I've been wanting to check out Amber for a while now, especially after it was awarded Best Restaurant of the Year in Time Out's 2010 Dining Awards. The descriptions I've read about it - "the best dining experience in the city", "a heaveanly explosion of flavours", "orgasmic" - pretty much sealed the deal.
I was lucky enough to visit last Saturday, a perfect reward after my Equity & Trusts exam. We ordered the degustation menu (8 courses). Unfortunately, the photos I took were on my phone so they don't quite capture how beautiful the presentation was. But hopefully you'll get the general picture :)
We started off with a selection from their bread basket - sampled the mini baguette and the sourdough crisps. I tend to judge a restaurant by the bread it serves and Amber kind of disappointed me. The sourdough crisps were good but the baguette was served cold and I had to douse it in olive oil before it was chewable. (Luckily the olive oil was amazing - I googled it and apparently it's Chateau d'Estoublon. If I had a bottle of this, I wouldn't mind eating salads so much!)
Next up was a selection of amuses-bouche:
foie gras lollipop with raspberry coating
I actually don't like foie gras much so I refrained from trying this, though my friend wasn't a fan.
This soup was really good! It smelt a bit overpowering when it came but after mixing, the taste was actually milder than I expected and very creamy :) Made me miss thanksgiving and pumpkin pie.
There was also an Iberian Pork Croquette which was my favourite of the three. It was a perfect burst-in-your-mouth experience! Unfortunately, the picture I took with my phone came out far too dark :(
hokkaido sea urchin in lobster jello - served with crispy seaweed
One small complaint about the service, though otherwise excellent, was that I did have trouble understanding their explanations of the food. I had to ask the waiters a number of times to repeat what they had said, until I finally gave up and just enjoyed the meal!
I didn't think I liked sea urchin, having only ever eaten it in random Japanese restaurants where the uni was sub-par. However, this dish completely changed my perception. It was creamy, super fresh, and topped with a generous amount of caviar and a gold leaf. The epitome of decadence! Loved the presentation. The seaweed waffles were overly salty though.
tasmanian salmon confit, then smoked
Surprisingly one of the highlights! I loved how you could see the smoke rise when it was brought to the table. Rather theatrical ;) The crust was great - I think it was something like seaweed breadcrumbs? Salmon was perfectly smoked and sooo tender.
normandy diver scallops
Unfortunately, I didn't like this dish. The sauce was a bit too sweet and overpowering - tasted almost like cha siu sauce! And I've eaten better scallops.
langoustine & foie gras - steamed with mushrooms
Yummy! I think this might actually be the first time I've tried langoustine. Definitely my favourite of the two mains.
kagoshima wagyu beef
Hm... this was okay. Cooked to the medium rare I requested but nothing blew me away. Definitely would not pay $1388 for the dish alone.
blood orange segments, preserved skin & rosemary, prepared with greek yoghurt as a vacherin 'coque'
I had to poach that description from Amber's menu because I couldn't for the life of me catch what my waiter was trying to say. This was my favourite dish!!! We were encouraged to smash it so we could scoop up all the flavours in one go. I personally think the smashed version looks better:
Absolutely delicious! The minute I tasted it, it felt like Christmas. Maybe it was something about the colours, the slight undertones of peppermint, the fact that it kinda sparkles in your mouth! Put a huge smile on my face. I've never had anything quite like it.
85% chocolate souffle with cacao sorbet
This didn't blow me away to be honest. It was quite ordinary, though I liked the addition of the rum anglaise poured in. Also disliked the sorbet, though my friend happily polished it off for me. Maybe I was too excited by the previous dessert that this one was a bit of a let down.
All in all, I did enjoy my meal at Amber. The ambiance was great and I loved the interior design. It wasn't over-the-top extravagant but instead elegant, spacious, and perfect for intimate meals. The service was excellent (despite the earlier comment), and they were always on hand to replace my hot water pot when it turned lukewarm :) Some of the dishes were outstanding - extremely creative both in terms of the taste and composition. I left feeling happy and well taken care of. And I'm still dreaming about my Christmas dessert.
7/F, The Landmark Mandarin
15 Queen's Road Central
Tel: +852 2132-0066