Diner’s Diary

Grace Restaurant's Curtis Duffy cooks for Hong Kong

Chef of three Michelin-star Chicago restaurant presents dishes at Brasserie on the Eighth that can hardly be classified, but are characterised by interesting texture and flavour combinations

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 September, 2015, 4:27pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 February, 2016, 11:56am

American Curtis Duffy takes over the kitchen at Brasserie on the Eighth in the Conrad Hong Kong until September 12 for some fantastic culinary creations.

The chef has come to Hong Kong for the first time to  present dishes from his three Michelin-starred Grace Restaurant in Chicago.

He opened the fine-dining establishment in late 2012 and was awarded two stars in 2014 and the third this year. The latest accolade coincided with the release of For Grace, a documentary about Duffy’s experience in opening a restaurant from scratch and what drove him to become a top chef.

His food speaks for itself; it represents refined dining that can hardly be classified, though all the dishes are artfully presented and have interesting textures and flavour combinations.

One of the starters is called “milk”, and features a slightly salty milk sorbet dressed with two sauces, blood orange and black olive along with finely diced black olive. Another features a chunk of Alaskan king crab presented in a coconut half shell (the brown ones) on a bed of coconut panna cotta with thin slices of carrot and crunchy tapioca.

The best dish of the evening was “pig tail” – a meatball made of minced pork covered in genmaicha, or toasted rice used in Japanese tea. Again the play on textures here is fantastic, the tenderness of the pork contrasting with the crunchy shell; the meatball is complemented with endive and a  cauliflower puree, for an autumnal dish that’s hearty.

The other main course had two small slices of Miyazaki beef that melted in the mouth, while the plate was fantastically dressed with deep-fried rice paper, roasted peanuts and Vietnamese herbs. It was accompanied by Duffy’s version of tom yum kung, which had a rich flavour but was on the oily side.

We had fun cracking open the dessert called “strawberry” – the round ball was made of refreshing kaffir lime and inside was strawberry foam with butter crumble.

The nine-course degustation menu is HK$1,888, or HK$2,568 with wine pairings.

Brasserie on the Eighth, 8/F, Conrad Hong Kong, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway. For reservations call 2822 8803