Behind The First Supper At Arbor, A Sanctuary In The Heart Of Central
On a balmy spring evening, the floor-to-ceiling windows at Arbor were swept back to unveil a wraparound terrace, the perfect vantage point to observe the cityscape below. It’s an entirely new perspective; H Queen’s, which houses not only Arbor, but an array of restaurants and high end art galleries, stretches up more than 25 levels and offers a different vista beyond the building walls. In the evening, the lighting is kept dim and the ambience becomes quietly intimate, with flickering candlelight lending warmth to the room.
Designed by Yabu Pushelberg, the restaurant lives out its name (Arbor is latin for forest) with organic materials and botanic tones; the oak wood panelling on the floor and ceiling are subtle nods to the venue’s dedication to fine wines, while the walls of the private rooms are embellished with depictions of trees, from cypresses to weeping willows. It was the idyllic setting for The First Supper, hosted by Michelle Ma and Christopher Chan, in collaboration with Hong Kong Tatler.
By extension, Arbor’s cuisine pays equal respect to the bounties of nature. With chef Eric Räty at the helm, the restaurant represents the pursuit of complex and beautiful flavours wrapped up in simplicity and minimalism—a nod to the young chef’s Finnish roots and French training. The latter gives rise to accomplished renditions of dishes such as silky foie gras emulsion matched with nutty buckwheat and gently tart rhubarb chutney and umeboshi coulis.
Räty also confidently uses prime Japanese ingredients, such as richly flavoured fruit tomatoes and kombu, the latter which is candied and paired with sweet, just-cooked langoustine. His Hokkaido sea urchin meets with quintessential Nordic flavours with the introduction of sour sea buckthorn sauce, topped on a crispy cornflower and sourdough chip.
For dessert, guests enjoyed sake lees and Japanese rice milk in a refreshing dessert with ripe, yielding strawberries, meringue, crispy rice and sansho pepper leaf. Another dessert inspired by the pine shoots of the Finnish forest came in the form of organic chocolate fashioned into tree twigs, infused with liquorice root and paired with pine shoot sorbet, crème and fresh pine shoots. It may come as little surprise that Räty was once a pastry chef, working in the kitchens of the three Michelin-starred Restaurant Aqua in the Ritz-Carlton Wolfsburg.
The wines for the evening, carefully chosen by wine director Sebastian Allano (formerly of Four Seasons Hong Kong) included a wonderfully textured Montrachet Louis Jadot 2012, a versatile bedfellow for the menu’s seafood-focused first half of uni, oysters, langoustine and wild seabass, while a sanguine Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1996 was poured for the finale of A4 wagyu beef served with charred shishito pepper and Indian malabar pepper sauce, crispy purple potatoes and crushed Japanese yellow sweet potatoes infused with yuzu butter.
The wine list proper is comprised of more than 1,700 bottles, a collection collaborated on by Arbor's world-class sommeliers as well as personal selections courtesy of owner Christopher Chan; the cellar has been custom-designed, with top-of-the-range climate control systems—and fingerprint recognition.
To toast to a perfect evening, guests capped off the night with drams of Hibiki 30 Year whisky—and no doubt began to make plans for their next visit.
Arbor, 25/F, H Queen's, 80 Queen's Road Central, Central, Hong Kong; +852 3185 8388