New Breton-inspired menu at The Ocean
24 May 2017
New executive chef Olivier Bellin has brought an innovative Breton-inspired menu to The Ocean, featuring some intriguing combinations of ingredients, accompanied by some sauces that we would happily order on their own. Born and raised in Brittany, Chef Bellin has worked with celebrated chefs Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse and is the chef-owner of 2-Michelin starred restaurant L’Auberge des Glazicks in the small Brittany village of Plomodiern. We tried the eight-course Degustation Menu on which buckwheat features heavily. An ingredient that is rarely seen in a contemporary fine dining setting, but which is central to Breton cuisine.
We began the proceedings with a selection of starters, beginning with the OCEAN BREEZE; crispy cauliflower pieces atop a bed of cauliflower chaud-froid. An accompaniment of parmesan ice cream lent the dish a savoury note that somewhat clashed with the oceanic flavour of the squid ink jus, which left a beautifully vibrant slick of blackness in the wake of the spoon. The cauliflower pieces brought the whole dish together, the crispy texture breaking through the strangely similar but also dissimilar flavours of the two sauces. A refreshing dish, but with two otherwise tasty sauces that would be better off kept apart.
Next we sampled the SEA ANCHOR; Hokkaido scallops with kabu (Japanese radish). The smooth creaminess of the scallops complemented the crispness of the kabu which was given a sweet tangy flavour with the addition of a pollen vinaigrette - a novel gallic twist on the Japanese root vegetable.
Perhaps the menu’s strangest offering, the BLUE LAGOON (which, first of all, is anything but blue) left us divided thanks to its cognitive dissonance inducing a combination of flavours. Diced Japanese sea urchin swim in what is described as an oatmeal foam, all garnished with a sprinkling of toasted buckwheat. While oatmeal and buckwheat bring to mind country breakfasts of hearty rustic fare, here the caramel taste of the oatmeal perfectly complemented the umami of the sea urchin. We were left wondering where the idea for this bizarre combination came from - Chef Bellin is known as one of the pioneers of using buckwheat as a focus in fine-dining.
With just enough time left to sample the main course, we opted for the GREAT REEF, a blue lobster dish comprising three sections of lobster, each prepared in a different way. On the chef’s recommendation, we started with the creature’s claw, which was served with an apple and grapefruit sauce and a toast of graisse salée. Once again, the sauce was good enough to eat on its own. The lobster’s shoulder was garnished with a dash of crystallised lemon while it's huge, juicy, meaty tail was served with a small brioche toast, a slice of pork head veil and slathered in curry sauce. We suspect it would have been better to have just served the entire lobster with the grapefruit sauce (I'll have a whole jar please).
It is well-worth making a trip to Repulse Bay to sample The Ocean’s quality food and great service, with a breathtaking beach view as a backdrop and a serene, comfortable atmosphere to complement the restaurant’s nautical-themed interior.