Arcane opened its doors to the public in November 2014 and, since then, has stayed true to the definition behind the name: understood by few; obscure; mysterious; secret. This quiet refuge is the creation and first solo venture of Shane Osborn, the first Australian chef to be awarded one and two Michelin stars during his time as head chef and co-owner of Pied-a-Terre in London.
Consisting of a 36-seat dining room filled with modern decor and intriguing artwork, an 18-seat outdoor garden terrace reminiscent of a lush English garden, and a bustling open kitchen, the entire space is very intimate. Considering you are mere meters away from the busy streets of the city, the majority of the noise you hear comes from chatty diners, clinking tableware, and the fires of passion in the kitchen. If you’re feeling nosey, or simply want to know more about the food, you can even perch at the bar overlooking the kitchen and chat with Shane himself, who can be seen working diligently behind the scenes.
You can expect modern European cuisine of a high caliber from this discreet restaurant. The menu comprises six starters, six mains, five desserts, a set business lunch and a number of vegetarian options too. It is a conservative menu, but you can be assured that the dishes pack a punch. With ingredients sourced from Japan, the UK, France and Australia – as well as Shane’s own vegetable garden – you will never grow weary of the dishes available as they change with the seasons.
The Japanese fruit tomato with homemade ricotta, pine nuts, arugula and sherry vinegar is moorish to say the least. Doubling up as a starter or a vegetarian alternative, this dish is fresh and the tomato surprisingly sweet. It is not too heavy, making it perfect for keeping you cool in the summer heat.
Additionally, the raw Hokkaido scallops come highly recommended as a starter. This fresh seafood dish is served with a smoky eel mousse, as well as delicate chunks of celery and walnut that add a slight crunch to an otherwise soft dish. A wonderful combination of taste and texture.
Another seafood dish, available as the main course, is a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth monkfish roasted on the bone. It is served with lentils, morteau sausage (a traditional smoked sausage from France), spring onions and baby gem lettuce. It is impossible to feel guilty about dining out when you’re served food such as this.
The presentation of every dish is as delicate as the food itself, making it almost too beautiful to dig a fork into.
The most important part of any meal for those with a sweet tooth. One thing can be said for sure: the dark chocolate tart is to die for. Not only is the tart rich (though not overwhelmingly so) and smooth in taste and texture respectively, but is also served with a unique Guinness ice cream that is sinfully delightful and light.
Whether you’re dining solo or with company, Arcane is a great venue for a treat within the midst of the city, with outstanding service and a smile to boot. Prices are high, but for the exceptional standard of food served it is worth it. Plus, with the seasonal menu changes, there will always be some exciting combination of flavors and textures to explore.
|Overall stars (/5): ★★★★★||Atmosphere: ★★★★|
|Food: ★★★★★||Service: ★★★★★|
|Opening hours: lunch Monday – Friday 12pm – 2:30pm; dinner Monday – Saturday 6:30pm – 10:30pm||Reservations: Call, email or book online|
|Address: 3rd Floor, 18 On Lan Street, Central, Hong Kong||Sound: Bustling|
|Nearest tube station: Central||Price: HKD 500 + per person for main and dessert|
|Telephone number: +852 2728 0178||Website: www.arcane.hk|