Madam Sixty Ate
Date of review: January 10, 2014 | Reviewed by:
Patrons are welcomed by a large painting of two baby piglets nursing from a mama pig, the first hint of the whimsical and kitschy experience that lies ahead. Madam Sixty Ate is beautifully decorated, with a glass wall separating the welcoming and cosy bar and lounge from the main dining room. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a view of busy Wanchai, including the beloved Hong Kong tram, and the hardwood floors pair with pale teal chairs and purple velvet banquettes to create a modern yet warm atmosphere.
The words that come to mind when trying to describe the cuisine at Madam Sixty Ate are: whimsical, wacky, deconstructed, and sometimes, confusing. More than once throughout our meal we commented: “I don’t know what I’m eating.” The heirloom tomato garden is a refreshing starter, combining green, yellow and red heirloom tomatoes with basil sorbet, dehydrated tomato, smoked tomato consommé jelly and Crottin de Chavignol goat cheese. The cheese paired wonderfully with the tomato but the smoked consommé jelly seemed a bit out of place and redundant, flavour-wise. Cold-smoked ocean trout served with toasted quinoa, avocado and pickled daikon was one of our favourite dishes, with all of the ingredients complementing the others perfectly. The mysteriously named Eliza in Black and White featured a generous slab of pork belly with a crispy top and tender fatty meat served with black garlic vinaigrette, pickled shallot and a jelly made with white beer. This was more successful than our mackerel confit, which was generously sized but completely bland and still mostly raw, rendering it basically inedible. Wagyu top sirloin with beef cheek and sweetbread served with “coffee flavoured soil” was extremely confusing on the palate as the “soil” was sweet and cinnamony – the overall experience tasted like eating steak, dessert and coffee all at once . Whether the unorthodox combination of flavours and techniques used in Madam Sixty Ate’s avant garde cuisine will delight or repel will depend on the individual diner’s tastes, but overall, we feel that the restaurant needs to polish up on their technique so that it catches up with its imagination.
Signature cocktails such as “Madam’s Affliction”, made with vodka, Poli mirtillio and passionfruit, and “No Woman, No Rye”, made with Rittenhouse rye, smoked maple syrup and bitters, continue the kitschy experience. The wine menu is impressive and eclectic and all wines are served in Riedel glasses that highlight the specific wine’s tasting notes.
The waiters are detail-oriented and attentive, patiently describing hard-to-decipher menu items (for example, what is “Eliza in black and white”?) and carefully explaining each dish as it arrives.
Dinner options start at three courses for HK$458 per person to HK$688 for six courses, which offer better value than ordering a la carte. Three or four courses is perfect for a filling meal as portions for the main course are on the generous side.