The fine-dining world has long worshipped at the altar of indulgence, but at Hong Kong’s Amber, it’s farewell to butter and so long to refined sugar. The lauded restaurant relaunched after a large-scale renovation and total menu revamp that sees its focus shifting to lighter fare.
The new dishes mirror a trend seen at other noted fine-dining establishments globally, such as the veg-forward abcV in New York, or London’s aqua kyoto with its own urban farm for the GMO-free and organic Home-Grown menu.
At the pared-back Amber, located at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in the Central neighbourhood, the food looks to “restore flavours to their purest essence, unadulterated by the usual tricks of the trade,” expounds culinary director Richard Ekkebus. “Where salt is needed, it’s distilled from natural umami through ingredients such as seaweed or techniques like fermentation.”
“What I’m taking on are our long-held notions of what haute cuisine is,” Ekkebus continues. “The focus should not be on what we’re taking away, but what we’re giving back: a new way to experience food and an overall sensation of lightness after an indulgent meal.”
Look forward to homemade silken tofu and heirloom tomatoes with salted sakura and virgin almond oil; or Longgang chicken with baby aubergine, maitake mushrooms, buckwheat and tarragon – rest assured, it’s all less 1 complicated than it actually sounds.
Top chefs across the world are closing their successful restaurants, perhaps taking a cue from elBulli, the Spanish trailblazer that closed at the height of its fame in 2011. Recent closures include André Chiang’s Restaurant André in Singapore in 2018 and Dani García’s eponymous establishment in southern Spain this year, with Gaggan Anand’s Bangkok joint soon to follow. Whether it’s the pressure to constantly develop new concepts, or just creative stagnation, the trend spells only good news for diners. García is now working on Iris, set to open at the Four Seasons Madrid later this year, Chiang now does fiery dishes at Macau’s Sichuan Moon, while Anand will team up with chef Takeshi “Goh” Fukuyama for a project in Fukuoka in 2021.
This article was originally published in the August 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine