A menu of theatre at French Japanese fine-dining Le Rêve

by: Angie Kwon
19 Jul 2017

Le Rêve under the helm of Chef Israel de Freitas (warmly known as “Isy”) is launching an all-new seasonal set menu this July. We tried their brand new 8-course dinner menu, a theatrical and luxurious menu that features the rare Australian Jade Abalone.  Hidden away in the growing food tower Zing! in Causeway Bay, Le Rêve is a modernist, experimental fine-dining restaurant where the best of French and Japanese culinary arts collide. We met the multi-talented head chef Isy who along with his culinary talents in molecular gastronomy, also contributed to the interior design of the restaurant (he also does painting and photography on the side). The menu is orchestrated like a story, every course a new chapter unfolds for the guest. But before the theatricals, we began with an amuse-bouche which was a beef based morsel with a crystallised pumpkin seed, and interesting texture that pulled us into the story. The first chapter was “The sensation” a dish called Zaru Soba à la chef that featured Japanese soba noodles served with diced fish marinated in white miso and a wasabi air. The lightness of the wasabi foam added a clean after taste to the dish.

The second chapter “The colour” continues with the dish Green Ocean that features the rare and luxurious Australian Jade Abalone with sea foie mousse. The opalescent emerald-y colour of the Abalone shell is what we saw first. In opening the treasure chest like abalone shell we uncovered a luxuriously giant abalone cut into bites and served with touches of sea foie umami. 

The third chapter “Strong tradition” was a Nihon Risotto, Nihon meaning “Japanese” this is basically a Japanese risotto. We enjoyed it enough but it was more of a filler for us.

The fourth chapter “The Perfection” features the Nodoguro, a “Blackthroat” fish known for its, well, black insides and their rare high-grade reputation. Served with Hollandaise sauce and molecular ice-cubes in the concentrated flavours of watermelon and honey melon. The fifth chapter “The Discovering” we were given a choice between two different mains: the dry aged striploin or the chou farci aux volailles (chicken). We chose the latter that featured a cabbage stuffed with poultry, porcini fumé and Hokkaido pumpkin. The chef tells us that this recipe is one straight from his childhood, the exact same recipe was given to him by his mother, one that he has not changed (except he did say he made the plating “high-end prettier”). We saw this as the highlight of the evening, a nostalgic but ever elegant dish. 

The last chapter “City of Light” Beau Paris featured a dessert made with Créme Brulée ice-cream with caramelised orange peel and lychee mint spheres. This dish left the best impression on us, with the uniqueness of the lychee mint flavour complementing the richness of the creme brulee flavour. We closed the story with some mignardises and a tea, the last course of the menu. Overall we found the restaurant to have amazing service, quality dining and a passionate menu. The theatrical menu was an adventure in itself while the rarity of some of the ingredients kept us pleasantly surprised throughout the evening.

10/F, ZING!, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, 2866 1010;
Images contributed by Stephanie Leung