VIEW 62 by Paco Roncero has been one of the most anticipated new restaurant openings in Hong Kong so far this year. At a recent media dinner I sampled the 13-dish Tasting Menu.
The menu is divided into Snacks, Tapas, Main Course, and Dessert.
Here are a few thoughts on what worked, what didn’t, and what was neither here nor there for me. Plus a few comments on the menu and the chef.
Gin Fizz. The first dish for me was an amuse bouche. Combining a cold gin fizz with warm foam that reminded me of lemon curd in flavour.
Olive Oil Butter. Olive oil that has been frozen and whipped before being housed in a toothpaste-like tube. Squeezed onto a crispy cracker with young leaves, it was fun, with a hefty punch of olive oil.
Black Sesame Miso Sponge. My guess is that this was made in the microwave via a culinary siphon gun to create an uber light sponge that can be cooked in around 30 seconds. Again it was big on flavour.
Truffle Dentelle. A poppadom made from corn topped with black truffle. The corn flavour was evident but ultimately it was a vehicle for the truffle. Major inconsistency in presentation though with some covered in truffle and others a mere sprinkle.
Chilean Sea Bass with Green Bean Sauce and Iberico Air. Like the other main of Beef Shank with Potato Puree and Black Olive Oil, this was one of the simplest dishes in terms of not relying on technical wizardry. A great piece of fish, cooked well. It made me wish on some level that more of the dishes were just about great ingredients and execution.
Rhubarb with Black Pepper. Supposedly a palate cleanser. Again inconsistency let this snack down as instead of being coated with demerara sugar and black pepper, my piece had sugar only and there is no way a mouth full of sugar crystals cleanses anything.
40-degree Salmon with Deconstructed Tartar Sauce. The sauce was so deconstructed and represented by such scattered tiny elements of the original sauce that I was unable to recreate the taste. It also takes the waiter about three minutes to explain the dish so it is largely cold when you get to eat it.
Carbonara Egg Nest. Props for creativity and plating with a faux egg nesting on some noodle. The egg white is made from cheese with a real yolk centre. While you do get the flavour of a typical carbonara the bacon element has the temperature and texture of ice cream so that when combined, as instructed to do, the dish is cold and cold ‘pasta’ doesn’t work.
The Bread. A big fail of stale bread that became rock hard within minutes of breaking open.
Neither Here nor There
Philoppiza. Basically a parmesan cracker topped with tomato powder that is meant to taste like pizza when eaten. It tasted mostly of cheese.
Foie Gras with Spiced Bread. Nothing wrong with it, but it is hard to go wrong with foie, so while tasty it was just okay. It was the third time in one week I had eaten a foie gras dish and it was the least impressive.
XXI Century Omelet. Consisting of slow-cooked, caramelised onion, topped with egg yolk sabayon, and finished with potato foam and olive oil. It was tasty but the name and the description of being “revolutionary” did not translate and I had to close by eyes for it to taste like an omelet.
Chocolate Coulant Nitro. A great tasting chocolate mousse but giving it the nitro treatment didn’t really add to the dish. A crunchy texture could have been added another way so it seems to be more about show than adding to the taste.
The Menu and the Chef
Seven of the dishes are categorised as snacks. I loved their playful nature but I thought they were mostly a series of amuse bouche items. I think that diners with a decent appetite or experience with other tasting menus that have as many dishes will be a little disappointed and still hungry at the end of the meal.
Roncero has a great background and so expectations were high, but during the dinner I noticed him out of the kitchen more than he was in. Which given that he will only be visiting the restaurant a couple of times a year was probably a good thing, but I didn’t get a sense of trying his food, instead I was left with a taste of a menu created by him cooked by someone else.
For VIEW 62 to be one of Hong Kong’s best restaurants it will have to lift its game. The restaurant usually only allows 30 diners to have the Tasting Menu each night, the others get a choice of two set dinner menus. I was part of a group of 40 media that all needed to be served simultaneously so for me it deserves a second chance when I will be just a party of two.