Food review: Laris Contemporary Dining gets off to a good start
Chef David Laris' latest venue begins and ends well, writes Susan Jung
David Laris first came to the attention of diners in Asia in 2004 with his eponymous restaurant at Three on the Bund in Shanghai. The Australian-Greek, who received acclaim when he was chef of Mezzo, in London, has since expanded his culinary empire to include other establishments in Shanghai. There are also projects in Hong Kong, such as the food and beverage outlets at the East hotel.
His latest project is called Laris Contemporary Dining, which he opened with the restaurant group Dining Concepts. It is situated at 77 Wyndham Street in a space that also houses two other Dining Concepts restaurants. The restaurant has low ceilings and is designed so that the focus is on its open kitchen, where the chefs work quietly. Our main waiter tried to steer us towards one of the tasting menus - four courses for HK$538 plus 10 per cent, or seven for HK$788. We weren't that hungry, so we ordered à la carte.
The starters were our favourite part of the meal. The ocean trout tataki with slow-cooked quail eggs and keta caviar (HK$138) came with XO sauce, which the waiter felt compelled to explain was a Hong Kong delicacy. The fish was cooked so it was still raw at the centre, the XO sauce added a gentle heat, and the salmon caviar popped as we bit into the small orange roe. For another appetiser, sweet, fresh mi-cuit (half-cooked) scallops (HK$198) were served with a light green pea purée and a thin, crackling sheet of crisp pancetta.
The mains were less interesting. According to the menu, the pigeon had been stuffed with foie gras (HK$268), but it melted away, leaving a livery-tasting sauce.
As for the Iberico pork dish (HK$238), the tenderloin was dryish, but the well-layered belly was tender, with just the right amount of fat. The fried pork crackling was a nice touch.
For dessert, the sticky date pudding with brandy caramel sauce (HK$78) needed more gooey stickiness.
We liked the lime curd meringue tart with passion fruit (HK$78), which was just as it should be - a delicate pastry and tart lime curd topped with a cloud of a soft meringue.
The restaurant has lots of attractive design details, but the tables are a little too close together.
Laris Contemporary Dining, 2/F, 77 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2530 1600. Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm. About HK$500 for a three-course meal without drinks or the service charge