My first Michelin-starred meal in Hong Kong turned out to be quite the doozy. UnderÂ theÂ guidanceÂ of Dutch chef Richard Ekkebus,Â Amber at The Landmark Mandarin OrientalÂ has two of those coveted stars. But wait, there’s more: Â the San Pellegrino “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” Awards rankedÂ theÂ eatery at number 37 earlier this year. Not only is it the only Hong KongÂ restaurantÂ on the list, it’s the onlyÂ restaurantÂ in Hong Kong to have madeÂ theÂ list since 2005. (I’d been told the city is emerging with enormous gastronomic energy – this factoid only served to solidify my stomach’s growing expectations.) Needless to say lunch at Amber did not disappoint. From the amusing amuse of foie gras lollipops shellacked with beetroot to the perfectly-formed olive-studded focaccia, my meal was a languorous mix of creative aesthetics and fresh, contemporary flavors grounded in traditional French technique. Dungeness crab with crÃ¨me fraiche, avocado, Granny Smith apple and cucumber was so composed I almost hated to mess the plate. Line-caught Atlantic cod was roasted with the skin on and served with salted celeriac and Iberian pork neck in a Cabernet reduction that perfectly played off the meatiness of the fish. For dessert aÂ terrarium of tiramisu was inspired – so, too, the cheese trolley – yet theÂ bliss of darkÂ chocolate gunaja with speculoos crumbs was downright genius.Â This wasn’t at all what I expected of Hong Kong – but I’m so happy to have had my expectations thoroughly upended.