How to close an established restaurant after 14 years

Culinary director Richard Ekkebus. (Contributed photo)


FOR those of you who follow my column, you know I am partial to culinary visits to Hong Kong as it is near Manila. With the advent of cheaper and more flights available, jetting to Hong Kong even for a day trip is possible. You can take the first morning out of Manila and get back on the 10 p.m. flight back to Manila via the Cathay Pacific or Cebu Pacific even.

My favorite thing to do is eating out in Hong Kong -- more than sightseeing or even shopping. One of the best restaurants in this city, Amber, the two Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by chef Richard Ekkebus at the Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Central, Hong Kong will close temporarily for renovations. The all-new Amber is expected to open in late Spring 2019. The last day of service will be Sunday, December 9.

Now, that is something to look forward to when one visits Hong Kong. I wonder how would the culinary director Richard Ekkebus update the menu of Amber, which had two star Michelin star? Will he be able to achieve 3-Star Michelin when they reopen in 2019?

To mark the iconic restaurant’s last week of service before the temporary closure, Amber will host A Feast for the Future from December 3 to 9. In recognition of Amber’s remarkable success, A Feast for the Future menu showcases 14 signature dishes that have contributed to the restaurant’s lasting culinary legacy, with each dish representing a year in Amber’s 14-year journey.

From December 3 to 8, the 14-course tasting menu is priced from HKD 3,488. Now, that is how you go out with a bang -- have an unforgettable 14 tasting course to mark your successful 14 years.

Guests attending A Feast for the Future on Sunday, December 9, have the opportunity to celebrate Amber’s past and preview its exciting future. On the restaurant’s last day of service, guests will enjoy the 14-course tasting menu and also be among the first to experience an all-new eight course menu during Amber’s pre-opening period. As well as witnessing the closing of Amber’s current chapter, a select few will welcome its next phase prior to the reopening. The Feast for the Future dinner on December 9 and pre-launch menu is priced from HKD 6,888 and includes a commemorative cocktail designed by Jeff Bell, co-founder of PDT and current titleholder of America’s Best Bartender.

Since 2005, Amber has earned a reputation as one of Hong Kong’s leading fine-dining destinations. Over the last 14 years, the award-winning restaurant has hosted dignitaries, celebrities and global gourmands eager to experience Richard Ekkebus’s contemporary menu infused with the freshest, most exclusive and unique Japanese ingredients. As Culinary Director of The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Richard’s refined style and passion for excellence has guided Amber to the top table of global gastronomy. Committed to pushing culinary boundaries, Amber has welcomed some of the world’s top chefs, from Ferran Adrià and Corey Lee to Virgilio Martinez.

As Hong Kong’s dining scene evolves, Amber will continue to be at the forefront of culinary innovation and creativity. “I’ve always wanted Amber to reflect the soul and energy of this dynamic region,” says Richard Ekkebus. “The all-new Amber will inspire culinary exploration and reflect the new direction I hope to take fine dining. While the menu and interiors will change, guests can expect the same care in ingredient selection, purity of flavors and standards of excellence that have always defined the Amber experience.”

While the restaurant is under renovation, Richard and his team will travel the region to explore native ingredients, study new cooking techniques and exchange ideas with other leading chefs through a series of pop-ups in leading and emerging food regions. The inspirations and insights gained from these experiences will help shape Amber’s new menu. During this interim period, the team will continue to focus on reducing the restaurant’s carbon footprint through innovative initiatives. I would not mind being one of the kitchen team member in this time of learning and traveling.

So this is definitely something to look forward to for foodies like me. This is how you take a bow in running a successful restaurant in a time of insta-famous foodies, and cut throat competition -- you create an event that highlights your famous dishes, and keep diners anticipating of what is to come. Bravo, Amber!

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