Hong Kong restaurant reviews

Uwe in Sheung Wan restaurant review: beautifully cooked and delicately presented dishes

Ex Mandarin Oriental executive chef’s eponymous restaurant serves up well thought out, cleverly made and elegant dishes, and the only complaint is that one of the plates was too small

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 12:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 16 March, 2018, 12:34pm

I knew there was no way I could get in and out of Uwe without being recognised. Even if by chance chef Uwe Opocensky – whom I knew from his time as executive chef at the Mandarin Oriental – wasn’t there during my visit, the staff, all of whom came from the same hotel, would recognise me. So I did something I never do when reviewing: I booked under my own name.

It’s a small space that seats only about 20, which means it gets booked out quickly (start trying for a table at least a month in advance). An upside-down tree hangs from the ceiling; plates and crockery are mismatched and charming.

The meal begins with what Opocensky calls Sea Side. It’s a whimsical, fun, seafood-based course. The chef spoons “sand” (made of dehydrated beer and mushrooms) onto the plastic-covered table and lays out coral, large rocks and shells, on which he places raw, cooked and cured seafood: salmon topped with caviar, razor clams, oysters, Mediterranean tuna with black truffle, Japanese scallops with kohlrabi, crab salad stuffed into a crab leg. It gets better: Opocensky also puts down the largest langoustine tails (a supplement of HK$228 to HK$388 each) I’ve ever seen; he explains that they are from the Faroe Islands, from the same person who supplies Noma in Copenhagen. They’re fat, succulent and absolutely delicious.

After everything is cleared away, we’re served enormous Spanish red prawns (supplement of HK$268). Usually, the chef grills only the head, and the flesh is eaten raw, but for my guest, he cooked the whole thing. Fortunately for me, my guest dislikes head guts as much as he dislikes raw prawns so while he was eating the body, I ate his prawn head as well as mine. It was so full of rich, briny juices and guts that the fat completely coated my mouth. The raw flesh was soft, sweet and sticky.

A small tart of roscoff onion with fresh artichoke heart, aged Comté, chicken jus and truffle was next. Another delicious dish, with excellent pastry and an intense filling. Tender line-caught sea bass with kale and a light caviar sauce shows that Opencesky can cook classic dishes, as well as more creative ones.

Grass-fed beef rib-eye cap – my favourite cut of meat – is fragrant from the cedar wood it’s grilled over, and is served with beef jus, puffed wild rice, colourful heirloom carrots. It’s hard to eat, though, because the wood block it’s served on is too small.

Dessert is light, thankfully: sweet grilled Japanese strawberries with caramel and Sichuan peppercorn, Hokkaido milk ice cream and crunchy meringues.

Uwe, 252 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan. Prepaid bookings are through Tock ( HK$1,288 for a six-course dinner; four-course lunch (HK$888) on Fridays only.

While you’re in the area:

New Sai Ying Pun restaurants: top-notch food, friendly owners at Pete’s Place

Restaurant review: Krua Walaiphan in Sai Ying Pun – tasty Thai food that every neighbourhood should have

Restaurant review: Tate in Sheung Wan – chef Vicky Lau cooks with poetry, emotion