Sunday, February 5, 2017

High-end Celebration

Ozone may not be the first venue people had in mind when they talk about dining outlets at Ritz Carlton Hong Kong; after all with two Michelin-starred restaurants (Tosca and Tin Lung Heen) and the ever-changing and glamorous afternoon tea at the lounge all under the same roof, it's easy for people to think of Ozone as more a spot for drinking rather than eating. But I have to say, for the few occasions I came here to eat I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of dishes and the overall dining experience. Kudos to Chef Rafael’s team inside the Ozone kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago I was there again, this time to join a group of foodie friends for the private kitchen menu customized by the chef, with many creative dishes drawing inspiration from the Chinese New Year celebration, right in time as we prepared for the most important festival in the traditional calendar. It’s the first time I ate at their private room, located on one end of the dining area with the perfect view of the Victoria Harbor skyline from high above. It’s dazzling, cozy and comfortable.

We began our feast with a cocktail demo by the chef himself, during which he turned the traditional mojito into a wobbling, fizzy “spheres” using the avant-garde culinary technique of spherification combined with carbon dioxide infusion using compressed gas cartridge and a siphon. And we continue with such creative theme throughout the meal along with bold flavors, plus interesting use of ingredients.

Soon a caviar tin arrived in front of us, and inside was wagyu beef diced and served with chopped oyster and a “small” quenelle of Prunier caviar. It was indulging and well-balanced, once I mixed everything up with the “pearl spoon”. The grilled Hokkaido scallops was presented in its own shell, with pea puree underneath, and diced ham and melon foam on top. Didn’t get much taste of the foam with the rest of the ingredients being rich, but overall I thought it tasted fine.

The salmon dish was the course I loved most that evening. Slices of salmon was marinated with gin and pomegranate, giving it a hint of sweetness and pinkish-red tint. Then alongside was the rolled-up cucumber slices, the bright red beetroot espuma underneath, and the olive oil “snow” on top, which was made with a mix of fat stabilizer with extra virgin olive oil, turning it into powder form. The presentation was stunningly beautiful, and I like the sweetness from the pomegranate balanced out some of the earthiness taste from the beetroot.

After the soup course (which was the enoki mushroom consomm√© with foie gras royale), we were served a Spanish-style “Surf and Turf” as our main course. On the plate was a giant piece of Carabineros prawn and suckling pig with crackling served with hoisin sauce. In our culture, suckling pig was often eaten in times of celebration with hoisin sauce being the usual accompaniment, here it’s presented in a whole new different manner. It was delicious.

A few more dessert dishes were served after the main course – all of them well-executed, though I thought the mixed berries dessert stood out, with raspberry jelly served with sable and mascarpone cream, and a quenelle of mixed berries yogurt icecream. Probably more like a summertime dessert, but we were lucky to have fresh and seasonal berries jetted in from the southern hemisphere during winter months.

On the way home I felt a bit depressed after realizing the 4-day long weekend was still a few days away, but in anticipation of all the traditional festivities during Chinese New Year, a decent western-style meal was exactly what I needed, and once again, the dinner at Ozone was well done, both high-end in style and in quality.

(The meal was by invitation and courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong)

When? January 23 2017
Where? Ozone, Level 118, Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon
Menu Highlights? Gin and pomegranate-marinated salmon with beetroot and olive oil
Web: www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/china/hong-kong/dining/ozone

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