Michelin_Man

Hong Kong Michelin Mayhem


  05.11.15


A seven foot tall morbidly-obese man dressed all in white greeted those cramming in to the Mandarin Oriental Connaught rooms for the 2016 Michelin announcement for Hong Kong and Macau. Bibendum, as he is officially known, was there for media photo opps and selfies alike, but the stage belonged to Michael Ellis, the Grandmaster of the guides which once again proved to be contentious.

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Of course they are. That’s the point. Opinions are, famously, just like arseholes in that everybody has one. The big headline grabber this year was a new three star in the form of T’ang Court at the Langham in TST. Lunch there back in July was decent, per my review, but one of the top 100 restaurants on the planet? Not for my money. The food was good but far from life-changing.

Two new  joints to get two stars included the Forum and Ming Court, while in Macau the excellent Jade Dragon and The Tasting Room picked up two, along with the brilliant Shinji by Kanaseka taking home one.

New one stars in Hong Kong include the annual oddity of Lei Garden and Peking Garden in various but not all locations while Qi, a Sichuan joint in Wan Chai, also surprised some by being the first Sichuan restaurant since Chilli Fagara to claim one star (HT A Growing Boy). My dinner there (albeit a year ago) was pretty unremarkable – did its cuisine, service and ambience come close to matching, say, the sublime talent on show at The Mandarin Grill which also has one star? Hmmmm that’ll be a ‘No, not in a million years’. But I guess that equivalence doesn’t work easily in the world of cuisine and the key point is that Michelin want us to discuss and debate them at length – so on that front, they’ve succeeded again.

Within the realm of European cuisines, new one stars included the very pleasant On (although their stablemate Upper Modern Bistro lost their star), Serge et Le Phoque in Wan Chai (where I wrote about their cheeky shenanigans tricking diners for CNN) and Ta Vie, somewhere I am still very keen to go, something that will now be even bloody harder.

Of course in the beautiful, immortal if somewhat depressing words of Billy Bragg, ‘she said there are no winners, only losers‘.  This year’s restaurants who lost a star were Golden Leaf, Lei Garden IFC, Nur, The Square, Upper Modern Bistro, Steak House Winebar + Grill at the Intercon. Of these, Nur was a significant surprise to many in the room.

The other new announcement concerned street food because 23 Hong Kong and 12 Macau establishments serving it were featured in the guide – or in their words: “We believe street food establishments have a rightful place in the Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide”. Really? Not a marketing ploy at all then, he asks cynically? Will they put rotisserie chicken joints in Paris and currywurst stands in Berlin in their respective guides? Time will tell.

The justification, as told to the SCMP is that: “The category means food that’s available most of the day, convenient and good.” By that yardstick, then Subway, Ebeneezer’s and the Flying Pan at 5am should all get a look in.

For me the big question remained as to those genuinely world-class restaurants in Hong Kong which currently have two stars, notably Caprice which lost a third a couple years back and Amber which has never been granted one. I asked Ellis specifically about the latter and what the hugely-talented Richard Ekkebus has to do to get that third? Ellis laughed and said “I know, I like Amber and Richard is a great chef. They’re on the right track you know, it’s not easy to do. He’s on the way. We look for emotion in a three star, Richard does a great job, we’re following him and I go whenever I can. We have great confidence in him.”

Take from that what you will, but given decisions elsewhere, it remains not a little baffling.

For all the winners in this year’s guide head here, read on:

THE MICHELIN GUIDE HONG KONG MACAU 2016

Starred establishments – HONG KONG

Three Stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

Bo Innovation

L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Lung King Heen 龍景軒

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo – Bombana

Sushi Shikon 志魂

T’ang Court  唐閣

 

Two Stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour

Amber

Caprice

Celebrity Cuisine 名人坊

Duddell’s 都爹利會館

Forum  富臨飯店

Ming Court  明閣

Pierre

Ryu Gin 天空龍吟

Shang Palace 香宮

Summer Palace 夏宮

Sun Tung Lok (Tsim Sha Tsui) 新同樂 (尖沙咀)

Tin Lung Heen 天龍軒

Wagyu Takumi

Yan Toh Heen 欣圖軒

 

One Star: High quality cooking, worth a stop

Ah Yat Harbour View 阿一海景飯店

Akrame

CIAK – In The Kitchen

Fook Lam Moon (Wan Chai) 福臨門 (灣仔)

Fu Ho (Tsim Sha Tsui) 富豪 (尖沙咀)

Golden Valley 駿景軒

Guo Fu Lou 國福樓

Ho Hung Kee 何洪記

Jardin de Jade 蘇浙滙

Kam’s Roast Goose 甘牌燒鵝

Kazuo Okada 岡田和生

Lei Garden (Kowloon Bay)

Lei Garden (Kwun Tong) N 利苑酒家 (觀塘)

