We had several months of calm in between September and November when Covid cases in Hong Kong were relatively low. Bryan's birthday happened to be right around that time, so we were actually able to celebrate his birthday, in small groups, with several different sets of friends. One of the last places we visited that birthday week was Roganic in Hong Kong.
Roganic Hong Kong is the second location of British chef Simon Rogan's original Roganic in London. Both Roganics achieved Michelin stars in record time - in less than one year.
Roganic Hong Kong has a gorgeous dining space with cozy banquettes and artfully placed decorations. However, because we were still a bit skittish about Covid, we opted for a private dining room, which happened to be available that day.
Roganic is known for its excellent cocktails, and the bartender came in and asked us what kind of flavors we liked.
Bryan said, “surprise us!”
After asking us a few questions about what we liked to drink, he came back with a cocktail made with pear 🍐brandy, a cherry skin "leather" candy (kind of like a fruit rollup), sparkling wine, and an old French root bitter.
"What is this cocktail called?"
The bartender laughted and said "what are your names?"
After we told him he said, "well then, it’s called the Jen and Bryan Cocktail".
We soon began with various bites. Although I don’t typically like liver very much, I was blown away by this fantastic first bite: Buttermilk Waffle topped with a luxurious chicken liver hazelnut whipped parfait and a cranberry sauce. It was fantastic! The cranberry cut the richness of the creamy liver parfait. Overall it was delicious - not overly rich but instead a balanced mix of intense, rich, sweet, and bright, all at the same time.
Goat Cheese Tart, made with Ragstone (an English goat's milk cheese), pickled onion and shallot confit was delicate, refined, and a lovely single bite.
Roganic focuses on farm to table dining, and farm fresh vegetables can really be seen in this next course, Late Season Tomato, which is made with locally grown tomatoes (Hong Kong's New Territories!) and topped with cod roe, linseed, and a variety of herbs and flowers from the farm.
I love how Roganic uses local Hong Kong vegetables, such as this refreshing pea soup made with Hong Kong peas, elderflower radish, and watermelon snow.
I love vegetables and L'Arpege in France is one of my favorite high-end, vegetable-obsessed restaurants. Roganic is similar in its focus on farm vegetables, and we saw this especially in its first several courses. For our next course, we enjoyed a brined cabbage topped with a fresh mussel, dill oil, and a kale chip.
The exploration of vegetables continued with a focus on the glorious Maitake Mushroom (otherwise known as hen-of-the-woods). Here, the mushroom came with whey, a celeriac buttermilk foam, and shaved dried salted duck egg powder. The mushroom was actually a bit sweet though it still kept its deep, earthy flavor. Overall, it was a very nice dish.
We began our "main courses" with a single piece of perfectly poached salmon fillet. The salmon came with roasted leeks, roasted walnuts, and a baked potato foam. The roasted, ever-so-slightly charred leeks were fantastic. Similarly, the salmon was perfectly cooked and had an almost raw, super soft texture.
Hong Kongers are very particular about their chicken, and the locally produced chicken is top notch.
A quick interesting story about Hong Kong chickens. Hong Kong used to import live chickens from the Mainland. Once the Avian flu started hitting, Hong Kong phased out the chicken imports and since 2016, produces all of its live chickens locally. Yellow chicken is well known in Hong Kong and more recently has become quite popular on high-end restaurant menus throughout the city. Foreign chefs are starting to really appreciate the quality of this particular local ingredient.
Roganic prepares this local yellow chicken three ways: lightly poached (or sous vide?) chicken breast; chicken skin crisped up and placed on top of sweet corn; and a stuffed chicken wing. We could enjoy the chicken with multiple layers of sauces (chicken jus, corn purée, and chili oil). The dish was beautifully balanced and superbly executed.
Palate Cleansing . . .
We cleansed our palates and got ready for dessert with this refreshing caramelized yogurt and dill cornet.
Only mysteriously called The Roganic, this signature dessert is meant to look like a gold coin filled with caramelized white chocolate and mousse inside.
The server poured a fig leaf and pear oil table side.
For our second dessert we enjoyed a bee pollen and chamomile cake with hay and strawberries.
Finally, freshly fried beignets, i.e. sugar dusted doughnuts.
Coffee + Doughnuts! I got a decaf coffee, Bryan got a double espresso.
General Thoughts - Roganic Hong Kong
I absolutely loved our meal at Roganic Hong Kong. It’s not surprising, considering that I really enjoy dining at restaurants that focus on vegetables, especially those that find creative ways of bringing flavor out of local vegetables. I especially liked the fact that a large portion of the tasting menu was actually vegetables and lighter seafood. in fact there was only salmon and chicken and no red meat whatsoever.
Not only that, Simon Rogan is an expert at bringing the flavors out of these vegetables, and each of these dishes was a joy to eat. Furthermore, the service was warm and friendly, and the staff were very attentive despite the fact that we were tucked away in a private dining room.
The only small downside of our dining experience was that the private room was not nearly as beautiful as the main dining room, and frankly speaking, the ambience (and view) were pretty ordinary. I look forward to the day when we can go back and safely dine in the main dining room again.
I came away from that meal feeling happy, satisfied, and just good overall. I very quickly told Bryan that I wanted to come back again, maybe even for my birthday.
Right now unfortunately because of the pandemic all restaurants in Hong Kong have to close or only do take-out after 6PM. Roganic is offering various take-away or delivery options, including a special Christmas take away meal which involves turkey and other fun fixings. We just might try that.
We try our best to support restaurants during this difficult time!
Roganic Hong Kong
UG08, Sino Plaza,
255 Gloucester Rd,
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong