Le Rêve @ The Food Alchemist

Le Reve is a story about old friends and a young Portuguese chef collaboration by bringing the latest in modern French food combines with Japanese ingredients. Will this trio amalgamation works for food connoisseurs in Hong Kong and beyond? mylifestylenews writes.

When it comes to food, simplicity is the best. We admire those ambitious chefs that take chances and go beyond their imagination, by combining different ingredients sourced from around the globe and transforming them in their very own way to the table with a genuine serving of comestible gastronomy, yet not undermining or forgetting what is needed when they are to be served and enjoyed. Fusion as it is called, but not an invention with poor notions.

We prefer a really good satisfying meal that highlights the ingredients with elevation, instead of challenging the freshest ingredients by twisting them to another level, that just seems to be a chef's eagerness to impress. Rather than letting the ingredients speak, it mainly becomes the creator’s amusement, instead of pleasing the diner will only turns genius into a fool.

Nestled on the 10th Floor in ZING!, La Reve resides in a renamed entertainment building tucked in the alley way of bustling Causeway Bay. Our arrival was very well greeted and we were sat immediately at our reserved table overlooking the open kitchen on our left, as well as the balcony with the soaring Hong Kong concrete jungle view in front of us.  It has a warm and inviting ambience with a theme that continues to the menu, where we picked the 8 course tasting menu for its stated 8 shades of flavor.

The Amuse Bouche came with a mouth full silken egg served on the transparent glass serving dish lied with a sliced sardine and dried tomato. The combination is more like an alternative sushi serving but nothing surprising in taste.

<Supreme Sashimi & Japanese Shishamo served with Sake Air, 
Passion Fruit Caviar and Green Dashi>
The combination was rather confusing in taste, with the unrefined sashimi having no relation to the blended sake air and the green dashi broth. Despite the flat impression, the passion fruit caviar was a pleasant surprise to be enjoyed just on its own, but you will hate the slimy shishamo if you are not a seafood enthusiast.

<Maguro Tartar, Benitade., Passion Fruit Tulle & Daikon>
The presentation scores full points as this dish arrives at the table. You may begin to wonder if those little pebble stones are edible and of course they are not. The Daikon, with a tiny topping of benitade served on the side, was more like a garnish than a palate cleanser. The only consumption was the Maguro tartar that blends quite well with the passion fruit tulle, but once again the taste seems familiar from the previous course served.

<Blue Rain Scallop & Nero Sepia>
Here comes the “real” food. Thin and lightly seared blue rain scallop remained of the freshest taste and texture, served with a dash of Nero sepia sauce – ink squid sauce reduction. We would rather go without the sauce to enjoy the fresh scallop taste on its own.

<Razor Clam Beach>
Finally something was presented in a more eye-catching way and proved alluring to the palate. The thick chunky razor clam was accompanied by the salsa verde and was quite promising. We weren’t  too sure about what the nori air bag and red pepper gel were doing to enhance the taste of this already tasty razor clam and the accompanying “beach” made of shellfish crumble fish tears is best for you not to get your hands dirty. Sometimes, less is more.

Perfectly cooked lobster was served on a base of shellfish veloutee (a premium broth from the lobster head) and carefully garnished with celery cube and grape fruit crystal soap. This dish could also be outstanding on its own when served in a bigger portion. Simply tasty!

This Kinmedai - Golden Eye Snapper - was deep fried with its scales to golden brown, with thin air crisps and was a delight. Kinmedai has a unique texture, neither too soft nor too crunchy, with the meat white to slightly pink with a hint of sweet flavor. It was served with shrimp and white asparagus doree and black quinoa and garnished with a pamplemousse vitral. Finally a genuine dish that is not pretentious and infused with great flavor. A must try!

<Kobe Beef Cheek>
The beef is slow cooked for its tenderness and served with cauliflower puree, pickled baby radish, porcini puree and garnish with red pepper gel. Not as rich as you might think, yet just enough to sate your appetite on this tasting menu.

<Lamb Rack>
Another hot dish with two tiny nicely charcoaled lamb racks sitting on pea puree, accompanied by green couscous and pear in porto. The coffee meringue wasn’t our cup of tea as the lamb was well marinated enough to stand on its own with such great flavor.

<Crème Anglais>
Pre-dessert came paired with Sake Crème Anglais, a strong macha and apple sorbet that was garnished with wasabi edible wood. Sounds complicated, and so was the taste which was rather complex and not quite a delight for pre-dessert.

<Naughty Fairy>
By the sound of it, it is another gimmick twist with an absinthe ice cube and green chocolate being poured to get that melting effect. Restaurants like this don’t really need such a clown show to bring down the standard. Taste wise…go figure.

<Lune Noir>
Last but not least, the Lune Noir molecular dessert which is mainly made out of chocolate. The preparation consists of tempered white chocolate and cocoa butter, with the help of a siphon to add air to the mix. The white chocolate mix is then set in a vacuum chamber to inflate and stabilize the chocolate crystals, then brought to below 0° C temperature to create a unique texture and served with yogurt cream, freeze dried raspberries and garnished with sakura, with a spray of rose perfume before you dig in. Yet another complicated gimmick and with little effect to woo the diner. We lost our interest to enjoy this dessert and didn’t even bother to finish the serve.

Staff’s knowledge on menu presentation was rather hit and miss. As a self-claimed fine dining restaurant, we do not expect the wait staff to get down on their knees while trying to explain each course that is brought to our table, but it was rather awkward, and they should be proud of what is presented, instead of whispering as though there is something on the plate your must not eat. This gesture is more than inappropriate. We also expected to have the chef come out at least to say hi to his diners and to have explained a little further for us to admire his carefully crafted gastronomy or at least for him to collect feedback for his proud creations.

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4/5
Design & Decor: 3.5/5
Food & Beverage: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Experience: 3.5/5

The Lobster

10F, ZING!, 38 Yiu Wa Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2866 1010

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated. 

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