When it was first suggested that I visit a dessertbar for dinner, I didn’t know what to expect. Normally when going somewhere new I tend not to research the venue, as I don’t want any pre-conceived ideas. This time, I wasn’t even sure whether I should eat dinner before going!
On arrival, I realised my mistake. COBO HOUSE by 2am:dessertbar, is a full service restaurant and of course has an extensive and intricate desert menu. In fact, you may even think you recognise the name. There is a 2am:dessertbar in Tokyo and in Singapore also established by master pastry chef, Janice Wong, though Hong Kong is the only venue serving her full savoury menu too.
We opted for the 4-course menu set which was great value compared to the individual dish prices, and started with the Yuzu Scallop. This was a raw dish, served with green and yellow courgette, Mirin jelly, yoghurt snow and finger lime. Topped with edible flowers grown in the restaurant’s own organic Okinawa sea sand garden – unique to Hong Kong, the presentation was exquisite – overflowing with colour. If you’re into photographing your food, this is definitely the place to dine. The dish itself was bursting with flavour – sweetness from the yoghurt snow – almost like ice cream, and a tangy touch from the lime. The mirin jelly (from a type of wine similar to sake) and crab eggs added satisfying textures to the palate.
Delighted with the quality of the first dish, I was excited by what was to come. For the next course, I opted for the Celeriac soup, served with almond milk bubbles and parsley oil. Celeriac is a wonderful tasting root vegetable and the blend with almond milk gave it a creamy but not overpowering taste. Amusingly, it was served in an over-sized tea-cup, showing again that presentation is key. In fact, the fine attention to detail was evident all over the restaurant from the décor, to the exquisite tableware and glassware and especially the food.
For my main, I went for one of the signature dishes – the Halibut Crab. Once more, this proved a delight to the senses – artfully presented with an array of different tastes, colours and textures. The dish had a light citrus hint, complementing perfectly the succulent pan-fried fish. Tiny olive pieces added savouriness to the light creamy sauce on the side. Tempted to lick the plate, I settled for scraping my fork to avoid the inevitable odd stares from my fellow diners.
And finally my desert option– one of 14 options on the separate dessert menu. A picturesque combination of shapes and colours, the Purple Chestnut was a delightful blend of lavender marshmallow and cassis meringue. With an intense berry sweetness, warm spongy interior and crunchy flat meringue, this was an extremely creative dish – an intricate balance of design, colour, flavour and texture. It truly is a rarity (and pleasure) to see such thought and care go into each dish at COBO HOUSE.
Of course, the deserts are a highlight in this venue, and we saw many diners dropping in later in the evening just for that, but to miss the main menu would be a travesty – I’m glad I did not.
Address: G/F & 1/F, 8-12 South Lane, Shek Tong Tsui, Western District
Tel: 2656 3088
– Words by Neil Boewn