Alain Ducasse’s Spoon in Hong Kong probably has the best view of the city’s skyline of any restaurant in town. Paired with classics from the Ducasse repertoire this restaurant has a lot going for it.
Spoon’s atmosphere in the dining room is special. Largely, this is due to the view you have from pretty much anywhere in the Patrick Jouin-designed dining room. The large windows, the tables which are dressed to allow couples to sit next to one another in order for both to enjoy the view; everything is made to get the most out of this unique location right on the waterfront. It is reminiscent of the terrace of the Louis XV, where you have a terrific view across the Place du Casino in Monte-Carlo, and have tourists meandering beneath you. Here, they walk along the Avenue of Stars, the only thing that separates you from the water.
The food at Spoon does not have the ambitions that you have at the Louis XV, or at the Plaza Athenée however. Instead, it is best to think of it as a cuisine that is of course heavily influenced by Ducasse, but a bit less complicated than in Paris, and more easily approachable. The perfect dish to illustrate this philosophy is a lobster cocotte, with pasta, and black truffles. The blue lobster comes in a sealed pot that also includes truffle, lobster jus, and pasta. The whole thing is then opened table-side, and plated. Very much driven by the lobster jus, this is a dish that encapsulates Ducasse’s philosophy. The dish is remarkably simple, but the flavours carry it through. You have earthy truffle, the sweet/savoury lobster, and the pasta that ties it all together.
Another dish that is very much conceived along the same line is a pigeon with panisses, and a light pigeon jus. Panisses are made of chickpea flour and then fried. Hailing from the French Riviera, they heavily feature on the Louis XV’s menu, and so it is clear where this dish’s ideas came from. The pigeon is simply roasted, and the accompanying jus once again ties it altogether. Ducasse enthusiasts will notice that the sauces here are generally not quite as corsé as they would be in Paris or Monte-Carlo, however, this taken apart, the food here very much bears the master’s signature.
The most successful part of a meal here easily are the desserts. No matter if you stick to the Baba au Rhum, or try a palet based on gianduja, and hazelnuts: this is pastry of the highest level. Ice creams are full of flavour, and perfectly smooth, dough is light, and crisp, whilst any mousse is set just enough to not change its shape, whilst retaining that light feeling you would expect from it.
Spoon brings a taste of Ducasse to Hong Kong. Having been around for quite a while, the restaurant has managed to stay relevant in the city’s dining scene, which is quite impressive, given the changes that have happened here during the past ten years. Two reasons that might have influenced this could very well be the view, and fantastic desserts.