Pierre is the Hong Kong outpost of the illustrious modern French chef Pierre Gagnaire, who has around a dozen restaurants worldwide. His flagship eponymous restaurant in Paris is one of the world’s greatest French restaurants, and has earned three Michelin stars for many consecutive years. Gagnaire was one of the forerunners of French fusion, juxtaposing unexpected ingredients, tastes and textures. He has stated that his mission is to run a restaurant that is “facing tomorrow but respectful of yesterday.” Or, as he poetically (and somewhat cryptically) phrases it on his website, “la cuisine ne se mesure pas en termes de tradition ou de modernité. On doit y lire la tendresse du cuisinier.” (Cuisine does not measure itself in terms of tradition or modernity. One must read in it the tenderness of the chef.) So just how is the chef’s tenderness faring at Pierre in Hong Kong? We had encountered a fairly large body of mixed reviews before dining, but can obviously only react on the basis of our own experiences, which were excellent.
Pierre is located on the 25th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and accordingly has superb views of the Hong Kong skyline (sweeping from IFC One to the ICC building and the Kowloon Peninsula to Jardine House and the HSBC buildings). The chic, contemporary décor is dominated by a massive rectangular crystal chandelier, and is outfitted in a color scheme of black and shades of purple that get bounced around the room on numerous reflective surfaces. There are purple satin chairs and violet pendants that dangle above the beautifully set tables. The ambience is somewhat weird – a little too modern to be especially romantic, and too dark to be ideally-suited for business meals. And the background music (which for the record I quite liked) was extremely eclectic: little-known American acoustic blues singers like Eric Bibb, followed by Charles Aznavour singing French ballads and then classical choral music.
Gagnaire visits several times a year, staying for approximately 10 days at a time. He is responsible for conceiving of the dishes and menu, which are then executed by the resident chefs. It is his practice to include several dishes per course, a kind of variations on a theme, that are always original, intellectual and artistic. The meal commences rather decadently with a champagne cart offering five different options to begin the evening with, and then a whirlwind of canapés, eight in my case, the best of which was a black pudding croquette ball. It then follows either with the seven course tasting menu or the wisely compact à la carte menu.
The Autumn Tasting Menu, which we had, was not flawless, but was also not materially worse than the cuisine at Caprice, and may even be better. Overall there was an interesting alternation between lighter and more substantial flavors that gave the entire meal a considered architecture and balance that one rarely sees. A hare terrine with beetroot declination was a brilliant combination and came with a wizardry pairing of Chateau d’Yquem’s dry white wine, Ygrec, a complex and supple blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Even more impressive was a thick seabass steak, which was perfectly cooked and came with egg yolk shavings on top (although the Gillardeau oysters don’t quite work in the dish). A dish of seared scallops in a sea urchin bisque was surprisingly subtle and had nice depth. And a roasted breast of grouse thickened in a peaty juice with a root vegetable puree dotted with chocolate powder was as earthy and hearty as it sounds. The perennial Grand Dessert (in actuality a collection of seven desserts) was a mixed bag, with some sublime dishes and some disappointing ones.
NB: You can receive a 15% discount by using an American Express card, which could be a material sum.
5 Connaught Road, Central
- Hong Kong
- French contemporary
- Best Decor
- Best Service
- Best View
- Best Wine Lists
- BYOB Corkage Fee: $500HKD
- Private Dining Room Private Dining Room: 14 seated
- Michelin Guide : ★★ (2015) Review History...
RECOMMENDED DISHES See All
- Hare terrine, beetroot declination
- Thick seabass steak Saint-Germain, Gillardeau oyster/grilled fennel/ginger/beaufort cheese/tofu/caper
- Sea Garden: Roasted langoustine "Terre de Sienne", lemon paste; Gilardeau oysters, sorrel, Quimper bouillon, oyster leaves; White crab meat, citrus gel, avocado, Langoustine bisque
- Corolla of scallops seared on a grill, fine Manzanilla mousse, chinese artichoke, sea urchin bisque
- Roasted breast of grouse thickened in a peaty juice, roots vegetables and grapes
- Breast of farm hen from Bresse stuffed with foie gras, vine peach marmalade with spring onions and maniguette pepper
- Lamb AAA - Pan-seared saddle of lamb, tamarind juice, Nice-style socca pancake, tomato otti; Rack of lamb, stuffed fresh grapes, braised turnip with port wine; Ewe cheese yogurt, Roquefort and dried apricot
- Pierre Gagnaire's Grand Dessert
- Aged Comté cheese glazed with white chocolate, quince tartlet with roasted hazelnut and Macvin wine