With celebrity French chef Alain Ducasse the mastermind and helmed on a daily basis by Chef Ducasse’s star protégé Stéphane Gortina, we had mega-high expectations for this new seafood-focused restaurant at the InterContinental, replacing Spoon by Alain Ducasse, which closed earlier this year.
From the get-go, we were impressed by the modern, sophisticated space. More relaxed and accessible than Spoon, the jaw-dropping harbour views are still a major draw. We loved the muted colour scheme (white, sea green, grey), with the use of natural elements like beech driftwood and stones and pebbles adding to the soothing vibe.
Like its counterpart in Paris, which was opened in 1925 by Adrien Rech and reinvented by Chef Ducasse a decade ago, this new HK outpost of Rech by Alain Ducasse pays tribute to the bounty of the sea, most notably the Brittany coast of France. The only difference with the Paris original comes in the addition of the raw fish and shellfish menu section, with small bites of such delicacies as bonito with peanut and chilli marinade ($210) and wild cod with garlic and watercress ($150). We enjoyed these with the complimentary paper-thin seaweed crackers accompanied by a robust tuna sauce. The bread products themselves deserve a special shout-out – the kombu baguette with seaweed lemon butter was a highlight.
For our starter, we went for the cookpot of spelt, squid and sesame ($180). This was a very hearty portion served in the chef’s signature curved porcelain pot (which he famously uses to prepare his beloved seasonal veggies at his other restaurants around the world). This was a delicious, unique marriage of flavours and textures, from the bouncy squid rings, to the crunchy sesame seeds and creamy sauce coating every last morsel of spelt – a sweet, nutty, chewy grain similar to barley – to the pops of chopped coriander leaves and tinges of lime, both of which provided a lovely overall freshness. At a neighbouring table, we caught a glimpse of the Royal Platter ($2,400 for two), which was positively overflowing with an abundance of raw shellfish and crustaceans; it was quite a sight to behold.
We ordered the whole large Dover sole ($160/100g; to be shared between two or even three diners), which is line caught and sourced from the highest-quality small fishermen in Brittany – seasonality and sustainability are very important to Chef Ducasse. This specimen, filleted tableside (a work of art in itself) was impeccable: flaky, delicate and sweet. There was no need for the accompanying butter sauce, but we nevertheless liberally doused it on. We also tasted a dining companion’s Grenobloise-style skate wing ($460), which eclipsed even the sole in flavour. This was the thickest, meatiest skate wing we’ve come across, and it was bathed in lemony-buttery goodness dotted with itty-bitty croutons that retained their crunch.
We were spoiled for choice with our dessert selection. Mr Rech ($120) seems to be the star of the show – lovers of Nutella will adore this hazelnut, chocolate and meringue concoction resembling an ice cream sandwich – but we actually preferred the refreshing oven-baked pineapple ($120) with coconut cream: our favourite holiday flavours in one and the perfect way to end our meal. And just when thought we couldn’t eat another bite, we were presented with a trio of post-dessert treats: freshly baked madeleines plucked straight from the pan, homemade chocolates and citrus-infused, light-as-air marshmallows. We ended our dining experience giddy with excitement.
From the stunning views, to the chilled, contemporary ambience and decor, to the top-notch seafood cooked and presented to perfection, to the warm, attentive service, we know it won’t be long before Rech climbs to the tippity top of HK’s best restaurants’ lists. The prices are expectedly high, but the portions are also surprisingly generous.
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Lobby, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 2313 2323
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation.