Chefs and bartenders in Hong Kong have jumped aboard the Art Basel bandwagon with art-inspired dishes and cocktails.
Mandarin Grill & Bar
Art Basel’s sponsor hotel, the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong’s Central district, is offering an art-themed spread at the Mandarin Grill for the third year running. Chef Uwe Opocensky took five months to finalize the menu, which includes references to Jackson Pollock and Rene Magritte. “The biggest problem was coming up with the idea,” Mr. Opocensky said. “When you look at painting or art, it doesn’t translate to food. It’s hard to not be gimmicky.”
His Pollock-inspired dish is interactive: Guests sport an apron and head to a “painting station” armed with a white plate, then splash purees and sauces of various colors and ingredients (red pepper, potato, spinach, truffle jus) to imitate the American abstract expressionist’s painting style. The result is topped with a slice of slow-cooked beef. Diners can finish off with a dessert based on Magritte’s “The Son of Man,” served complete with a green apple atop the outline of a man in a suit, drawn in vanilla cream and crème brulee.
mandarinoriental.com; Art Basel menu is 788 Hong Kong dollars (US$122) for lunch and HK$1,588 for dinner. Ends Sunday.
On the other side of the harbour, the Peninsula hotel’s Felix restaurant is serving its own versions of masterpieces, this time by the likes of Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Leonardo Da Vinci. “Dali and Picasso are my favorites,” chef Yoshiharu Kaji said. “I always like colorful paintings with different bright colors such as red and yellow, it helps to stimulate one’s appetite.”
His take on Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” consists of a duck-liver terrine and passion-fruit jelly, with blue-tinted marinated apple sliced to resemble the painting’s floppy timepieces and a fig-chutney roll fashioned to look like a cigarette. In keeping with theme, the intricate dish requires patience: It takes around 10 minutes to plate, the chef said.
peninsula.com; Art Basel menu is HK$988 and runs until the end of the month.
Absolut Art Bar
For the duration of Art Basel, knocking back a stiff drink becomes conceptual art. Nadim Abbas has taken up the art-bar mantle from Adrian Wong, whose “Wun Dun” bar at the Fringe Club was one of Art Basel’s most talked-about destinations last year. This year’s theme: “Apocalypse Postponed,” for which Mr. Abbas took inspiration from films like “Dune” and “A Clockwork Orange.”
Located in a skyscraper in the dizzyingly commercial Causeway Bay district, the space feels bunker-like thanks to sandbagged walls and red lighting. It also has a blood bar that serves drinks like “2666: A Space Cocktail,” made with fresh beetroot juice and vodka. Served in a vacuum drink pack, it looks one step away from a blood transfusion. Soundwill Plaza II (Midtown), Midtown POP, 17/F, 1&29 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. “Apocalypse Postponed” runs nightly this week to Saturday, from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m.