Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong

Above & Beyond

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Last month I had the pleasure of making my first trip to Hotel ICON in East TST to check out The Market. A few weeks later, I was invited back again, this time to sample the Cantonese cuisine at their fine dining restaurant Above & Beyond.Like the other restaurants in the hotel, the interior design is by Terence Conran. The decor is sleek with muted colours, all leather, marble and slate. The restaurant is situated on the top floor, has 360 degree panoramic views of the Hong Kong skyline, being quite literally above and beyond. Diners are first greeted by a relaxing lounge area before it expands into the dining-room. The work of art is, of course, the stunning vista of Hong Kong Island and the harbour. If you happen to be seated with your back towards the view, don’t worry. The designers have ingeniously fixed angled mirrors above the inside seats for diners to enjoy the scenery too!The menu is extensive with a range of seafood, meat dishes, soup, a barbecue selection and Catch of the day, to name a few. As I went for lunch, I was most looking forward to trying their signature dishes and dim sum, which I heard were excellent.

As my companions and I admired the Hong Kong skyline from our window seats, I had a look at the dim sum menu and noticed a couple of unique dishes that I had to try- the Baked Wagyu beef buns with Black Truffle and the Steamed Shanghai dumplings with Crab meat and Sea Urchin. The Wagyu beef buns were incredible. Essentially it was almost like having an entire dish shoved in a bun, there were so many gorgeous flavours going on. The black truffle was lovely and intense, both in smell and in taste and enriched the richness of the beef which had been tenderised to perfection. The dumplings were very good. The skin of the dumplings was a wonderful consistency and paper thin, the way I like them, and the way they should be. The filling was generous, but with just the right amount of sea urchin to not overwhelm the palate and I relished the soup which had that great seafood sweetness to it.Moving on, I had four fantastic mains to dig into. Before sinking my teeth into the extremely smooth Steamed lobster with egg white and black truffle (yes, more of my beloved truffle!), we had a cleansing bowl of double-boiled soup. I have no idea what the ingredients of the soup were, but all I can say is that it was very tasty and wholesome.The steamed lobster with egg white was as smooth as velvet. The lobster was a smidgen overcooked and therefore a little tough, but otherwise it was a good dish.The Wok-fried US tenderloin cubes with goose liver and fresh basil was superb. The goose liver was a fat explosion in my mouth. I was told that the chef is careful to do a 2:1 ratio of beef to goose cubes so as not to overpower the taste-buds.A sight to behold was the Steamed coral crab with glutinous rice. It was glorious to look at-the beautiful coral red of the crab nestled on a mound of rice and sprinkled with spring onions, was almost too pretty to demolish. The combination of the fresh crab and the glutinous rice, although heavy, was wonderful and perfectly seasoned.Our last main dish was the Smoked Bresse Pigeon with Oolong Tea Leaves. The pigeon was first-rate. Unbelievably tender and aromatic from the smoking process with the Oolong tea, I was hugely impressed and would consider it one of the best pigeon dishes I’ve eaten in Hong Kong. I loved the presentation; the whole pigeon was laid out to resemble its original form, as if it were resting on the plate.As if all the above wasn’t enough, we were treated to the Above & Beyond dessert combination. This had everything including the Oolong tea chocolate ganache cake, peanut brandy chocolate brownie, chilled mango sago cream and baked sago pudding. One of the more interesting puddings on offer was the Wu Liang Ye Chinese Wine and Chocolate ice-cream. The taste really surprised me at first. There was a shocking alcoholic burst that gave away to a gentle chocolate finish. Do not put a whole scoop into your mouth; you will be startled and confused by the intensity! To appreciate it, I recommend taking tiny spoonfuls.Above & Beyond was a fantastic dining experience. Everything I tried was wonderful and it helped that I had a meal with a view. The restaurant has 4 private rooms that you can book, including one for up to 16-30 people with its own kitchen and 270 degree views, where you can cook yourself or hire your own chef. Quite the place for a party!

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5

Above & Beyond, Level 28, Hotel ICON, 17 Science Museum Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon. Tel: +852 3400 1318

Price:  Lunch $250- 400, Dinner $500 and upwards

You can also see the review on Sassy Hong Kong.

Thanks to CatchOn for the professional pics!

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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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