A Scenic Meal at Aqua, Hong Kong
A few weeks ago I attended a going away dinner for one of my colleagues at Aqua Tokyo Aqua Roma Aqua Spirit in Hong Kong. Located on the 29th floor of 1 Peking Road, with gigantic leaning glass windows oriented towards Victoria Harbor this place definitely has one of the best views in town. And the decor does not take away from it either. Mirrors everywhere reflect Hong Kong’s miraculous skyline. Comfortable rounded leather booths facing the windows allow one to recline a bit and enjoy the show. Like…an actual show. The Hong Kong skyline light show which starts at 8:30. The menu, a mixture of Japanese and Italian dishes (NOT fusion, each dish is either Japanese or Italian) is creative and interesting, the ingredients top shelf, and the flavors wonderful.
Our amuse bouche? Fatty, salty, paper-thin sheets of perfectly marbled Parma ham rolled up and pinned to a wedge of brown bread, moist inside and rustic-crunchy on the outside. The Italian side of things. The Japanese side of the kitchen was represented by bits of roasted but still quite cool lobster meat served in a flower-bed of fresh, crunchy cucumber.
A gift from the gracious kitchen came next, a gigantic boat of salmon sashimi, o-toro, yellow tail, wagyu, char-grilled lobster, scallop, octopus, abalone, crab rolls, fatty tuna sushi, wow. My favorite was doubtless the thin slivers of wagyu which requiredlittle chewing and which melted like butter in my mouth. The tuna sashimi was also a beautiful red and was plump and juicy and had tremendous flavor.
Grilled Australian Wagyu wrapped with Japanese mushrooms on soft braised winter melon. This one was more manageable and very good. Buttery soft beef slivers, bursting forth cow essence despite its tender, mild texture, wrapped around chewy, slightly gummy bits of sautéeat mushroom. Served with crisp, braised winter melon which, oddly, had more of the consistency of a new potato.
This next one was my favorite of the night. A smooth mixture of minced veal and buttery fat, luxurious foie stuffed inside a tender, perfectly cooked, house-made ravioli pillow. Drenched in a super flavorful tomato and porcini mushroom sauce and sprinkled with a generous amount of nutty shaved black truffle which added an earthy depth to round out the tangy tomato sauce.
Lastly, and I’m glad I saved space for this one, the Aqua dessert platter. Creamy soft signature tiramisu, molten chocolate fondant cake (deep, dark, thick chocolate ganache oozing out of a soft chocolate cake), caramel creme brulee with a crunchy sugar lattice top, tangy tangerine and lemon sorbets, some sort of boat with dollops of chocolate butter creme piped inside, a martini glass filled with champagne ice cream, yuzu jelly, champagne jelly and drenched in bubbly champagne. My favorite? The green tea creme brulee – same texture as the caramel one but with a green tea infused custard on the inside which was wonderful, with a perfect balance of fresh, vegetal green tea flavor and creamy sweetness.