Date of review: February 5, 2015 | Reviewed by: Esther Wong
Quest features a cool, modern aesthetic with a clean palette of black and white, accented by grey tones. Seating is limited to approximately 30 diners, with plenty of space between tables to ensure a comfortable dining experience, although we noticed that sound levels could quickly elevate with rowdy groups. There is a small private dining room for up to 12 guests towards the back of the restaurant for those looking for a more intimate setting, and an open bar-cum-plating area where curious diners can watch their next courses being prepared.
The beauty of chef Que Vinh Dang’s menu (who formerly operated the private kitchen TBLS before it closed its doors in October 2013) is that diners aren’t privy to what is being served on the evening of their visit before the dishes arrive at the table. A common thread is that the menu will likely feature a Vietnamese influence, and we began with a yellowtail sashimi, served with a mild tomato jelly, basil seeds, yuzu kosho nuoc mam, and a sprig of sea grapes. The dish was overall very intense, requiring a bit of skill to get all elements into one bite, and opened our appetites. The Boston lobster tail rice paper roll with pickled daikon, avocado and a smoked paprika sauce was overall enjoyable, but the rice paper was a bit chewy and distracted from the other elements in the dish. The beef pho tartare, placed on a bed of rice noodles and topped with reduced pho broth jelly, fresh herbs and shaved foie gras, successfully replicated the elements in a traditional Vietnamese beef noodle dish. Next was the pan-seared black cod fish with swimmer crab, sugar snaps, squid ink mocha and fish caramel sauce, which was a little bit of a disappointment. Although the fish was cooked to our liking and the balance of textures was good, we felt that there wasn’t as much excitement around the dish and the fish skin could have been more crisp. Our favourite of the evening was the braised oxtail bun bo hue with daikon and tripe. The accompanying sauce had a subtle spice and was intensely rich – a warming dish perfect for the cooler months. The beautifully plated grilled Sagabuta pork with a colourful purple sweet potato purée and Brussels sprouts satisfied with the contrasting textures of the sweet potato and greens, even though the meat was a little on the tough side. A sorbet of the day is served towards the end of the meal, which for us was a mixture of calamansi, Yakult and chilli that both warmed and cooled at the same time, but was ultimately too much on the spicy side. The last course was an almond cake with charred pineapple and salted coconut caramel ice cream – the perfect combination to end our meal on a not-too-sweet note.
The succinct wine list is in no doubt influenced by some of chef Que’s travels around the world, with red and white bottles from the US, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Spain. There is only one option of each by the glass, although we thoroughly enjoyed the 2012 Owen Roe Corvidae Ravenna Riesling, which paired nicely with all courses.
From the beginning to end of our experience at Quest, service was spot on with friendly servers catering to our requests. Water glasses were never empty, and dishes were described in detail as they arrived.
We found the eight-course degustation menu, priced at HK$780 per person, to be great value for money. The no-fuss dining experience kept us eagerly anticipating each course, waiting to see and taste chef Que’s culinary creativity.