As a modern cosmopolitan city, Hong Kong houses many skyscrapers and modern buildings for offices and apartments. As a melting pot for different cultures, it is not difficult to find restaurants for different cultures and countries here. While many would check out the local cuisine scene, there are many Michelin starred fine dining restaurants in Hong Kong worth your time as well. Being the self proclaimed gourmet, I always like to try out some of the World’s Best restaurants or Michelin Starred restaurants whenever I can afford the price or time.
Located in an East meets West neighborhood where the old buildings are refurbished to house many new modern restaurants, bars and drinking establishments, Frantzen’s Kitchen is a Nordic Gastronomical experience.
The entire restaurant is very small and exclusive with very minimal tables therefore prior booking is definitely recommended.
The front of the house has a central bar styled open concept kitchen where some of the starters are being prepared. In fact, the entire restaurant is so petite, everything seems to be within reach. While the restaurant is not on the Michelin list, the head chef Bjorn Frantzen who owns the 2 Michelin star Frantzen back in Stockholm, prepares the food here in the Hong Kong branch as he would in Stockholm.
The atmosphere here is generally friendly and casual so fret not for those who are not so used to fine dining and is really intimidated by pompous waiters in their tuxedos. Come dressed smartly in your jeans but shorts and slippers and T-shirts are going to be frown upon.
We were allocated the counter seats which personally I think are one of the best seats in house. While the high stools might not be the most comfortable and lacks privacy, you can totally see everything happening at the chef counter or pretty much around the restaurant itself.
The menus are placed in front of you the moment you take your seat and the service standards were friendly and impeccable. The head server gave a full explanation on how the menu works. There is a tasting menu at HKD 1, 100 ( SGD 220) which is specially curated where only the best and most popular items are served.
Alternatively, you can order a la carte items from the menu which are served all in small plates sized. Although the menu recommends which items are to be ordered in the beginning, mid course and final finish, there is no hard and fast rule. You can reorder a particular dish you liked even after you finished all the items from your first order. The best way is to get a recommendation from your server as some dishes might have a heavier after taste and would be left towards the end.
Once your order has been taken, a wine Sommelier is sent your way to pick out some wine to pair with your dishes. For an additional top up, you can have the Sommelier do a wine pairing session for your customized menu. Alternatively, you can just get the Sommelier to recommend a wine for the night based on your personal preference. The variety of wines available is huge and would make any wine connoisseur happy.
Our first dish we chose was the OYSTER “63.4°C” which has Frantzén hot sauce, smoked cream, fingerlime, sea buckthorn oil and of course a juicy fat fresh oyster. The plate was nicely decorated with white stones and a reusable pre-cleaned oyster shell. The oyster itself is definitely fresh and juicy with a sweet taste of the sea. The mix of the sauce was creamy, at the same time with a slight tangy kick from the lime. I could hardly taste the hot sauce but the creamy and lime balanced out the natural saltiness from the oyster.
While we were waiting for our dishes, we were also served biscotti crackers with a home made butter which has a mix of other ingredients. There was a clear earthy taste to the butter which tasted a lot of almond oil or walnut oil. The butter was so good that we asked for another slab.
This dish was a reorder and we decided to do so after watching the guy next door eat it. His expression told us it was so good that we had to try it. Initially we did not order this as the menu description was not very attractive. I am glad we did in the end as this and Swedish sushi was their signature.
This was the French Toast which in the menu was described as Winter truffle, Balsamic vinegar, aged cheese & truffle tea. Doesn’t sound too great unless you are a big truffle fan isn’t it? So as we ordered at the end of our first found, we watched our toast being prepared from the start. Firstly, a very thin slice of toast was toasted by hand till crispy and brown, aged cheese was then squeezed on top of the toast as a thick flavorful cream. After this was the chef generous and endless shavings of truffles to rain on top of the whole toast. Being serving, dots of balsamic vinegar was added on the plate and a truffle teas was served on the side.
Now to the taste, I have never eaten something like this where an explosion of flavors came to life. The crispy toast was crunchy yet not dry with the creamy aged cheese elevating the flavors. The first bite as advised by the chef was plain, 2nd bite with a dip of the balsamic vinegar which added a slight layer of acidity to the combination. Lastly to have a bite and a sip of the truffle tea together. I loved all 3 ways of eating the toast and the amount of truffles in this small dish was enough to bring me to the moon and back. I have no other words except, you have to try this yourself.
We moved on to our mid course with the pan fried scallops. The menu states this; Burnt bread pudding, beurre noisette, cauliflower, crispy bread & hay ash which don’t really make sense to the layman. The scallops were beautifully seared with beurre noisette; which is a brown butter used often in French cuisine, a juicy inside and paired with the frothy sauce which is a kind of tasted like an egg froth. The crispy bread also added a nice texture to the entire dish.
We had the cold poached blue lobster with tomato & peach ”ceviche”, black pepper, almond oil, mint & herbs. The lobster was very sweet although the portions were very small and the balance of the mint and lime made it a very good ceviche.
My friends had the veal tartar which had miso & hazelnut mayonnaise, deep fried brisket, chives & Caviar. I was told the dish was very appetizing and not too raw or creamy.
Lastly we had the cod with smoked beurre blanc sauce, hazelnut oil, spinach & peas. The cod was decent and probably better than many restaurants out there. It had good searing and a nice pairing of sauce but it did not blow me away like the truffle dish. We gave up on desserts as we were really full.
Overall, it was a great experience dining at Frantzen’s kitchen with the attentive staff and friendly chefs who are ever so willing to kick start a conversation with you. You can also chat with your neighboring diners if you are alone sharing your views on the dishes. As a test, I really accidentally dropped my napkin and they never really noticed until I asked for a new one; this is something crucial in getting a Michelin star. Personally, I really don’t care so much for the stars as well as the food quality was good and the service made me enjoy my visit.
Address: 11 Upper Station St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Operating hours: 5.30 pm to 12 am
Nearest station: Sai Ying Pun MTR Exit A1