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Hong Kong and Macau Michelin Guide: Peninsula gets first star, three-star restaurants keep theirs

The Michelin Guide Hong Kong and Macau released its 9th edition today with The Peninsula Hong Kong finally making its entrance into the prestigious guide, along with French contemporary restaurant Epure, and a teppanyaki place helmed by a Hongkonger. The eight restaurants with three stars remained unchanged from last year.

Spring Moon received its first star today and The Peninsula’s group executive chef Florian Trento was on hand to accept the award, even though the Chinese restaurant’s new chef Gordon Leung has been there since June.

“We are very happy, it’s a great recognition,” Trento says with a smile. “We work hard to make sure the food is good so that the guests come back, and this recognition is icing on the cake.”

When asked about the disappointment in the previous eight years being shut out of the Michelin guide, Trento replies, “The past is the past. Spring Moon celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and it feels good to see it recognised.”

Another new entry into the guide is one-year-old VEA, headed by Vicky Cheng. “For me it’s one of my biggest achievements. This award is the biggest way for me to thank my mentors along the way and my supporters,” he says, adding this year has been momentous, having married and had a daughter.

Other new restaurants with one star are steak house Beefbar, IM Teppanyaki Wine, Sushi Tokami and Yat Tung Heen in Jordan.

Food writer Chan Chun-wai says it is an impressive achievement for IM Teppanyaki Wine in Tai Hang to get a star because it is helmed by chef and owner Lawrence Mok, a local, proving that Japanese restaurants do not have to have Japanese chefs to win praise from Michelin.

Amber in the Landmark Mandarin Oriental retains its two stars along with Caprice in the Four Seasons Hong Kong, Ryu Gin and Duddell’s.

One of the biggest movers this year was Ta Vie owned by chef Hideaki Sato, whose contemporary French restaurant that incorporates Japanese ingredients and cooking styles jumped from its first star last year to two stars this year.

Meanwhile, kaiseki restaurant Kashiwaya was also awarded two stars after opening for one year. Its sister restaurant in Kasiwaya in Osaka is a three-star Michelin restaurant.

Eight restaurants keep their three stars: Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Lung King Heen in the Four Seasons Hong Kong, 8½ Otto e Mezzo – Bombana, Sushi Shikon and T’ang Court in the Langham Hong Kong. Its sister restaurant in Shanghai was the only restaurant to receive three stars in the first dining guide on the mainland last month.

Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin Guides, says Hong Kong was stable this year, and the city continues to be an attraction for Chinese and foreign cuisine, in particular Japanese. “It has a market for that and people here appreciate high quality sushi.”

For Ta Vie, Ellis says it is not usual for restaurants to get a second star so quickly. “It’s a sign of a talented chef. He [Hideaki Sato] has upped his game.”

When asked about Spring Moon finally being included in the guide, Ellis said The Peninsula was keen “to up its gastronomy”.

However, The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong continues to be shut out, and he said the guide’s inspectors continue to visit the place, while Amber retains its two-star status.

“Richard Ekkebus is a great chef, very talented. The leap to three stars is the hardest to make and all the inspectors have to be unanimous when awarding three stars,” Ellis says.

In Macau, Robuchon au Dome and The Eight continued to reign with three stars, while Feng Wei Ju in StarWorld Hotel serving Hunanese and Sichuan dishes, and Mizumi from Wynn Macau both got two stars this year.

Three Cantonese restaurants received their first stars: The Ritz-Carlton Macau’s Lai Heen, Pearl Dragon in Studio City and Altira Macau’s Ying.

Celebrity Cuisine dropped a star from two to one. Several restaurants lost their single star this year including: Kazuo Okada, Lei Garden in Kowloon Bay and Wan Chai, Spoon by Alain Ducasse, The Boss, Yu Lei and Yue in North Point. Ciak – In the Kitchen lost its star but was mentioned in the Bib Gourmand.