The entree was the first of five courses to be delivered in the moodily lit yet opulent surrounds. The round table at which we sat was suddenly and silently swarmed by as many waiters as there were diners, each standing with military strictness behind one of our chairs, covered silver serving dishes in hand. Then, in choreographed unison, the dishes descended in front of us, the covers came off, and we collectively marvelled at the large gilded eggs that were to be our first course…
The ceremony and subtle drama of the unveiling of each dish at The Mandarin Grill + Bar‘s Art Menu is all part of the experience. Under the gold outer shell of that first dish was a painted Fabergé egg filled with caviar and cream cheese, the tiny parcels of fish-egg treasure as delicate as the (also edible) shell they arrived in. The next course was a miniature wall made from brioche and intricately graffitied, chef Uwe Opocensky carving us each up a slice as if it were a chipped-off Berlin Wall souvenir.
Opocensky emerges, in fact, with each dish to give us a short introduction to it. He created this unusual 5 course dinner (which is also available as a smaller 3 course lunch) to tie in with Art Hong Kong, a festival of which the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is an official partner. I won’t decribe each of the courses in detail – it’s the kind of experience that works best if you get some surprises – but if you’ve never had a dining experience that tapped into all of your senses including visual and aural (yes, you even get served up music as part of the meal, an unconventional side-dish indeed) then now is your chance.
I will say that the Art Menu culminates in a desert that leaves the entire table covered in edible art; a creation prepared before your eyes. The only problem with this chocolate wonderment – and all the courses, in fact – is that it’s far too beautiful to eat…. an yet far too delicious not to.
For a meal that transcends the food and becomes a greater experience (and let’s face it that’s what we want from a Michelin-starred restaurant like the Mandarin Grill + Bar, especially when we travel) Uwe Opocensky’s Art Menu is not to be missed.
The Mandarin Grill + Bar can be found on the first floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 5 Connaught Road West, Hong Kong.