Chef de Cuisine Jacob Zuidervliet introduces a series of sublime summery dishes at the Michelin-starred modern French restaurant
BELON is one of the many jewels in Black Sheep Restaurants’ crown. The Michelin-starred restaurant presents seasonal, ingredient-driven French cuisine that is beautifully executed and presented by Chef de Cuisine Jacob Zuidervliet. Chef Zuidervliet took over the reins of the kitchen from Executive Chef Matthew Kirkley about a year ago, but he’s been a driving force at BELON since even before the restaurant’s opening back in 2017.
The summer superstars at BELON
Trout roe tartlet: this amuse-bouche got our meal off to a fine start. The thin tartlet base is filled with creamy salmon mousse, crowned with a generous layer of shimmering, bright orange trout-roe pearls with their sweet and delicate flavour.
Dungeness crab with white asparagus and caviar (HK$988): our first (cold) starter was this refreshing dish spotlighting the seasonal delicacy that is Dungeness crab. The crab is paired with a punchy white asparagus velouté, a heap of umami caviar and – the surprising winner of the dish – crunchy, sweet candied Piedmont hazelnut.
Loire Valley asparagus tart with aged Comté and vin jaune (HK$388): an ultra-creamy but somehow still light (what magic is this, Chef?) green asparagus sabayon sits atop a crisp tart shell, contrasted with the robust, nutty flavour of aged Comté. The vin jaune, or yellow wine, jelly adds another layer of aromatic floral nuttiness.
Spot prawn with ravioli and champagne sauce (HK$688): a nod to Chef Zuidervliet’s Canadian roots, the highly coveted spot prawn of British Columbia takes centre stage here (the brief spot prawn season starts in late May and lasts for only about eight weeks). The melt-in-the mouth spot prawn rests atop an oversized raviolo filled with a bright lemon and ricotta mixture, and the buttery, lemony champagne and caviar sauce is simply heavenly – we wanted to lick the plate clean.
Wild sea bass with burrata and Japanese fruit tomato (HK$798): possibly our favourite dish of the tasting, all the elements scream summer, from the light tomato consommé, to the small globes of creamy burrata, to the intensely sweet Japanese fruit tomato. The sea bass itself, mild and subtly sweet in flavour, was cooked to meaty perfection.
Chicken ballotine with ris de veau and roasted chicken sauce (off-menu): while this dish isn’t currently available on the à-la-carte menu, it’s often included on the chef’s menu (HK$1,988/person). It’s a delicious work of classic French culinary art comprised of deboned chicken stuffed with ris de veau, or veal sweetbread. As with all Chef Zuidervliet’s sauces, it’s the roasted chicken sauce that elevates the dish.
Rhum baba with mango (HK$288): Chef Zuidervliet has a strong background in patisserie, and his sweets are truly something special. Here we have the chef’s interpretation of this traditional French dessert made with rum-saturated brioche. The addition of mango imparts a welcome burst of tropical freshness.
Gâteau Basque with sherry and foie gras (HK$308): this unique dessert has become a signature of Chef Zuidervliet, and he seasonally adapts its fruit component depending on what’s fresh and in season; our version was adorned with Italian cherry. The buttery base is a cross between cake and shortbread, and it’s topped with velvety foie gras torchon. The crème anglaise, flavoured with rich and raisiny Pedro Ximénez sherry, is the literal cherry on top of this sweet-meets-savoury masterpiece.
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Strawberry meringue tartlet: this petit four ended our meal at BELON with a one-bite pop of fruity sweetness. And then we were off, leaving with a dated and chef-signed menu and a box containing two mini kouign-amann to enjoy for breakfast the next day (or, in our case, as a midnight snack). How thoughtful!
This is our first visit back to BELON since its relocation and complete design revamp last year. The sophisticated, soothing space is the ideal match for the exquisitely executed, refined cuisine delivered by Chef Zuidervliet. Despite the super-steep prices, BELON remains a a firm favourite for impeccable yet approachable fine dining.
Where: 1/F, 1–5 Elgin Street, SoHo, Central
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.