Euro Chic: Taking over the prime Harbour City spot once occupied by BLT, Amelia is a new restaurant bringing a touch of European culinary flair to Hong Kong.
Look & Feel: Sleek and casual, Amelia is decked out with plenty of wood and shades of brown. The space is surprisingly expansive and the main dining room is split into two sections. Simplicity was obviously the design brief for this restaurant, but one can’t help but wonder if perhaps just a little more effort would’ve made things more interesting. The bar is perhaps the most visually arresting part of the restaurant. With a full case of booze bottles displayed on shelves and a captivating piece of modern art sitting above, it feels at once modern and like a glitzed up version of a tapas bar in Seville.
On the Menu: The Michlin-starred Amelia concept might have been born in the Spanish Riviera of San Sebastian, but its menu is decidedly pan-European. And, in Hong Kong at least, it gets a light Asian infusion. Generally, the food is fine, but it succumbs to the Hong Kong curse of being unmemorable. A little fine-tuning would go a long way in making this a restaurant to go back to. We kicked things off with the Home Made Bread with Bone Marrow ($148), a signature starter. The fusion of warm country-style bread, rich French-style butter and lightly-flavored bone marrow effortlessly traversed East and West and was probably one of the highlights of the night. We were excited to try the Beef and Oyster Tartare with Pickled Mustard Seeds and Toast ($188), and while it was certainly enjoyable, it felt like it was missing something to elevate it to memorable.
For mains, we tucked into the Truffle Cacio e Pepe ($228) and Australian Wagyu Short Rib with Black Garlic, Cumin, and Carrots ($368). Sadly, both missed the mark. The pasta was surprisingly lacking in creaminess and flavor, even with a layer of truffle; the beef was dry and overcooked.
Jeng: The size of the restaurant was refreshing for Hong Kong, and the staff was genuinely attentive and helpful.
Not So Jeng: While the food is good, it falls short of expectations. You’d expect better from a celebrated chef and a Michelin-starred restaurant concept from chi-chi San Sebastian.
Meet the Chef: Paulo Airaudo has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, from Arzak (San Sebastian), The Fat Duck (UK), and La Bottega (Geneva). It would’ve been great if he was actually in the kitchen at Amelia’s Hong Kong outpost, but alas, although he oversaw the opening, he’s since returned to Spain.
Great For: A casual meal – if you’re in the area.
FYI: The restaurant has an alfresco dining patio with great views across Victoria Harbour – book ahead and request a table here.
Check out Hong Kong’s newest restaurants and bars here.
This writeup was based on a complimentary media tasting. The Loop HK doesn’t guarantee/sell restaurant review coverage. See our editorial policy here.