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Restaurant review: Le Rêve in Causeway Bay – modern French given a Japanese spin

“I hope this restaurant is successful,” whispered my guest as we were leaving Le Rêve after having had an enjoyable meal. I do, too, although it was a very quiet night when we visited – there was only one other table of diners.

The restaurant serves modern French food, but it’s obvious from just looking at the menu that it’s a Japanese chef in charge. At dinner they serve two menus: six courses for HK$980 plus 10 per cent, or eight for HK$1,380 (a four-course set lunch is HK$280). They also offer a wine pairing.

We decided to have the six-course menu. Hokkaido crab with peach, beetroot, ice leaf and tiny bits of apple was a lovely, refreshing start to the meal; the ingredients were light and subtle, and combined beautifully. Next came hamo (pike conger eel) from Hyogo – lightly battered then fried so it was succulent, served with a delicious tomato gazpacho with shiso flowers and the tiniest cucumber – with the flower still attached – that we’ve ever seen.

We also loved the Brittany lobster with risotto and vanilla foam. The rice had been cooked in a rich lobster stock, and the lobster meat was tender. Duck with almond honey had moist meat and delicately crisp skin. It was good, although not as delicate and refined as the dishes that had preceded it. The grilled onion served with the duck was delicious, cooked so it was soft and sweet.

The dessert of bamboo charcoal/raspberry turned out to be a dramatically black tart shell turned upside-down over vanilla cream and raspberries. It looked more interesting than it tasted.

Also disappointing were the mignardises that were served with our tea: the best one was the mochi with kinako, but the cannele had been cooked in a silicon mould so the crust wasn’t crunchy, and the sable cookie was very hard.

Le Rêve, 10/F Zing!, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2866 1010. HK$980 to HK$1,380 without drinks or the service charge