Singaporean chef Aven Lau, formerly of three-starred Odette in the Lion City and Hong Kong’s own BELON and Bâtard, brings on board a new menu at ÉPURE showcasing his own unique twists
ÉPURE, with its glittering Michelin star, has long been a firm favourite when it comes to contemporary French fine dining. With young culinary talent Aven Lau now at the helm, we returned recently for a taste of what the Singaporean chef has in store at the elegant eatery.
Having cut his chops at three-starred Odette in his hometown, Chef Lau was quick to make waves in Hong Kong, first at one-starred BELON and then as the man behind the breakout success of Bâtard (particularly for his roast chicken, which many hail as THE best in the 852).
We sampled the six-course dinner tasting menu (HK$1,688/person; +HK$800 for 4-glass wine pairing; +HK$1,380 for 6-glass wine pairing), which changes seasonally.
Following an amuse-bouche featuring an ultra-crisp potato chip encasing a smoky mix of cod mousse and pike roe, our vibrant first course arrived – and it’s quite a sight to behold. The Kegani crab with cauliflower and curry might sound strange on paper, but it’s an unexpected triumph featuring three layers – a base of cauliflower purée, horsehair crabmeat from Hokkaido accented with the warming flavour of curry and and a bright green apple jelly. Comforting and moreish.
Foie gras is a given on a fine-dining French menu, but Chef Lau’s glazed foie gras with Madeira and maple syrup surpasses the classic presentation. There are two shining spheres on the plate – the red is filled with foie gras in all its indulgent, creamy glory, while the smaller white sphere contains a chunkier blend of ham and duck meat. The richness of the foie gras is balanced by both the sweetness of maple syrup and a burst of acidic Madeira.
The roasted scallop with yari-ika and sauce nero features a plump US scallop pan-seared to perfection, topped with thin ribbons of Japanese spear squid. Underneath, the two sauces – a pool of buttery scallop sauce and a dollop of squid-ink sauce – unite for an explosive flavour combination.
Another seafood standout, the aroma of the langoustine with Savoy cabbage and vin jaune got us drooling. The ravioli skin is delicate and silky, enveloping a sweet, succulent portion of langoustine. Again, Chef Lau’s way with sauces – in this case, fragrant and nutty yellow wine – further elevates his dishes.
Normally, the main course on the current summer dinner menu is a quail dish, but we opted for Chef Lau’s famed roast chicken (HK$980), a signature at Bâtard that has now been revived with his arrival at ÉPURE (note that a three-day advance order is required). It takes two days of meticulous preparation of the local three-yellow chicken to yield the pinnacle of juicy crispiness, with meat (both white and dark) that cuts like butter and a shimmering, golden skin. Accompanying the chicken – and possibly equally as beloved as the roast chook itself – is a bowl of scrumptious chicken-oil rice, a nod to the chef’s Singaporean roots.
This beautifully presented pre-dessert is a palate-cleansing delight of refreshing lime and mint sorbet. You need to crack that clear, delicate shell to discover the goodness beneath.
A dessert that sings of the seasonal bounty of summer, the Momo peach with rosé champagne and lemon verbena is light, refined and utterly delicious. It showcases Japanese peach sorbet, fresh peach with its honey-like sweetness, rosé champagne espuma and an aromatic lemon verbena sauce.
We can’t wait to return to savour more of Chef Lau’s exquisitely elevated dishes; his creativity and technical expertise truly shine at ÉPURE (and we sense another star for the restaurant in the not-so-distant future).
Where: Shop 403, 4/F, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, 3–27 Canton Road, TST
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.