Lei Garden (Mong Kok) 利苑酒家 (旺角)

Lei Garden (North Point) 利苑酒家 (北角)

Lei Garden (Wan Chai) 利苑酒家 (灣仔)

Loaf On 六福菜館

Man Wah 文華廳

Mandarin Grill + Bar 文華扒房+酒吧

MIC Kitchen

ON

Pang’s Kitchen 彭慶記

Peking Garden (Central)  北京樓 (中環)

Qi 呇

Sai Kung Sing Kee 勝記

Seasons

Serge et le Phoque

Spoon by Alain Ducasse

Sushi Ginza Iwa

Ta Vie  旅

Tate

The Boss 波士廳

Tim Ho Wan (North Point) 添好運(北角)

Tim Ho Wan (Sham Shui Po) 添好運(深水埗)

Tosca

Wagyu Kaiseki Den

Yat Lok 一樂燒鵝

Yè Shanghai (Tsim Sha Tsui) 夜上海 (尖沙咀)

Yù Lĕi 玉蕾

Yuè (North Point) 粵 (北角)

Zhejiang Heen 浙江軒

 

 

MACAU

Three Stars: Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

Robuchon au Dôme 天巢法國餐廳

The Eight 8餐廳

Two Stars: Excellent cooking, worth a detour

Golden Flower 京花軒

Jade Dragon N 譽瓏軒

The Tasting Room N 御膳房

Zi Yat Heen 紫逸軒

One Star: High quality cooking, worth a stop

Feng Wei Ju N 風味居

King 帝皇樓

Mizumi N 泓

8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo

Shinji N 金坂

Terrazza N 庭園

The Golden Peacock 皇雀

The Kitchen 大廚

Tim’s Kitchen 桃花源小廚

Wing Lei 永利軒

To finish, here’s the list of street food outlets to be recognised – my thanks to the SCMP from where I shamelessly copied this list:

Hong Kong outlets

Block 18 Doggie’s Noodle

27A Ning Po Street, Jordan, tel: 9360 6644

Fried pork fat noodles

Butchers Club

2 Landale Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2552 8281

Burgers and duck fat fries

Canaan Thai Snack

72 Java Road, North Point

Thai rice noodles and snacks

Cheung Hing Kee

13 Chuen Lung Street, Tsuen Wan, tel: 6109 5735

Shanghainese pork buns, rice vermicelli soup

Chin Sik

49 Shiu Wo Street, Tsuen Wan, tel: 2492 2831

Cart noodles

Fat Boy

3 Hau Fook Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 6255 3872

Octopus and duck’s stomach marinated in soy sauce

Hop Yik Tai

121 Lam Street, Sham Shui Po, tel: 2720 0239

Rice rolls, fish balls, braised radish

Joyful Dessert House

74 Hak Po Street, Mong Kok, tel: 2856 1886

Western desserts, pineapple sherbet, mango Napoleon

Kai Kai

121-123 Parkes Street, Jordan, tel: 2384 3862

Glutinous rice dumpings in ginger sweet soup, stewed papaya with rock sugar

Kei Tsui

135 Fa Yuen Street, Mong Kok, tel: 2394 1727

Cantonese puddings and pastries, walnut cookies

Kelly’s Cape Bop

57 Johnston Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2529 9984

Korean fried chicken, tteokbokki, kimbap

Keung Kee

382 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2572 5207

Glutinous rice with Chinese sausage, rice rolls, sweet soup

Kung Wo Tofu

118 Pei Ho Street, Sham Shui Po, tel: 2386 6871

Tofu pudding, pan-fried tofu snacks, home-made soy milk

Kwan Kee Store

115-117 Fuk Wa Street, Sham Shui Po, tel: 2360 0328

Chinese rice pudding, black sesame rolls

Lan Ying

92-84 Fuk Lo Tsun Road, Kowloon City, tel: 2382 8133

Satay, nasi goreng

Lei Keung Kee

492 King’s Road, North Point, tel: 2590 9726

Egg waffles

Mak Kee

21-23 Fort Street, North Point, tel: 2887 7851

Pan-fried dumplings, xiaolongbao, fish balls

Mammy Pancake

8-12 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui

Egg waffles

Soupreme

20 Beech Street, Tai Kok Tsui, tel: 3565 0115

Cantonese double-boiled soups

Double boiled soup. 

Three Potatoes

Shop 5, 6/F, 30-32A Nullah Road, Mong Kok, tel: 6432 0118/9852 1600

Baked potatoes, French fries, potato hash

Wah Yuan

G/F, 38 Shung Ling Street, San Po Kong, tel: 2322 3130

Cantonese sweet soup

Wing On

24 Tai Ho Road, Tsuen Wan

Cart noodles, chicken wing tips

Ying Kee

G/F, 10 Hong Keung Street, San Po Kong, tel: 2323 9519

Wonton noodles