Address: 22/F, The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai 灣仔軒尼詩道256號The Hennessy 22樓
Telephone: 2891 3666
Opened in 2009 by the chef and sommelier who left Petrus, Amuse Bouche is a sleek, modernistic French restaurant located in Wanchai. With floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the breathtaking city view and a main dining area on a raised platform which can be closed off to form a private dining room, the decor of the restaurant is opulent without being stuffy. This small restaurant can only accommodate up to around 60 diners, but with the help of the chef’s sommelier background, it boasts an utterly extensive wine list. If you are not a fan of the sometimes baffling “contemporary” or “fusion” cuisine, this restaurant is for you, as the French cuisine here stays true to traditional recipes, except with the incorporation of some Asian or local ingredients.
The prices at Amuse Bouche are almost comparable with the prices at hotel restaurants, with a four-course menu at $690, a five-course menu at $840 and an eight-course menu at $1,080. As my friends and I could not handle a big meal that day, we ordered from the à la carte menu and we each paid around $800 (including service charge), sharing the dessert and a bottle of wine. The service at the restaurant failed to justify the price tag – the staff, while courteous enough, could have been more attentive and polished.
A bread basket was brought to our table only after some nudging, but it was worth the wait, as the bread was fine and soft and the poppy seed breadsticks were particularly delightful.
(1) The restaurant’s namesake, an amuse bouche of melon, Japanese octopus and yoghurt sauce, wielded a combination of light, refreshing flavours and was a nice prelude to our dinner.
(2) The 48 months aged Jamon Iberico de Bellota from La Prudencia ($490), even though expensive, was a real treat, and each morsel of the top-shelf ham was exquisite.
(3) The Mesclun salad with home-made black truffle vinaigrette ($190) tasted terrific, with the delicate and crisp salad perfectly lifted by the extravagant taste of the black truffle vinaigrette.
(4) The arrival of the Tuscan artisanal pasta with black truffle and chicken gravy ($260) divided our table into two camps: the cheese lovers, and the cheese haters. The al dente pasta was brilliantly souped in an intense, pungent cheese sauce, and it was the most scrumptious appetiser to me ever. I believe it is not difficult to guess to which camp I belong!
(5) Moving on to main courses, the Duck confit served with sautéed potatoes and herb salad, with duck jus ($350) was spot-on. The strands of duck meat underneath the crispy skin were tender and packed with flavours, and the sautéed potatoes were soft and fluffy.
(6) The Baked Boston lobster with seasonal vegetables and crustacean broth ($460) was startlingly fresh and bursting with flavours. The delicious broth tasted of the ocean, and the lobster and the shell pasta were impeccably cooked.
(7) The Pan-fried Chilian Sea Bass with sea urchin, broccolini and pesto risotto ($430) was visually pleasing, but was rather confusing taste-wise. While the sea bass was gorgeously grilled on the surface, the addition of sea urchin on top of the fish left us confused. The pesto risotto was creamy and delectable, but the serving was so small that we had trouble picking it up with a spoon and it also turned cold very quickly.
(8) The meats in the Roasted Iberico pork loin and slow cooked Hokkaido pork belly with baby spinach and black truffle ($450) were fabulously cooked, but we would not vouch for the use of black truffle in this dish as it seemed to have distracted, rather than added, to the pork’s vibrant flavours.
(9) The Roasted Aveyron lamb rack crusted with walnut and truffled saddle, eggplant caviar, cepes mushrooms, artichoke and a natural jus ($580) was an accomplished dish – the lamb was excellently tender and the dish was overall satisfying.
(10) For desserts, we ordered the Baked Alaska with dark chocolate coulis ($120) to share, but it turned out to be mildly disappointing – the mango’s intense sweetness overwhelmed the dessert’s delicate taste, the sponge cake at the bottom was a tad dry and the egg white could have been more voluminous for a better visual effect.
Conclusion: Mirror Restaurant, run by owner-chef Jeremy Biasal (see my review here), and Amuse Bouche are two of the classiest and most sophisticated French restaurants in Wanchai. The service at Amuse Bouche was unassuring and the cuisine reeked of inconsistency; however, there were some truly outstanding dishes at our meal, and the restaurant has a prime location as well as an impressively elegant decor. If the kitchen could do some fine-tuning, we would gladly become regular customers of this smart and stylish restaurant.