May 16, 2014

Crème de Akrame

The ultimate remedy to Hong Kong’s manic pace, Akrame Restaurant wills you to take a breath, slow down and actually linger over a meal, an experience we too often take for granted. Here, it is almost demanded, with the most basic tasting menu still a four-course extravaganza, and a great excuse to put reality on hold for a few hours!

There’s good reason too, with 32-year-old Akrame Benallal, who made waves in Paris when his first restaurant was awarded a Michelin star within its first year of operation and names Ferran Adrià and Pierre Gagnaire as mentors, at the helm. Despite the hype, the eatery doesn’t intimidate with a minimalist black interior softened by warm lighting and photos of beautiful tattooed women adorning the walls.

The food is suitably sexy, and Benallal is crazy talented when it comes to seafood. Each delicate course progressively outshone the last, from tender braised cuttlefish on a bed of leeks topped with crispy watercress to the intriguing textures of delicate crabmeat mingled with spinach puree and rice crackles.

While the dishes may sound wordy, they were all pared down enough to let the ingredients shine, yet innovative enough to keep us on our toes. We’re still lusting over the plump scampi atop asparagus, lobster sashimi with accompanying consommé (served in a mason jar for a touch of added showmanship) and flawless cod paired ingeniously with luscious kamut grains.

The small plates are a bit of tease, leaving you wishing for another bite, but it’s actually nice to be able to taste everything without spilling over your skinny jeans. The desserts may send you over the edge of however – an unexpected charcoal sauce swirled sensuously over pan-fried pineapple, ice-cream and an appropriately blackened cookie looks a tad ominous, but surprisingly the combination works.

As if it were necessary, the finale is accompanied with a velvety chocolate mousse and coffee and caramel crème brûlée “on the side”. And let’s not forget the petit fours: fresh-from-the-oven madeleines and hunks of chocolate wrapped in silver foil, a nod to the supermarket variety only this stuff’s a thousand times better. At this point, said skinny jeans are feeling decidedly snug, but it’s oh-so worth it.

Restaurant Akrame
9 Ship Street
Wan Chai, Hong Kong
+852 2528 5068

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