Restaurant review: Culinart
22B Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen
Tel: 2580 0919
Open: Monday-Saturday by reservation only
Price: HK$880 without drinks or the service charge. Still mineral water is included at lunches and dinners.
Ambience: the minute you step inside Culinart you forget you're in an industrial building. A sleek open kitchen, where you can watch chef Stanley Wong prepare meals, occupies one end of the room, which also has long wooden tables, a rugged leather sofa set and artworks.
Pros: the food presentation was wonderful. From the amuse bouche to the array of sweets, including cassis ice cream, crème brûlée, tiramisu, candied fruit and more, which were served dramatically on a large glass "shelf" carried to the table by two people.
Cons: we had forgotten to pre-order any alcohol, from a list e-mailed along with a booking form, so the wine selection available on the night was small. The location can be a turn-off because at night there's no reason to hang around.
Recommended dishes: guests are offered a set menu consisting of six or seven tasting courses. The dish we enjoyed the most featured tender slow-cooked Iberico pork cheek. The different flavours were a surprise, and included watercress and kumquats on a base of puréed kohlrabi. An interesting touch was the hint of Bengali five spice. Ocean trout, bluefin and yellowtail also excited the palate. Spicy myoga ginger worked a treat with the tuna sashimi, and the yellowtail was enhanced by turmeric. Cornish hen, the last dish before dessert, had to be good to even be touched because we were full. Light, delicate and moist, it was constructed into a roulade and served on a bed of sweet corn and peas with a chickpea purée and caramelised endive.
What else: A minimum of eight people are usually required for dinner, but we were given a table for two on a night when there was only one other table booked. They also offer cooking classes.