Diner’s Diary

Get ready for Amber 2.0 – Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant looks to past and future ahead of revamp

  • Contemporary French restaurant the hottest ticket in Hong Kong as it serves 14-course menu of signature dishes to celebrate its 14 years in Central
  • For US$880, diners on last day before its closure will be first to taste eight-course menu Richard Ekkebus and his team will serve when it reopens
PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 11:43am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 December, 2018, 12:58pm

This week the hottest table in Hong Kong is at Amber in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental hotel in Central – and it’s not because culinary director Richard Ekkebus has a new “silver fox” look.

The two-Michelin-star contemporary French restaurant is serving its “Feast for the Future” – though it’s actually a last hurrah, an epic 14-course menu of signature dishes from its 14-year existence before it closes for renovations on December 9.

The entire seventh floor of the hotel, which currently houses the restaurant and two function rooms, will be renovated. According to the Dutch chef, there will be three restaurants in the space, including a new Amber in late spring.

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He would not divulge too much, except to say he and his team have spent the past four years researching and discussing what they would like Amber 2.0 to be.

This included hiring a public relations consultancy to conduct a survey of 150 people, from tai tais to industry titans to foodies, asking them questions that included their impressions of what fine dining is, what their expectations are, their preferences for fine dining, not just in Hong Kong but overseas as well.

“We feed people and indulge people,” says Ekkebus. “Compared to 14 years ago when we opened, people eat differently. We have the responsibility to pave the path to better eating.”

As culinary director Ekkebus has been a trailblazer in the hospitality industry. In 2008 Amber was one of the first Hong Kong restaurants to use sustainably sourced fish; the restaurant was designed to be energy efficient; and Amber stopped using plastic straws five years ago. In 2012 Ekkebus launched a push to install a filtered water system in the entire hotel, and it was finally done earlier this year.

The chef’s concern for the environment is evident in the kitchen, where he has his staff weigh all their waste – food, metal, and plastic – every day, and proudly says plastic waste is practically down to zero.

With that in mind, Ekkebus wants Amber’s next chapter to continue this forward-thinking mindset.

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The lucky diners who eat at Amber on the last day before it shuts – and pay HK$6,888 (US$880) for the privilege – will literally have a taste of the future, as they will be the first guests to try the new eight-course menu Amber will serve when it reopens.

What will it be like? “We will show you when it opens,” Ekkebus says. We’ll have to wait and see what the silver fox does next.

Amber, 7/F, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, 15 Queen’s Road Central, tel: 2132 0066