Just as The Grande Dame of Hong Kong herself is an iconic cultural landmark in the city she calls home, the hotel’s restaurants serve as culinary landmarks in their own right, for local and international gastronomes alike. Standing proudly among the hotel’s iconic culinary offerings is Gaddi’s, the city’s first French fine-dining restaurant which first opened its doors in 1953. But formal appearances can be deceptive, and while dinner and dance to a classic jazz band, and polished vintage silver and Christofle chandeliers provide an inviting air of rarefied elegance, Gaddi’s is rewriting the culinary rulebook with a taste of insouciance, thanks to the talents of maestro Xavier Boyer.
Following a Michelin-starred career that has seen him helm some of the world’s most illustrious kitchens, chef Boyer brings his “modern-classicism” to the venerated French fine-dining institution, with an instructive, less-is-more approach to Haute Cuisine that is drawing fresh critical acclaim to Gaddi’s.
Venerating ingredients that allow the noble flavours of each dish to be revealed, chef Boyer refuses to be pigeon-holed by signature dishes, preferring – for Gaddi’s devotees – to refine dishes until he reaches perfection on a plate, before moving to new seasonal ingredients that take his fancy.
A Gallic chef with a flash of the maverick, the former right hand man of Joel Robochon at the L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurants in Paris, London, New York and Taipei, and the three-Michelin-starred Le Cinq at Four Seasons Georges V in Paris, chef Boyer is loath to hinge his reputation on a fixed repertoire of dishes: “Ask me for my signature dish when I’ve retired and have stopped creating new things,” he quips with a wry smile.
Known for his straightforward approach to haute cuisine, chef Boyer is renowned for his deceptively simple approach to classic French cooking. He is a strong believer in the less-is-more philosophy, preferring to let the ingredients speak for themselves with minimal fuss and a dose of alchemy borne of talent.
Bursting with fragrant flavours of the season, he unveils slow-cooked free-range egg on a white truffle emulsion; steamed sole with lemon butter sauce and assorted shellfish; and Iberico pork pluma with polenta and pork crackers, for a divine autumnal experience. Chef Boyer’s elegantly innovative menus are testament to his both his manual and creative dexterity.
Since taking over the Gaddi’s kitchen in February, chef Boyer has proven himself a worthy successor to the restaurant’s legacy of excellence. Together with a kitchen and service team led by new manager Nikolaos Skarkalis, who hails from a string of Michelin-starred restaurants – including the two-Michelin-starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park, and the two-Michelin-starred Marcus, both in London – chef Boyer and his team are taking Gaddi’s to new heights with a radically redefined simplicity.
This article is sponsored by The Peninsula Hong Kong.