It's hard to describe the feeling I get when I finish a phenomenal meal where everything exceeds my expectations.
Our dinner at Arcane, a European restaurant in Central, was just that. Bryan had picked the restaurant after seeing it in the Michelin Guide (1 star). I'm typically a bit wary of European, especially French, restaurants. I often find them too rich for my personal taste, especially when there's lots of butter, foie gras, and meat involved. However, I was pleasantly surprised and delighted with the food at Arcane.
Despite using French techniques, Chef Shane Osborn focuses on showcasing the flavors of quality ingredients imported from Japan, the UK, and France. Additionally, he grows herbs, fruits, and vegetables on his outdoor terrace. Even dishes that seem like they should be rich are balanced. Chef Osborn uses refined techniques to allow the innate qualities of the ingredients to shine.
Chef Shane Osborn is originally from Australia and was the first Australian chef to achieve one and two Michelin stars at Pied-a-Terre in London (a place I visited five years ago on a business trip). He opened up his own place in Hong Kong in November 2014.
The servers are great here and really know the menu. Our server recommended the Lightly Smoked Saba Mackerel which came with an herb mayonnaise, empire leaf and Japanese daikon [HKD268].
I had originally been wary of the dish because I thought the "herb mayonnaise" would be too rich. I was so wrong. This dish was absolutely incredible. I was floored by the quality of the saba, which was up there with what you'd get at a top sushi restaurants (something I usually don't expect!). Furthermore, the combination of the lightly salted and smoked saba mackerel together with the herb mayo, empire leaf, and Japanese daikon was exquisite.
The presentation of the next dish almost took my breath away - it was so pretty. This light dish consisted of Japanese Fruit Tomato with burrata, basil pesto, celtuce and green olive. [HKD258] The tomatoes were the star of this dish and Chef Osborn really brought out and complemented their natural flavors with the other components of the dish.
The Sautéed Potato Gnocchi is a signature dish and comes with with charred Cévenne onion (sweet onions from the South of France), morel and shiitake mushroom duxelle (finely chopped), and grated Parmesan cheese. The potato gnocchi were simply a joy to eat. I loved how they were pan fried and browned on both sides yet retained their soft insides.
You can get this either as a starter [HKD 218] or as a main dish [HKD 328]. We ended up sharing a main dish sized portion, which they kindly split for us into two portions.
We ended by sharing the Loin of Wild Venison [HKD 508], which came with celeriac, girolle (chanterelle) mushroom, chestnut, salsify (a root vegetable),bacon, plus a port jus. The meat was beautifully tender and the overall flavors were really nice.
The signature Lemon Tart was very good - not too sweet!
We ended with a perfectly-made canelé (a Bordeaux invention!).
Arcane Hong Kong - General Thoughts
There are not enough nice things I can say about Arcane Hong Kong. We had a fantastic meal paired with excellent wine. The restaurant is quite well-known for its extensive wine collection, which includes a number of nice burgundies. The food is elegant, refined, and really showcases the beautiful flavors from the ingredients. Definitely get the gnocchi and (if it's available), and the saba mackerel. Order a nice bottle of wine, and sit back and enjoy the meal.
Perhaps it's not a surprise that I enjoyed this place. It has a Michelin Star and is also on the World's 50 Best list as part of The Diners Club® 50 Best Discovery Series, which are restaurants deemed "the next generation of dining destinations."
Portion sizes are not that big and the prices are on the high side. Expect to spend HKD 700 - HKD 1000 per person. Personally, I like the smaller portions and I think the quality more than makes up for it.
All in all, this is a great restaurant and I highly recommend it!
Arcane Hong Kong
18 On Lan Street
Central, Hong Kong
This is the fortieth post in the updated #50Postsin50Days – Take 2 Challenge. Other posts in this series will be added to the bottom of the original post.