[Relocating] The Ocean by Olivier Bellin | Beautiful food, decor and views (1 Michelin Star)
There are many French restaurants in Hong Kong but The Ocean stands out for (at least) two reasons. One, it’s the only Michelin-starred restaurant on the Southside, and received its star within its first year of operation. And two, it’s one of the prettiest restaurants in Hong Kong with shimmery ombre walls and Hermes everything (well, at least the cutlery and the blankets). But how is the food? Recently, I had the opportunity to try out their five course degustation menu ($1,388) under Chef Olivier Bellin, a Brittany-born chef who was trained under Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse.
I’d been to The Ocean once before though it was when it was under the previous chef. The food had been well executed but the taste was a bit forgettable. Maybe it’s because I enjoy richer flavours and the dishes had been too light and delicate for my taste. But things have changed.
The menu is currently divided into oceanic themes: Set Sail (mise en bouche, not counted as a course), Ocean Breeze (starter #1), Sea Anchor (starter #2), Blue Lagoon (main #1), Deep Sea (main #2), and Decompression (dessert, and course #5).
We tried an oyster puff, a beetroot tart, and a potato fish puff. The pastry was perfect, and the fillings were a nice balance of fresh yet rich.
Ocean Breeze and Sea Anchor
The Ocean Breeze sounded very unusual: cauliflower and parmesan ice cream with hot squid ink. Salty ice cream might not be for everyone, but I found it quite enjoyable. It was kind of like a cold chowder. The Sea Anchor was perfectly suited for those who love rich flavours. Poached fatty duck liver against the natural sweetness of a seared scallop would have been delicious enough, but the flavours were further accented by salty seaweed paste and a crispy nub of pork.
Blue Lagoon and Deep Sea
For our mains, we had langoustine and then blue lobster from Brittany. That might seem strange to some as their textures are similar but the dishes were quite different. I really enjoyed the langoustine as it was sat atop a round of gooey black pudding with beetroot salad on the side. This was an earthy, but moreish, dish. The blue lobster was cooked perfectly and served with pork head veil. It also came with a number of sauces and accompaniments such as curry sauce, a tangy lobster bisque sauce, and an apple and grapefruit compote. The tangy, citrus elements in this dish were unusual but very nice.
We decompressed with a deconstructed apple pie that looked interesting but tasted like classic apple tart with ice cream. The box of petit fours were unnecessary (because we were extremely full by the end of the meal) but very welcome.
The Ocean is a fancy French restaurant and does what it does very well. All of the dishes were very creative and delicious. Personally, I really like that the dishes are fresh yet fatty. A special shout out also goes to the bread, especially the squid ink with prawn. It was so fragrant, I want to go back to The Ocean just to eat that! The service, interior design, and view of Repulse Bay (during the day) are also top notch. In addition to the set menus, the restaurant has six new specials available until stock runs out, such as an oven baked pigeon in puff pastry with buckwheat grain ($718) and a slow cooked, pan fried monkfish with jam paste ($628).
Shop 303 3/F The Pulse, 28 Beach Rd, Repulse Bay, 2889 5939
*By invitation for Foodie