Repulse Bay seafood fine-dining restaurant revamps with the arrival of French chef Olivier Bellin.
Words Tiffany Chan Food photo Samantha Sin
Opened in autumn 2015 under executive chef Agustin Balbi, The Ocean is a sleek 10,000 sq ft seafood-inspired fine-dining restaurant overlooking Repulse Bay beach. Balbi has since departed for Haku (which we reviewed back in July), and the restaurant is now looked after by French chef Olivier Bellin, who also manages two-Michelin-starred family restaurant L’Auberge des Glazicks, in the small Brittany village of Plomodiern. The decor may not have changed much (it is still stunning), but Bellin’s influence on the menu is palpable, integrating Breton ingredients such as buckwheat.
At dinner, both a la carte and degustation menus are available. We recommend the five-course degustation menu ($1,088), but for the full experience, an eight-course degustation menu is available for $1,288. The first amuse-bouche is a pouch of delicate, crispy potato filled with oyster water. It explodes with the gentlest pressure from the tongue and floods the mouth with the flavour of the ocean. The first course is one of the simplest but also our favourite: cauliflower served with silky parmesan ice cream and briny squid ink jus. Next come Hokkaido scallops and crispy kabu turnip, stacked in paper-thin layers, much like a mille-feuille. Drizzled in honey and pollen vinaigrette dressing and garnished with sweet white strawberries, it’s a pretty starter and exquisitely executed. In another course, Brittany langoustine is lightly pan-seared until crispy. It sits on top of black pudding and beetroot purée, which is rich, earthy and a nice contrast against the delicate langoustine. Another favourite was blue lobster three ways: the claw is served with toast; the tail is layered with brioche and a pork veil, which, curiously, resembles Chinese suckling pig; and the coude (lobster knuckles) comes with crystallised lemon garnish.
Bellin captures the flavours of the sea beautifully. The service is impeccable, the environment immaculate and the food solid, but we wonder if this will be enough to draw diners to Repulse Bay on a regular basis. It’s not the most accessible location, and we suspect The Ocean will have to be more impressive or surprising, perhaps, to become a destination restaurant.
Spending: $1,288 + 10% per person
Highlights: Cauliflower with parmesan ice cream; blue lobster three ways
What else: The Ocean may have installed a new chef and a new menu, but its views of the bay are still incomparable, the service exceptional and seafood-inspired dishes exquisitely delivered.
The Ocean by Olivier Bellin
3/F, Lobby A, The Pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay
Tel: 2889 5939