What is it? Formerly of private kitchen TBLS and Tipping Point micro-brewery, Chef Que Vinh Dang has opened his newest creation, Quest, in the hot new food hub at 239 Hennessy Road. Quest is structured more as a restaurant rather than a private kitchen with a semi-open kitchen on one side, and a semi-enclosed private dining room on the other. In the middle, is the main seating area, where guests sample Chef Que’s meticulous and imaginative menu. The menu is composed of a set tasting rundown comprising of around 8 courses. Quest’s soft opening menu draws elements from Chef Que’s Vietnamese heritage, though the restaurant is in no way influenced by any specific culinary genre. Like TBLS, the menu will transform with the seasons, with new dishes and regional focuses to keep diners on their toes. One region that Chef Que is particularly passionate about is Spanish cooking, so we will perhaps see a shift in the menu in upcoming months. It is this transformative menu that gives Quest a chameleon-like facade, shielding it from being pigeon-holed into a culinary genre and keeps diners coming back after each menu regeneration.
The food: The tasting Menu (HKD$680) started with a zingy hamachi sashimi nestled in tomato jelly and yuzukosho nuoc mam (fish sauce). The swirl of yellow tail was incredibly buttery with a textural contrast between the briny pops of salmon roe and crunchy sea grapes against the slippery basil seeds.
A deconstructed “summer roll” followed with a confetti of Alaskan king crab tossed with pickled daikon, creamy avocado and cucumber under a sheet of rice paper and covered with smoked paprika foam. Chef Que’s version of a beef pho came next taking a gastronomic spin on the traditional soupy noodles with beef tartar bejewelled with pho broth jelly balanced on top of vermicelli noodles, crowned with Vietnamese herb salad and a generous shaving of foie gras. The black cod with sautéed sugar snaps, squid ink mochi and golden wheels of fish sauce caramel was an interesting combination that overwhelmed the senses with flavours and textures. Our minds and tongues were working overtime by the time the braised oxtail with tripe and blocks of pig’s blood arrived with its tender meat and subtle flavouring. Next arrived the pork belly, marinated in sugar and lemongrass with a beautiful char from Que’s hibachi grill. Surrounded by taro puree, crispy pork skin and Brussel sprouts, this dish was a delight even though we were bursting at the seams by this point. A guava sorbet arrived as a palate cleanser and was such a simple and welcome treat after all the complex tasting we had put our palate through. It also paved the way for us to fit in the rich salted caramel coconut ice cream sprinkled with toasted sesame and coconut, balanced on charred pineapple and almond cake.
Verdict: Off to a great start. Quest’s thoughtfully prepared menu challenges the taste buds with a huge dose of complexity and a large number of ingredients in each dish. Since the menu is ever evolving, with no strict adherence to any particular culinary genre, it means the surprises will keep on coming. Plus, the in-house mixologist is planning a special cocktail menu with an added textural element to the drinks and we’re intrigued to say the least.
28/F, 239 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, 2554 0888