New & noted: Beet restaurant in Central – balanced, creative and beautiful food
Singaporean chef Barry Quek cleverly plays with flavours, textures and presentation, serving up inventive and intriguing dishes from a brief menu that doesn’t disappoint. The friendly and knowledgeable staff complete the package
The menu at Beet looks as brief and straightforward as the name of the restaurant, listing just three starters, four mains and two desserts, plus a couple of extras such as bread (absolutely fantastic sourdough with butter, baked and churned respectively in house, HK$45). But looks are deceiving, as we discovered when talking with the enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, who included the Piccolo Concepts restaurant group’s managing director, who recognised me. The five-course tasting menu (HK$690) includes several dishes that aren’t listed in the à la carte selection, and they also serve a five-course vegetarian option (HK$400), further expanding the number of offerings.
. The Singaporean chef, Barry Quek, is talented and creative, and puts together really interesting and delicious flavour combinations.
The meal started with a beautiful dish of hamachi crudo with kefir cream and Kristal caviar (HK$210). Thin discs of peeled Japanese white peach were laid over the raw fish, and a gorgeous, bright green dill oil floated on top of the kefir. The combination was mild, sweet and refreshing.
We also loved the brown butter poached Hokkaido scallops with grilled corn (HK$190). While the dish was light, the sauce – made from the scallop skirts – was distinctive, with the flavour made even stronger by a topping of dried scallops and breadcrumbs. The almost raw scallop meat was sweet and tender, the corn added crunch, and fresh tarragon leaves gave a slight anise flavour.
The chef cleverly uses bitterness – an underappreciated flavour – to balance his dishes. The belly part of the porc noir de Bigorre (HK$360) was almost too fatty, even for this fat lover, but the charred radicchio served alongside it prevented it from being overwhelming. The loin portion, served pink, as requested, was succulent.
Tender, fatty Te Mana lamb (HK$280) – the loin and belly portions – came with grilled aubergine, celeriac purée, and soft, sweet figs.
Bitterness came into play once again with the intriguing marigold ice cream (HK$105). It was a fantastically creative dessert: the ice cream was mild and smooth, dehydrated milk foam disappeared on the tongue, small pebbles of caramelised milk chocolate added a rich sweetness, and the tiny fresh marigold leaves gave a bitter note.
Beet, 6 Kau U Fong, Central, tel: 2824 3898. About HK$550 without drinks or the service charge.
While you’re in the area