Hong Kong’s F&B scene in recent years has been brimming with dynamic and conceptual new eateries – not only they aim at pleasing your critical taste buds, some of them even aspire to satisfy your eye for beauty with its captivating decor and ambience. Le Comptoir, the fine dining group that brought us Bibo and Tri, is one of the leading players reputed for their groundbreaking work in meeting both ends. The group’s latest masterpiece is The Ocean – an ocean themed restaurant situated on the third floor of the new “It” building in Repulse Bay, the Pulse, which promised to be only serving sustainably sourced seafood.
Being a choosy person who is spoilt with so many great new eatery options out there, which are seen emerging every other week, means that more research work needs to be done before each visitation. I came across the place through an old friend and after some immediate brief googling, it was a no brainer The Ocean is a rare gem to join Hong Kong’s cramped dining scene – yes, so there goes a reservation without hesitation. On the night, we were greeted warmly at the door before stepping into the aquarium-meets-submarine setting inside, and already complimented with a glass of champagne once settled down. The soothing blue tone of the entire space and the open view of the bay through its floor to ceiling windows delivered a time stopping serenity – truly a luxurious indulgence to have in this bustling city. Apart from its seasonal sea inspired degustation menu, the restaurant also has an umi bar area for sushi and sashimi – of course, we came here for the former. The current Hong Kong weather might not be in valid alignment with springtime, but we could at least start off by having a fresh taste of it.
The frosted glass lamps placed above each table were a spot-on touch, giving off a underwater-like floating effect, while also complemented the royal blue lighting wall perfectly. The mysterious atmosphere at night was in total opposition to the radiant airy vibe during the day seen in pictures – guess a luncheon visit is in order next time.
The restaurant’s designer silverware and homeware selections were just as tasteful as its delicately placed astronomy dishes. I must say that the interior designer had done such an outstanding job in bringing the restaurant’s visual identity to life with his curation – oceanic coloured cushions and water glasses from Ralph Lauren Home, Baccarat crystal glasses, custom made plates from Japan and cutlery & homewares by Hermes. You can really feel the attention that been discreetly put into every design detail of the place once you set your foot in it.
The drink menu was also spot on with an extensive selection of both signature & classic cocktails and spirits. We went for two of their own inventions – Seaview Spirits (above) and Galleon (below) – and a bottle of Chablis from Burgundy. They both had a well-balanced and in-depth palette, definitely above average of its kind – could this place be any more perfect?!
First course – Set Sail – the most gorgeously and organically presented spread of canapes which includes marinated clams, turnip wrapped lobster tartare, truffle cream puffs, deep fried shrimps and rice cakes. Once the imaginative layout hit the table, it was apparent that we could expect nothing but state-of-the-art plating tonight.
The homemade honey & oats bread was served piping hot accompanied by silky smooth cream butter which was heavenly – I am never a bread person but this combo was definitely to die for!
Second course – Sea Breeze – marinated bay scallop, sea snail, carrot, green papaya, asian essence. The refreshing taste and crunchiness of the dish proved to live up to its name. But then the dreamy looking glass plate was the actual scene stealer to me and as I checked with our waiter, they were custom-made orders from Japan – the country that is known for quality glassware can surely do no wrong.
Third course – First Wave – slow cooked salmon, avocado, caviar, fennel seeds, creme fraiche, lemon, capers. Even though the dish was created with the ingredients that I do love, it was my least favourite dish of the night. I am not sure if it was intended, the flavour was slightly on the salty side coming from the caviar, capers and avocado puree all at once.
Fourth course – Blue Lagoon – charcoal grilled langoustine, farro, ume lingonberry, kale, ramp butter. The langoustine was grilled to perfection with a melt-in-your-mouth quality served alongside crisp kale and buttery farro. It was the kind of dish that simply made me wanna ask for more without guilt!
Fifth course – Great Reef – arctic char en croute, broccoli, celery, micro green salad. It was the fish version and an elegant interpretation of a hearty beef wellington. The puff pastry was thin and the artic char fillet wrapped inside was tender – all in all an enjoyable comforting dish that tempted me to try replicating at home.
I have to apologize in advance for the incoherent picture quality of the following dessert courses as my camera had ruthlessly died on me, so I had no choice but to wrap things up with my phone.
Sixth course – Decompression – passion fruit, champagne granite, coconut foam, crispy meringue. Without a second thought, this pretty looking bowl of goodness ought to be my favourite of the whole menu. It tasted just as elegant as it looks – packed with a comprehensive palette of flavours and textures. Coming from someone who is not so much of a big sweet tooth, I could so have another plate of it!
Finally, “Back to the Bay” with a delightful selection of house-made mignardises to be enjoyed with coffee or tea. At this point, I was already too stuffed to get a taste of everything and only managed to squeeze in the yuzu tart (right of the second row), raspberry dark chocolate (second left of the bottom row) and lemon macaroon (far left of the bottom row) – really could not ask for a better way to end this exquisite meal in style.
Also what sets The Ocean apart was the top-notch service provided by the front house staff which was hard to come by anywhere – we were looked after like a million dollars by our assigned waiter whom was very observing through out the entire night and even took the initiative to offer us car service upon leaving.
All in all, it was an outstanding dining experience to have and I won’t mind to pay it a second visit soon. Most likely for lunch just to enjoy the sunlit view of the sea and free flow of Perrier-Jouet.
If you love seafood as much as I do and happened to be in the city, definitely give the place a try and you won’t be disappointed.
Shop 303-304, 3/F, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay, Hong Kong
T: +852 2889 5939