Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong

g.reat e.xpections?

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An interesting interview with a passionate chef, a confusing tasting and a vague write-up for Sassy 🙂

There’s nothing like a good mystery novel or film to keep readers and audiences on their toes, and I’m definitely a person who enjoys pretending to be the detective and desperately trying to solve the mystery before the answer is given away.

So what does this have to do with food? This review or hint of a review will be a bit of mystery, much like the dishes at this newly opened fine dining restaurant, g.e or gastronomy extra | ordinaire.

This extremely intriguing establishment at The Luxe Manor in Tsim Sha Tsui, is the brainchild of Chef Gianluigi Bonelli, former head chef at KEE Club, who has also worked at the world famous El Bulli and The Fat Duck.

I dropped in on g.e. the day before its soft opening and luckily for me I had the pleasure of having a few moments with the inspirational Chef who is whipping up a storm at The Luxe Manor.

Chef Bonelli, took time out of his hectic schedule to try to explain to me the concept behind g.e. and also to give me a taste of what his menu has to offer.

The concept I was told, is Progressive cooking. I asked if this was similar to Molecular cuisine, to which the reply was no, but that it was difficult to explain. In the laughter that ensued in the attempt to explain this to me, whilst at the same time, giving away nothing, I managed to ascertain this: that this cuisine is about evolving creativity, that in progressive cooking, everything at g.e. comes to the diner like a show and that all the dishes are filled with a surprise that reflects this creativity.I asked Chef Bonelli where he gets his inspiration from and he replied that his inspiration stems from book of intricate flower compositions, and that in seeing these compositions he sees food, and his love of presenting his food in increasingly novel ways is an extension of those compositions. A lot of his creations may not look conventional but the flavours are all retained and certainly keep you guessing.

His reason for doing something new and innovative was refreshingly honest. He simply told me that he gets bored easily and that he couldn’t possibly make something like spaghetti every day! You can have pizza anywhere for example, but you can’t have what he produces in his kitchen just anywhere. Progressive cooking allows him to be creative and one of the most interesting things he said to me that day was that he “needs two things: freedom and freedom.”He admits that g.e is not for the conservative, so if your husband, wife, parents are the traditional type, perhaps g.e. is not for them. But, if you have a curious nature like me, then this is the perfect place for new heights of culinary discovery and definitely makes for a great conversation starter.

As I was only given a taste of the menu and to preserve the mystery of the dishes, I will only say that everything I had was glorious- from the impact of the presentation , to the initial and last taste of each bite, I was beyond impressed and surprised by each dish. Every single dish I had was unique and Chef Bonelli had me exclaiming in amazement on several occasions. I had an amuse bouche which was perched on the end of a long stick stand (can’t describe it!) and I was told to retrieve my amuse bouche parcel and eat it without using my hands. A slightly surreal experience especially when you have the Chef and the PR lady looking at you! I can also tell you I had an exquisite palate refresher- a small white chocolate covered ball of lemon sorbet that melted gently before exploding into a refreshing mouthful of tart lemon.The menu itself is complex and the contents are changed according to what ingredients are in season. I joked that one needed a PhD to decipher it but in actuality, it is quite simple, once you get the hang of it. Each dish breakdown is a study into the creation of that dish, from the year it was first conceived, to the main focus ingredient, accessory ingredients and the different styles that are prepared from a certain ingredient. Clever stuff.

g.e. has three private rooms- Heaven, Hell and Eden, all beautifully decorated and reflecting their theme, as well as a main dining room which itself is rather surreally designed. For all the private rooms, the menus are designed and catered to the taste and needs of the guests whereas the a la carte menu is available in the main dining room.

Chef Bonelli told me he is a 100% or nothing kind of guy and that to deliver what he is offering takes a lot of discipline. He always strives to do better, and this passion is apparent in the way he expresses himself and also is communicated through his cuisine.

I am a passionate epicurean and Chef Bonelli a passionate cook, so much fun was had by all that afternoon. The tag line for g.e. is “every dish in the name of creativity”, and that is really what it is.

Come and experience g.e. for yourself and have no pre-conceived notions about it. As Chef Bonelli told me, “…just come through the door and sit down”.

g.e, 2/F, The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road, TST. Tel: 3763 8803

Chopstixfix rating: undecided as it was a tasting intended to heighten my curiosity and tease the tastebuds. Will rate when I go for a proper meal!

$$$$$$-$$$$$$$$$$ (including wine)

PS- photos are not a reflection of what I ate they are just pretty! A big thanks to GR8 PR for letting me use their pics for this 🙂

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Author: chopstixfix

Michelle Ng is a Brit born Chinese-Malaysian who has loved food since time immemorial. She is a firm believer in "Live to Eat, not Eat to Live".

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