ricotta ravioli with sage and brown butter sauce. The ravioli was appropriately al dente, and the green pea and ricotta filling was smooth and sensuous. The brown butter sauce, though a little heavy, tasted delicious, and the shaved Parmesan cheese and the cherry tomatoes added a variety of flavours to the pasta.

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(6) We tried the Blood orange panacotta with orange jelly and almond crumble for dessert. While the taste of blood orange was fresh and invigorating, and the orange jelly added a bright citrus note, the panacotta was not creamy or rich enough to counteract the dessert’s fruity flavours.

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Conclusion: The execution of some of the dishes could be fine-tuned, and the small portions and crammed seating may cast doubt on whether the prices could be justified. Having said that, the contemporary menu was playful and inspiring, and all in all, Laris is a sophisticated restaurant and a welcomed addition to Wyndham Street.