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Petrus at the Island Shangri La

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Had an interesting meal at Petrus in Hong Kong, here the report:

For someone having eaten in the grand dining rooms in Paris, Monte Carlo or elsewhere in "Old Europe", the dining room looks a little amusing. Obviously made to look like one of these, it doesn't have the patina yet, and features some colour combinations that do not work 100% well. On the other hand, it fits well with the ostentatious chic that prevails in this city. There's plenty of gold, crystal chandeliers and other sparkly things. What this old-fashioned interior contrasts with is the view: In front of you, you can see pretty much the entire skyline of Hong Kong island and Kowloon. Despite not being in the highest building there is, it is a remarkable view.

A delightful restaurant, offering pretty much all of France's finest offerings in terms of food, cheese and wine

Any chef would have trouble getting his guests away from the windows and the view, but one has to admit that Frederic Chabbert does a pretty fine job. His cooking is very much influenced by that of the Louis XV, where he spent a few years. In fact, the menu reads pretty much like that of Alain Ducasse's flagship. Despite this however, Chabbert cooks food that looks a little different from the Louis XV and isn't quite as bold. Take a starter of stuffed calamari with clams, and a little rocket and artichoke salad. On paper it could well be served in Monte-Carlo, however the presentation is much more fiddly than what you have over there. It's more modern, with only one piece of stuffed squid and a few leaves lying around it. Taste-wise, the squid tastes like it could have been a tad fresher, not quite as fresh in terms of texture and flavour as the finest specimens can be. That being said, the dish is not a bad one at all. It shows that the kitchen here can cook very well indeed. The seasoning is well judged and the combinations work.

Another dish that is even better is a lamb rack with ricotta gnocchi and aubergine caviar. Even if there is some useless summer truffle on top of the lamb, this dish shows great craftsmanship. The lamb is cooked beautifully, being tender and moist, whilst the gnocchi are as supple and soft as they should be. All in all, this again shows Mediterranean cooking of quite some quality.

In the dessert section, you will be delighted by some of the most accomplished desserts served in Hong Kong. A classic St Honoré manages to bring back memories of Paris. Being extremely well executed and prettily presented, this shows how much talent the pastry chef has here. A little less inspiring is a straight copy of a strawberry tart that Jérome Chaucesse does at the Crillon. Luckily enough, the one here is executed without any mistakes, making for a delightful end to a meal here.

The good food and superb service are complemented not only by the views, but also by a wine list that lists numerous vintages of Henri Jayer's and Lalou-Bize Leroy's various wines, and pretty much everything else that has a name in French wine. If the cooking develops more of an individual style, this restaurant could be even better than it currently is. Nonetheless, Petrus remains a thoroughly enjoyable restaurant experience. One that is absolutely perfect for a celebration of a special occasion, or just a wonderful journey above this hectic city's streets.

For pics and more info, check here

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