Fans of the elegant and whimsical cooking of chef Vicky Lau will want to make a beeline to one-Michelin-starred Tate Dining Room this month for the celebrated chef’s brand new seasonal menu. This fall, Lau reflects back to her roots with a menu themed ‘Ode to Hong Kong’, celebrating the local cuisine that’s long represented a significant and dominant thread in her cross-cultural culinary style.
Like previous menus, Lau presents her fall menu as a series of ‘Edible Stories’: her signature French-Chinese style weaved into a sumptuous 8-course degustation all themed around ‘Odes’, which highlight specific ingredients or sources of inspiration. Previous iterations of her seasonally evolving menu have highlighted an intriguing combination of flavours and textures: we especially enjoyed her debut ‘All the Odes‘ menu, where dishes included Japanese fish wreathed in edible flowers and fried Menuke in a silver needle tea-infused broth.
While Lau has always drawn inspiration from her heritage, her new Hong Kong menu represents a culmination of techniques, methods and ingredients gathered throughout her experience of training and cooking as a Chinese chef: expect age-old techniques dug up from the annals of Chinese cooking and nostalgic elements popping up throughout the creative tasting menu.
Priced at HK$1,680 per person, the 8-course journey begins with a bite-sized amuse-bouche of crispy tart with Chinese-inspired drunken sweet shrimp, followed by a smooth parfait paired with Chinese sausage and mango salsa. The conch is a prized ingredient in traditional Chinese cooking; its healing properties are highlighted in the “Ode to Conch”, where the ocean flavour is magnified through umami-rich seaweed jelly and pumpkin puree. Next is the ‘Ode to Pâté en Croûte’, a riff on the classic French dish with fresh abalone and pork topped with Chinese Xiaoxing wine jelly. Those opting for the wine pairing (HK$480 for three glasses, HK$780 for six glasses) will also enjoy an elegant Matsunotsuka Junmai Ginjo sake to pair; sourced from Japan’s Shiga prefecture, the sake offers a crisp and subtly sweet accompaniment to offset the savoury pâté.
As the menu progresses, flavours become increasingly more bold and intricate, from the ‘Ode to Kunquat’, where a sautéed Hokkaido scallop is lifted with kumquat and dried scallop; to the ‘Ode to Turbot’, steamed Brittany turbot served with yellow wine sabayon, Jerusalem artichoke puree, and a tangy lemon jam. For mains, the seafood-centric ‘Ode to Lobster’ does the crustacean justice, served with carrot red bean curd sauce and topped with compressed pineapple; while the ‘Ode to Challans Duck’ embraces the classic combination of figs and duck with a red date compote.
The special wine pairing reinforces flavours throughout the meal with labels heralding from wine regions throughout France and China; kick off your meal with a crisp glass of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs (plus HK$190), then savour the unique vintages hand-picked by the sommelier. The degustation winds up with two impressive desserts, followed by one of the highlights of any meal at Tate: the Petit Fours selection, this time an ‘Ode to Chinoiserie’ with miniature cakes, caramels, lollipops and three different types of bon bons (infused with the flavours of red date, ginseng, and green tea and sesame), all served table-side from the shiny new custom-built trolley.
The 8-course ‘Ode to Hong Kong’ menu is priced at HK$1,680 per person; call +852 2555 2172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.