Whimsical, eccentric and quirky are three words that are commonly used to describe Madam Sixty Ate, the modern European restaurant that opened last summer in the heart of Wanchai. Since then, the Madam has been getting mixed reviews, with no surprise, as the venue’s menus cater to those with a taste for adventure.
What it is: Imagine falling into the story of Alice in Wonderland, into a world of peculiar fantasy and you’ll be able to pre-empt the experience of a visit to Madam Sixty Ate. Located next to The Pawn and above the OVO lifestyle store in Wan Chai, the restaurant adds another dimension of fantasy to the area. In the kitchen, you’ll find Aussie chefs Chris Woodyard (former W Hotel Culinary Director and owner of Three Clicks West, Australia) and Andrew Braham, a former sous-chef who worked in London.
The atmosphere: There are places that are so stuffy that they’re almost suffocating, and then there are places that just lack that bit of sophistication. Not so for Madam Sixty Ate, where everything from the dainty bird-filled wallpaper to the soft lighting and subtle music in the background made us feel relaxed and ready to enjoy our meals.
The food and drink: We started with the Paella for Pedro – a delicate salad of mussels, rabbit, scampi carpaccio and puffed rice (HK$120). Although the menu description was ‘Spanish classic with a twist’, what came out looked nothing like traditional paella. We give it points for presentation but a thumbs down for taste.
Next, the scallop bourguignon (HK$130) was elegantly placed on a porcelain half pipe dish resting atop large granular salt. The ragout of Wagyu beef was tender and the scallops fresh. We particularly liked the sauce mixture drizzled on onions, mushrooms and bone marrow dumpling. The crispy skin ocean trout with shellfish (HK$290) came complimented by a veloute of wild mushrooms, clams and a sprinkle of cracked rye. Delicious? Yes. Special? Not particularly, but a good all rounder.
For dessert, the gingerbread and apples (HK$85) was a refreshing round-up of flavours featuring cinnamon parfait, green grapes and apple compote, calvodos sorbet and gingerbread snap finishing with Matzoh, a Jewish cracker-like bread. We also enjoyed the poached mandarin and pistachio meringues with roast lemon puree, saffron bubbles and Masala chai sorbet (HK$90), which was simple and yet not too overpowering.
Must-try: Don’t miss A Day in Persia, which resembles a painting constructed with ‘Fosenjan’ pigeon breast with crisped leg, foie gras, walnut tabour, sheeps’ milk yoghurt and pomegranate molasses (HK$320). The creative spin on the traditional Persian stew cooking method accentuated the lean and flavoursome texture of the pigeon meat. For dessert, be sure to try the warm cigar scented chocolate financier (HK$90), which boasts a subtle flavour and helps mellow out the rich and curious combination of Sichuan ganache, pepper tuille, smoked almond ice cream and armanac filled dates.
Verdict: The owners of Madam Sixty Ate are not only chefs — they are also artists and designers. Although we’re sure some would disagree, we definitely appreciated the way they continue to push the boundaries with innovative flavours and presentation.
Shop 8, 1/F, The Podium, J Senses, 60 Johnston Rd, Wan Chai, +852 2527 2558, www.madamsixtyate.com.hk
This post was originally published on Lifestyle Asia, Review: Madam Sixty Ate on 23rd January, 2012