It's J's birthday week and one of first birthday celebrations we had with a group of friends was at Le Rêve - a new French-Japanese restaurant located in the hip ZING! building in Causeway Bay. The restaurant is headed by Chef Ryogo Ozawa who had trained at the 3* L’Assiette Champenoise in Reims, and he's combining his modern French technique with superb Japanese ingredients to deliver the best of both worlds in Hong Kong. For dinner, you can choose between 6 courses for $980 or 8 courses for $1380, and we went for the lighter 6 course set menu for our group. Optional wine pairing with 3 glasses and 5 glasses are also available for $320 and $520 respectively.
The decor at the restaurant was modern and elegant with a bar and wine cellar at one end and the dining room with a view into the kitchen at the other. What was surprising was that the bar almost took up just as much space as the dining room which wasn't big to begin with.
The theme of the menu is "A Harmony of Earth & Sea" and the table settings reflected just that with a wooden tree stump charger plate and a long brown leaf as a place mat.
The attention to detail continued with the bread plates which was made from volcanic rocks in Mount Fuji. The bread was actually really nice and when I asked them if it was made in-house, they said no but that they have a Japanese bakery make it for them.
The first dish was a refreshing Crabe (Hokkaido) / Peache with a mixture of Hokkaido crab meat, scallops, apricot and pear. Topped with beetroot, the taste was light, delicate and nicely balanced.
The combination of Pike Conger (Hyogo) / Tomato was impressive as the pike conger tempura was fried to perfection which went exceedingly well with the tomato and cucumber gazpacho.
The presentation of the Nodoguro (Nagasaki) / Vin Jaune (Jura) was beautiful as the blackthroat seaperch was surrounded by a crispy potato halo. The tender fish was delicious as nodoguro tends to have a high amount of fat and the accompanying wine sauce was superbly made as well.
The Bateau House Challans Duck (Nantes) was another excellent dish as it corporate a bit of every flavor with sweetness, sourness, bitterness and spiciness. The duck was very flavorful while I enjoyed the sauce as well which was a bit spicy. The only thing was that this dish was placed backwards for half of our table which doesn't affect the taste, but for a fine dining restaurant it points to a lack of attention to detail.
I loved the stark contrasting colors of the Bamboo Charcoal / Raspberry dessert which had a creamy filling but I thought that the pastry crust was a bit too dry.
The Petit Fours was a stunning fusion of Japanese and French sweets with mochi, lychee, madeleine and chocolate. It was the perfect ending of our meal which reflected the chef's vision in what he wanted to deliver in his food.
Verdict - there is no doubt that Chef Ryogo Ozawa is talented with a lot of potential but the only thing missing at the restaurant was the level of the service which wasn't bad but just not on par with the food. If Le Reve wants to play in the big league and potentially garner a star from Mr. Michelin, this is probably the area it needs to work on improving.
38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay
Tel: +852 2866 1010http://www.lereve.com.hk/index.html
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