Ecriture is a contemporary fine dining restaurant utilizing superb seasonal ingredients from small suppliers, particularly the ones from France and Japan. The essence of Maxime Gilbert's craftsmanship, however, was unmistakably French. From the cooking and the execution of the dishes, we could see that he has mastered traditional technique of his native country. Here, to have a confirmed reservation, diners are required to make some advanced payments. Even by Hong Kong standard, the price of having meals at Ecriture can be considered steep. The dining room, on the other hand, does not reflect any luxury like the other elite restaurants in town instead, the company opted for more minimalist decor. It was quite soothing in which the most eye-catching aspects happened to be the copper ceiling and soft wallpaper. Consistent to its modern style, the medium-size timber table was not covered by any white linen. The white leather chairs were rather comfortable while the tables were well spaced. The private dining room was gorgeous though - a big panting by a Korean artist hung inside.
Now come the food. We started with some amuse-bouche and bread & butter. As I dined with my son too, ordering dishes from the a la carte menu made more sense since he would not be able to sit still for 3+ hours. We shared the following items ...
Hokkaido Scallops contisee with black truffle, cooked in a crispy beignet. It was served with celery roots puree, shaved hazelnut and skirt foam - A dish with good concept and pretty presentation. The millefeuille of tender hotate & distinct truffe noire was tasty; they're wrapped by nori and hidden inside crusty beignet. However, I found the coating a bit too 'thick' or overpowering to my likeness. The sweet celeriac puree, hazelnut and foam sauce made this dish more umami ... pleasant flavor and texture
Black Abalone (Kuro Awabi) poached in sake and konbu. It was served with air-dried Galician beef ham, grapefruit, egg plant puree as well as abalone liver sauce with dijon mustard - The Japanese influence could not be more obvious here. The abalone had good bouncy texture and umami taste; the liver delivered the most flavorful things in our palate. The rests made the dish more interesting; very satisfying but the portion was kinda small actually
Bresse Poularde cooked in a sourdough bread; underneath the skin, there were 'butter' and black truffle. The kitchen put in duck liver inside the breast. This dish was somewhat special because it was prepared in 4 different ways.
1st service: Chicken consomme served with chicken oysters and (big) Shimeji mushrooms from Kyoto - The consomme was just right to 'accommodate' tender & tasty chicken oysters as well as delicate and toothsome Shimeji; a promising start
2nd service: Chicken breast stuffed with foie gras and served with artichoke & black truffle - The meat was clean and soft yet firm and somewhat juicy. By itself, it might not be that delicious however the duck liver, the sauce and the artichoke enriched the dish. The black truffle was quite generous but not as strong (in both aroma and taste) as I expected - so not that "impactful"
3rd service: Sourdough toasts served with chicken kidney, foie gras, uni and chicken heart - The one with sea urchin and duck liver were the most flavorful; the rests were alright ... note that the kitchen even did not waste anything, they even utilized the sourdough bread
4th service: Chicken leg served with Ryu-no-hitomi rice and black truffle - The chicken was delicious but even better was the Japanese rice. The grains were bigger with good stickiness. Then combined the sweet rice with black truffle and the chicken - producing burst of umami flavors. While I think this part might be really tasty, I still truly appreciated the technique and the execution of the 2nd service (chicken breast part)
The pre-dessert was Sake ice cream with silky jelly and seasonal fruits. It felt good after the strong and rich flavors from the Bresse Poularde.
Citrus in the form of the "Napoleon" dessert. It consisted of liquorice ice cream, kumquat sorbet, and some white chocolate etc. - Crisp and thin chocolate wafer separated them. This millefuille should also be infused with lemon and lime; the flavor variations with some sweetness and acidity were really enjoyable. It actually tasted better than it looked
After the dessert, the pastry team served generous petit fours: creamy and rich chocolate cognac tart. It was hidden underneath a "book" that had been sitting on the table ever since we arrived. Then, there was flaky and tasty kouign amann with little cream inside, using the chef's mother recipe. Lastly, we're given decent Japanese melon. The service was generally good. Our main waiter, a Hongkonger lady, was passionate and did a great job overall from doing the service, preparing the food table side and having good knowledge about the food. The (French) sommelier assisted her sometimes but as we only ordered a glass of Corton charlemagne for the entire meal; it seemed that he's not that interested in talking with us / serving our table. Chef-patron Maxime Gilbert, on the other hand, was genuinely friendly and pleased that we had lunch at Ecriture. He even offered us that the next time we would like to dine here again, it's possible that we did not have to do the advanced partial payment - appreciate the kind gesture.
The food was intriguing and rather unique though not all of them necessarily to be really delicious. Maxime Gilbert did not really play safe and wanted to keep pushing the boundary. For instance, he would serve wild Game dishes in Autumn including well executed the 'Pithivier'- except for venison, "Le gibier de chasse" usually did not suit the Asian's palate hence often very difficult to sell. For this lunch, I did not regret ordering the Bresse chicken. It was not easy to find such well-prepared dish in Asia. If I have the chance to re-visit Ecriture, I would love to try the degustation menu. My lunch meal here was on par with the dinners I had had at Amber and Ta Vie. The pictures of our lunch, can be found - Ecriture Sping '19
Food (and Wine): 94 pts
Service (and Ambiance): 93 pts