This past month, InterContinental Hong Kong’s one-Michelin-starred Rech by Alain Ducasse put on a show with the five-course Coastal Tour de France Aquitaine set menu ($1,288/person). The menu featured delicacies from the sea along the Aquitaine coast, but it also showcased freshly harvested seasonal produce in the regionally inspired dishes. From premium fresh seafood to the best produce, this menu did not disappoint. Disclaimer: Our host, Carole, fed us a lot more than what was on the menu, so that might have played a role.
I was invited to join our host in Rech’s stunning dining space at the InterContinental hotel, which has panoramic views of Hong Kong Island’s incredible skyline.
Spacious yet private at the same time, I felt like I could enjoy all of Hong Kong while still ensconced in my own little world. One feature that I particularly loved was the two-person side-by-side tables that faced the multi-storey window looking out onto the skyline.
I ate this goldfish in its entirety
Before the first dishes were served, we were brought some bread and butter. At first, I thought to myself, that’s nothing special, but on closer inspection I realised that the butter – which was in the shape of a goldfish – was speckled with translucent green and purple bits. Ah, this must be Le Beurre Bordier, a butter flavoured with fresh seaweed from the coast of Brittany. I’d been wanting to try it since I first saw it on a random mini-documentary on YouTube. I’m not ashamed to say I ate the entire clump! Rich and salty with a hint of earthiness and a metallic aftertaste that cut through the creamy butter.
Warm octopus, quinoa and citrus salad
We started with a beautifully presented octopus, quinoa and citrus salad. It was a pleasant starter that will be featured on Rech’s à-la-carte menu. The dish had a good balance of flavours. I particularly enjoyed the slight smokiness from the octopus together with the citrus on the plate. The use of different citrus fruits was a nice touch, however, I did wish that there had been a little more of the citrus reduction. Sometimes when a concentrated sauce or reduction is spread so thinly on the plate, as it was here, it tends to dry out quickly.
Grilled sea scallops, chestnut, parsnip and white truffle
I was really looking forward to the next dish. It was a dish of grilled scallops with a scallop reduction and roasted chestnuts sitting atop a layer of chestnut flan, topped with shaved truffle. The scallops were incredibly sweet and tender – grilled to perfection. With each bite I took, I made sure to scoop up a bit of flan and truffle. Umami city. This was an especially rich and filling dish, but I managed to eat all of it.
Basquaise-style line-caught sea bass
Featured on the Coastal Tour de France Aquitaine set menu, our third course of the meal was a dish of line- caught sea bass with a side of bell peppers and a stuffed pearl onion. I thought this dish showcased the star of the plate – the sea bass – well, but because the fish was a bit underseasoned, the delightful stuffed onion and bell peppers actually stole the show.
Roasted pigeon, sweetcorn, butternut, anchovy
The final dish was not from the ocean but from the air– roasted pigeon with sweetcorn, butternut squash and anchovies. This was surprisingly my favourite dish of the night, very well conceptualised and executed. The pigeon, butternut squash and anchovies made the dish. The breast was a perfect medium, and the leg was tender and juicy. The intensity of the anchovies actually complemented the gaminess of the pigeon without overpowering it. A bit of red wine reduction rounded off the dish with some sweetness and acidity.
The insane dessert spread (I swear it looked much better than it seems in my photo)
With our stomachs already on their last legs, we were fed an astounding spread of desserts. I won’t list them all, but they were almost all perfect. My personal favourites were the French toast of Pastis d’Amélie with salted butter caramel ice cream and the exotic fruit soufflé with coconut sorbet.
The French toast was a heart attack waiting to happen, and I loved it. One single bite, and it immediately transported me back to a cha chaan teng. The hot-and-cold contrast between the toast and the salted butter caramel ice cream sealed the deal for me. Oh, the salted butter caramel ice cream that is made in-house (everything is made in-house) will leave you desperately begging for more.
Exotic fruit soufflé with coconut sorbet
I’m not the greatest fan of soufflés, but the exotic fruit soufflé WITH the coconut sorbet changed my mind. Soufflés on their own don’t usually hit the spot for me because they’re literally like eating mildly flavoured air, but the addition of this punchy sorbet really brought the soufflé to life.
I’m a bit late introducing Rech’s lovely Coastal Tour de France Aquitaine menu. It has already finished its run, but a lot of the fantastic dishes I enjoyed are also available on the à-la-carte menu. I highly recommend a trip to this fantastic restaurant specialising in French cuisine and seafood.
Lobby, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, TST, 2313 2323, book online
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.