It was standing room only as the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau 2010 was previewed to press at the Four Seasons Hotel which is, according to the guide, the most comfortable hostelry in town.
Two of the hotel’s F&B outlets – Lung King Heen, which serves Cantonese cuisine, and Caprice, which serves French – received three stars, the guide’s highest rating. The only other eatery in the Pearl River Delta to be awarded three stars was Robochon a Galera at the Hotel Lisboa, which is located in the former Portuguese enclave, Macau, a 60 minutes’ jet foil ride from Hong Kong.
Forty restaurants were dropped from the prestigious listing and 86 were added, bringing this year’s total to 245 in Hong Kong and 53 in Macau. Nine received two stars and 39 one stars. Included were 29 “simple shops” serving local specialties at affordable prices.
At some of them, diners could enjoy gourmet meals for as little as HK$50 a head. Another 50 restaurants offer three-course gourmet meals for HK$300 a head or less. “Hong Kong has the cheapest starred restaurants in the world,” said Jean-Luc Naret, director of Michelin Guides. “You should be proud to live in Hong Kong. It is a great place for food.”
Last year’s guide – the first to be published in Greater China – was generally panned by the local media, which accused it of being elitist. They also questioned the ability of European inspectors to pass judgment on Chinese cuisine. Still, the first edition sold 50,000 copies, exceeding expectations.
As photographers snapped photos and journalists took notes, the reporter to my right was hurriedly typing a live feed into her iPod. When came time for questions, a reporter for one of Hong Kong’s largest circulation Chinese language newspapers asked if the larger number of inexpensive eateries in this year’s guide.
“We don’t lower our standards because of criticism,” Naret maintained. “We would lose our credibility if we did.”
The following three restauants received three stars:
Caprice Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong – French cuisine. Open kitchen, harbour views, produce imported direct from France.
Lung King Heen Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong – Cantonese. Harbour views, classy interior, professional service, fresh ingredients.
Robuchon a Galera Hotel Lisboa Macau – French. Contemporary Gallic cuisine in early 19th century surroundings.
The following restaurants in Hong Kong received two stars: Amber (French, Landmark Oriental Hotel), Fook Lam Moon (Cantonese, free-standing), L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (French, the Landmark), (Ming Court (Cantonese, Langham Place Hotel), Petrus (French, Island Shangri-La Hotel), Shang Palace (Cantonese, Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel), T’ang Court (Cantonese, Langham Hotel), Tim’s Kitchen (Cantonese, free-standing).
The following restaurants in Macau received two stars: Zi Yat Heen (Cantonese, Four Seasons Hotel).