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Talk of the town: At HAKU, Chef Augustin Balbi tells a story on each plate

October 3, 2017 Dining No Comments Email Email

With daring, contemporary dishes backed by the setting of an innovative and interactive Kappo-style open kitchen, intimate fine dining restaurant HAKU is the talk of the Hong Kong food scene. Since opening in July, the Tsim Sha Tsui restaurant has impressed discerning diners with its ingredient-focused menu that marries haute Japanese and European culinary traditions.

HAKU is helmed by Executive Chef Agustin Balbi, whose extensive international experience culminates in the stories he tells on each plate at HAKU. Born in Argentina, Balbi’s road into the culinary arts began when he was 15, working at some of the most celebrated restaurants in Buenos Aires while studying at the highly acclaimed culinary school The BUE Trainers. Moving to the United States, Balbi’s time in a Michelin-starred restaurant exposed him to a cuisine with strong Japanese sense that woke up his curiosity for japan. Balbi soon relocated to Japan to pursue his newfound passion, and spent five years working in Michelin-starred kitchens to develop his skills in the time-honoured culinary traditions of that country. His dedication to Japanese cuisine and culture was recognised in 2015, when he placed in the top 10 of the San Pellegrino Young Chef Japan awards, holding the honour of being the only non-Japanese chef in the field. His time in Hong Kong has seen him hone his skills in one of the most dynamic culinary destinations in the world, stamping his claim as one of the best chefs in the city when he was named Best New Chef 2016 by Hong Kong Tatler.

Chef Agustin Balbi brings a wealth of international experience to HAKU 

The HAKU concept was inspired by Chef Hideaki Matsuo, of three-Michelin starred Osaka restaurant Kashiwaya, who believes that plates are the clothes of food. At HAKU, Chef Matsuo has guided Chef Balbi to continue to push creative boundaries, offering him the freedom to truly express himself on each plate. Key to the HAKU concept are seasonality and presentation, with premium ingredients taking centre stage. The regularly rotating menu hosts dishes featuring the best of the season, with new additions including Ebi/Chorizo/Barley (available in the Chef’s choice Menu, HKD 1,380 per person), a dish based on Balbi’s memories of cooking with his Spanish grandmother, and Nashi/Yoghurt Foam/Granita (HKD 110), a decadent and refreshing dessert in which a layer of panna cotta is topped with yoghurt foam and an icy Nashi pear granita, housed within an entire Nashi pear.

Chef Balbi’s deep dedication to his craft is evident on every plate at HAKU. His wealth of international experience, as well as a hunger to always push boundaries, have turned HAKU into a must-try dining destination in Hong Kong.

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