Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hong Kong - Whisk

We were led to our seats by the window at Whisk, where our view were the crystal balls hanging over the dining area of Cuisine Cuisine one level below.  I suppose it's a decent enough idea since the streets of this side of TST aren't that appealing and if you focus on your fellow diners and only watch the dizzying balls once in a while.  Cute way to start the meal and will certainly form a part of the opening conversation for first-timers.

There was some high anticipation since this was Justin's Quek's (of Singapore's Les Amis fame) first foray into Hong Kong.  I always like to order the chef's specialties since if the chef cannot get those right, then it's almost safe to assume that the rest of the menu are write offs anyway.

I generally don't waste time on salads since they take up space and I can do a better salad at home - it's really about the produce.  But the gourmet salad here was marked with a chef's star and so I succumbed.  The combination of artichokes, sweet cherry tomatoes and mangoes with garden greens, topped with aged parmesan and drizzled truffle oil was a fresh start to the meal and was able to entice and excite the palate.

The Chef's selection of appetisers was decent enough but wasn't a wow for me.  My favourite was the beef carpaccio for the quality of the beef - lean and beefy but you can savour it without any effort chewing.  Of the other 3, the foie gras chawanmushi was good but offered no surprise, the artichoke soup was better than expected (probably gifted an extra dimension by the use of mushrooms), and the crab couscous was a weird disappointment.  For those who cannot decide, the selection is still a worthwhile order.

The lobster bisque souffle was unique in its presentation.  Most have had the puff pastry top but the souffle top made for a uniquely fragrant delivery.  The whiff of farm fresh eggs from the souffle was very inviting and I could not wait to sink my spoon into it.  But there was a little bit of an anti-climax since the aroma was the winner.  The bisque was fair but because of the delivery, you would just expect that much more out of the dish.  At the risk of making it overly heavy, a more robust bisque would have been a more worthy match to the souffle top.

The special of the roast sucking pig was as good as I thought it should be.  The crackling was crisp and matched the tenderness of the cut we were given, and a bonus for me was the presence of a little cartilage, to add to the bite.  Pleasantly surprising was none of the piggy gaminess which one might expect from pigs in this region - I forget to ask where the baby pig was from.  Well executed and the balsamic based sauce is a nice way to cut through the otherwise heaviness of the dish.

The highlight of dinner was dessert.  The ultra thin flaky pastry with apples and toasted almonds, topped with custard and delivered in a copper pan, almost pizza style was excellent.

Cut into pizza style wedges and served on a plate with ice cream, it is a delightful way to finish the meal.  Thin and crisp with the moist apple slices in between the pastry and the toasted almonds, drizzled with a custard sauce, a nice contrast of flavours and textures.  2 complaints - the sides were a tad too burnt and the ice cream had the consistency of whipped cream (which I don't fancy) and as a result melted by the time it made it to our table.  Too light, and lent nothing to the almost perfect pastry.  And instead of tasting light, it just tasted a tad oily for me.  While we were assured that the recipe is home-made and natural, my only comment is that each home is different.  In mine, we like our ice cream the traditional creamier way.

Not whisked away, but a floatingly happy experience overall.  Might go back if I'm looking for options in the TST neighbourhood.  It is a nice place to entertain though - quiet enough and the service professional.

5/F, The Mira
118 Nathan Road
Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2315 5999

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