Hong Kong restaurant reviews

MIC Kitchen in Central offers a seven-course treat, from Korean fried frog to a grilled cheese sandwich

  • Alvin Leung continues his innovative style, with delicate, elegantly presented courses
  • Dishes include lobster, beef carpaccio, Brussels sprouts, custard with smoke, and spam
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 December, 2018, 12:32pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 December, 2018, 7:01pm

The newish incarnation of MIC Kitchen is very different from the one that used to be in Kwun Tong. The original space had conventional tables and chairs; the new one – in Central – has around 22 high seats at a U-shaped counter around the open kitchen.

If the space looks familiar, that’s because you might have known it in its previous carnations, Liberty Private Works and Twenty Six by Liberty. MIC Kitchen is one of Alvin Leung’s restaurants, although the chef is better known for his Michelin three-star Bo Innovation.

The menu is different from the original MIC Kitchen, too. It used to be à la carte; now it’s a seven-course set menu for HK$800 plus 10 per cent. An extra course of white truffle spam and eggs has a supplement of HK$378, and there’s an optional wine pairing for HK$550.

The meal started with a rather heavy but very delicious amuse bouche: a small grilled cheese sandwich made with brioche, aged Comté and Lyonnaise onion. I’d be happy to eat a larger version of this for lunch any day.

We liked the taste of the next amuse bouche – a variation of Korean fried chicken with a sweet-spicy gochujang glaze, which substituted frog for the chicken. But because the frog was minced, you couldn’t really tell what meat it was. The pickled daikon that came with the frog – a traditional accompaniment to KFC in Korea – was too acidic.

The first dish in the seven-course meal was beef carpaccio with black garlic, salted egg gel, pear sorbet, fresh figs and olive oil caviar, which was light and fruity.

We loved the next course of Brussels sprouts, which had a great mix of textures. The Brussels sprouts were shredded, mixed with green apple and chopped hazelnuts, tossed with a pancetta dressing then topped with fried Brussels sprouts leaves.

Even better was the butter-poached lobster with risotto, grains (including quinoa and buckwheat) and pumpkin, especially when we added several drops of vivid-green spring onion oil, which came on the side in a pipette.

A sea bass dish wasn’t the prettiest presentation, despite garnishes of grilled scallions and edible flowers: the rest was various shades of brown. But the fish was tender, the various purées (including Jerusalem artichoke and nori) were delicate, a slice of lotus root provided a gentle crunch, and the scallions – which wilted in the heat – were intensely flavourful.

The only dish we disliked was the wagyu short rib with chocolate and bak kut teh. The slow-cooked short-rib was wonderfully succulent, but the sauce, which sounded intriguing, was disappointing.

The first dessert came in a sealed mason jar, which the chefs opened to reveal a puff of applewood smoke. In the jar was a smooth milk custard topped with slices of spiced poached pears.

The second dessert was a delicious East-West mix of flavours: creamy chocolate mousse, snow ear fungus, candied orange peel and chun pei (dried tangerine peel), garnished with pretty, translucent shiso liquid drops.

Although we were full, we found the space for the petits fours, which included a curry-flavoured macaron, pineapple tart, and a fantastic caramel made with beef fat. Sounds weird, but it was so good we wanted more.

MIC Kitchen, 26/F Stanley 11, 11 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 5186 3282.

HK$800 per person without drinks or the service charge.

While you’re in the area

Restaurant review: 1935 in Central – delightful surroundings and food

Chotto Maki in Central review: made-to-order fusion maki sushi

Restaurant review: Spiga in Central – good seafood, but avoid pizza