I cannot think that Michelin Hong Kong has the slightest clue about its own Michelin ratings. I dare any inspector to try and walk into Celebrity Hong Kong and claim its a two star Michelin restaurant. I cannot understand how Celebrity is even mentioned in any Michelin guide!
On their restaurant website they show this dinning room with plush upholstered walls and seating but just the opposite is true. The only connection between the two spaces are the black pseudo leather chairs, and the purple colours used on the walls.
This photo clearly shows it is run down, horrible and inconsistent with what they claim and in no way do they appear to be the same space or place. Unless I went to the wrong hotel and restaurant (which is possible) then they should eject this restaurant from the red book, or risk reputational issues.
Now its easy to understand that Hong Kong standards are different than other Asian cities, and it can happen that “amazing cuisine” and “atmosphere” are not in sync. But Celebrity is way out of sync, and no one should venture there for an elegant dinner because there is nothing elegant about it!
The entrance to the hotel is appointed by an ashtray unkept and filled with cigarettes. The restaurant has not one single element that is charming – not one.
The waitress had her mouth full and was chewing her food after she came from behind the service area. I was wondering if the kitchen is nearby, or if there is a kitchen, or a chef.
The vegetable dish arrived to the table with a plastic cover that was removed at the table.
The restaurant is bizarre and when you exit the elevators there is a table with all the chef’s accolades. They seem to be from a longtime ago.
I even had the feeling the restaurant was abandoned and surprisingly it was barren with an exposed ceiling and lacked any kind of comfort.
The restaurant entrance leads you down a corridor past the restrooms, the door open and rather filthy. As I passed I took a double take, and there what looked like an empty plastic yoghurt container under the chair (see below) and perhaps its used as a trap to catch insects. Also under and beside the restroom chair were two blacks insects dead and laying there. As you turn the corner in the corridor is a ratty service station which is in the way, and you almost walk into it.
The maitre’d hotel was bizarre, he never greeted us and when we arrived he grunted and pointed at the nearest table. There aren’t more than 5 tables, so you would have thought he would be more careful about guests with reservations.
But the room was empty except for one other table with a call Chinese group wearing sweat pants. The mood was bright light, unkept, unpleasant and the food was more or less the same. There is something seriously wrong with any restaurant that claims to be a two star Michelin and isn’t worth any Michelin mention.
The menu is inside a cheesy plastic covered book (with photos) of the food, and it was dirty and sticky. The abalone they offer is sold per piece and ranges from $380 to $9,000 per single piece. That is almost USD $1200.
I couldn’t help myself, and I ordered sharks fin soup to see what I would actually get. The soup was a large portion of fin but it seemed commercial and salty. I am still wondering why the waitress was suggesting to pour the vinegar into the sharks fin soup. I believe its to aid digestion (hakmicho) but that seemed odd after I had a conversation earlier on in the day about vinegar and its appropriateness.
Their red vinegar looked like food colouring used in making gumboils, it was likely made with food colouring because red vinegar is usually much different in colour. Traditionally Chinese vinegar is made by soaking chive blossoms in a good quality white vinegar. Even sometimes vinegar is coloured by using red yeast but not this time.
I asked the maitre’d about the size and pricing of the abalone and he made it clear that their restaurant uses only top-class ingredients from Japan. Japanese abalone is often purchased dried and re-hydrated, or even purchased in a can already braised. I doubt there is top quality anything at Celebrity.
The abalone sizes as seen on the menu ranges from a 12-36. The easiest way to understand size is by head count, so use 500 grams and divide by the weight of the abalone and the resulting number is the head figure for abalone. For example, if the weight of abalone is 100 grams, then 500/100 = 5, which is “five heads” abalone; if dried abalone is 50 grams, then 500/50 = 10, which is “ten heads” abalone.
Frankly I cannot see how a Michelin starred restaurant serves braised Japanese abalone without any presentation or style. At least if you are offering extravangt foods, a little effort should be made and some standards should be maintained.
I understand that Chinese cuisine isn’t always about the restaurant’s aesthetic, and I get that, but why did they bring a box of kleenex to our table? We weren’t sneezing, no signs of a common cold, and no tears.
Celebrity is just a disaster for any foodie, and it gives the wrong impression about Michelin standards. If I’ve ever seem false advertising this is the best example of it.