All about taste

By Mike Peters and Xu Junqian | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-28 08:00

All about taste

Blue Lobster Tail served raw with raw piglet head, cauliflower, couscous and caviar Photos provided to China Daily

Richard Ekkebus may be a bright star on Hong Kong's fine-dining scene, but the farm-raised Dutch chef believes that without flavor a pretty dish is nothing, Mike Peters and Xu Junqian report.

The Ebisu oyster was a last-minute menu addition by Richard Ekkebus, and his guest was agog: "This had been cooked in its shell at 67 degrees and was served with wilted tarragon, shallots, duck gizzard, pieds de moutons mushroom and vin jaune. It was truly a jaw-dropping dish that married European and Asian techniques."

It was the best dish of the night, the reviewer exclaimed in 2013. But Ekkebus, the culinary director of the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong who has made Amber a two-Michelin-starred gem, is not one to rest on such laurels.

On a recent visit to Amber, the oyster was on the menu, but in completely different form: coagulated at 70 C with sake lees, lemon, Granny Smith apple and salicornia. Next came an out-of-this-world Normandy diver scallop seared with lime caviar, umami sabayon, crispy Camargue red rice and dried seafood.

Such menu items sound so posh that you might imagine Ekkebus to be one of those chefs who have gone off the molecular deep-end. No way. When his wagyu beef dish arrives at your table, you will not have to poke various piles of powder to guess which one was once a Japanese cow. His success may lie in his ability to be both so elegant and so elemental.

Ekkebus was raised in a fishermen's village in southwestern Netherlands.

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