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Michelin’s scatter gun approach to stars in Hong Kong and Macau

Amber, Hong Kong's stuck position at 2 Michelin stars continues to mystify foodies.

Amber, Hong Kong’s stuck position at 2 Michelin stars continues to mystify foodies.

UPDATE OCTOBER 2014: Caprice lost its third Michelin Star in 2014, the same year that the restaurant’s head chef left. Yesterday, it failed to regain the star in the 2015 guide. Pierre regained its second star in the 2014 Michelin Hong Kong & Macau guide and yesterday retained it for 2015. Amber still, inexplicably, has two stars. Hong Kong’s foodies continue to seethe.Tim’s Kitchen lost its remaining star in 2015.

Tosca, the Ritz Carlton’s Italian fine dining restaurant, and the Mandarin Oriental’s Cantonese Man Wah were both awarded one star in 2014 and retained them yesterday.Given the proliferation of one stars in Hong Kong it’s hard to see why Tosca in particular hasn’t been elevated to two.

Following the meteoric rise of Duddell’s in the 2014 Guide, the restaurant has been elevated to two stars for 2015 and further restos that have been open for less than a year have been awarded a new star including Nur and Seasons.

Three more hole in the wall joints have been awarded one star: Yat Lok, Tim Ho Wan (Tai Kwok Tsui branch – adding to two other venues) and Kam’s Roast Goose. Cue flurry of media interest around the globe about cheap Michelin eateries. Read on for my original post.

Tosca at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong

Tosca at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong is deserving of two Michelin stars

Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong retain its Michelin star

The 2013 Michelin red guide to Hong Kong and Macau, launched today, is in many ways mystifying. While Caprice and Yung King Heen undoubtedly deserve their retained three star status, there are several other question marks.

In a guide where six restaurants were newly awarded two stars, how on earth didn’t Amber gain elevation to three? I’ve eaten at 8 and a half Otto e Mezzo and the food is fantastic but the service is not three star territory.

Similarly the service is lacking at Tim’s Kitchen which managed to retain it’s star. Can it really be judged on the same level as Pierre which unbelievably has been demoted to one star?

Michelin’s International Director Michael Ellis boasts that the new guide features “63 simple shop restaurants”. That’s noodles, congee, ramen and roast meat stalls to you and me. Excuse me if I detect a strong hint of publicity seeking.

Likewise, Michelin makes much of the fact that there are 13 new one star restaurants and 18 new bib gourmands. Why? Shouldn’t the guide promote quality not quantity?

Over on Macau, Golden Flower is a decent two star addition but as for Joel Robuchon being awarded yet another third star – yawn….

Strangely Michelin also highlights that “We have expanded our coverage to take in new locations such as Kennedy Town and Sai Ying Pun on Hong Kong Island.” I’m stumped as to why they wouldn’t have before. They didn’t have to venture off the Island to find them. Imagine covering a city like London or New York and leaving out Clerkenwell or Greenwich Village.

Isn’t it time we put less store in the coveted Michelin guide and made up our own minds by voting with our feet (and stomachs)?

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