A SPOONFUL OF DELIGHT The long- awaited Spoon by Alain Ducasse opened on October 22 at the InterContinental Hong Kong (18 Salisbury Road, Kowloon, tel: 2313 2256). The hotel had a series of pre-opening dinners for celebrities, socialites, VIP hotel patrons, food and beverage professionals and the media. Ducasse and his entourage had flown in several days earlier for final menu tastings and to view the restaurant for the first time since its completion. Tony Chi, who has designed restaurants around the world, including Cinecitta, Kokage and One-fifth in Hong Kong, has incorporated 550 hand-blown Murano glass spoons into the design of the ceiling. For the pre-opening dinner, we were served seven courses. The warm royale of cepe custard with raw enoki and shiitake mushrooms, pancetta salt and green juice was wonderful, with a surprisingly subtle mushroom taste. The custard was smooth and the pancetta salt added the tiniest crunch. We also loved the chilled tomato soup with sun-dried tomato salad, bonito tartare and seaweed pesto. Maitre d' Guillaume Gallas instructed us to pour the tomato soup over the bonito tartare and top it with the salad (which also contained two types of fresh tomatoes) and roughly-textured pesto. It was a great contrast of flavours and textures. Poached Boston lobster with 'herbs/basil' condiment and vegetable minestrone showcased the sweetness of the crustacean. I would have liked the beef dish (tournedos with spicy condiment, 'macaire' potatoes and lettuce heart) more if it hadn't been so lean. The menu by executive chef Laurent Andre accommodates Hong Kong tastes by giving many seafood options - coral garoupa with stockfish condiment and fondant potatoes ($280) and Australian red emperor fish with lemon/salt olives, fennel, scallion and tomatoes ($280) to name two. As at the other Spoons in Paris, London, St Tropez and Mauritius, diners are invited to personalise dishes by mixing and matching items. There's a 'sexy Spoon' six-course meal created by the chef after consultation with diners. It is $750 plus 10 per cent a person or $1,230 with a different wine for each course. Desserts by pastry chef Sebastien Cocquery-Beraud include Spoon doughnuts with red fruit compote, warm tarte tatin with vanilla ice-cream, pineapple fritters with spicy/ginger condiment and potted coconut cream and 'sugar and salt' chocolate praline fingers.