Good old-fashioned fine dining is alive and marinating in Hong Kong THE BEST FOIE gras concoction I have been served and the oldest fine dining cliches ? these are the things I remember most from eating at nine of Hong Kong?s most celebrated and expensive restaurants. By quite a margin, Gaddi?s came out on top for me. It is the full package ? a terrific dining room that tables excellent to sublime dishes. Service ? something of a problem in Hong Kong, even in pricey eating places ? is good, and the Gaddi?s ambience is luxury itself. Chef Philip Sedgwick told me he just wanted people to have a great night out and feel relaxed and at home in The Peninsula?s world-renowned eating space. Gaddi?s had to be good, he laughed, because it did not have a view. I would rank the ?raw-marinated? goose liver (foie gras), described below, as one of the greatest dishes ever. But a ?cappuccino? of peas ? a small bowl of sweet and delicious bright-green pea foam over a denser puree in which small pieces of dark-fried sweetbreads and truffle bits cavorted ? was almost as good. And two slabs of long-cooked beef cheek in a rich brown sauce, creamy foam and bits of baby aromatics (such as turnip and carrot) were wonderful. Fine-dining cliches? Hong Kong must be their last bastion. It must be 15 years since I was served my main course hidden under a silver cloche (and then watched in embarrassment the theatre of simultaneous lift-off). I was surprised by the influence France and French ingredients still have on the region?s dining out. In the past 20 years, New World eating has left the restrictions of classique cuisine francaise a long way behind. Hong Kong, it seems, slavishly follows the French model, and I was astonished that in Southeast Asia so few ?local? ingredients were used. I suppose the argument goes that while you can woo Hong Kong?s diners with expensive simplicities such as pan-fried fattened liver, smoked salmon, rare fungi and French cheeses, why bother to go to the trouble of thinking up new flavours and textural complexities. Writing New World menus requires a great deal more skill and originality simply because more ingredients and techniques are in play. Spoon, the only restaurant to attempt New World culinary styling, produced acceptable, simple dishes. But they were pitched at an entry level of sophistication. While France dominates the top dining rooms, Italy is not far behind. Both Toscana and Grissini pleased me mightily. Fook Lam Moon does not look like the kind of restaurant in which you will be served the rarest and most expensive of Cantonese delicacies. But looks, in this case, are deceiving. At great expense you may sup here on the thinnest shreds of crisp shark?s fin, the most pungent and gelatinous abalone, and the most fantastically textured swiftlets? saliva. Heresy, I know, but I felt the simple cubes of hot, shivery and bright yellow butter pudding that ended my meal were the eat of the meet.