Björn Alexander Panek wildest idea could be seen and tasted on the plate.
To me, Björn is one of the chefs in Hong Kong who truly ‘thinks out of the box’. From food to personality, this guy is a living drama. It didn’t take me too long to understand how crazy he could go with his creations. Having the charisma and talent to surprise his guests with various dishes – oyster paired with a red Bordeaux wine, putting an eggplant in your dessert with matcha ice cream, just to name a few – he left Hong Kong diners with a good, crazy, creative impression in general.
Björn’s food is an honest expression on who he is. Bold, big personalities, straightforward are the words that popped out from his dish. He pushes his diners to get out of their comfort zone and try something new (or some local diners might regard it as ‘unusual’) that he is so fascinated about. His enthusiastic energy is perhaps one drive that made his diners more willing to try and appreciate his outrageous concept.
It’s funny how Whisk is often perceived to be something that is not exactly what it is. First of all, it’s being marketed or even being labeled as a contemporary/modern European restaurant in the Michelin guide. Second of all, most local magazines emphasize on the use of edible flowers and herbs as the ‘signature’ of the restaurant. As a matter of fact, the chef himself actually disagreed with these ‘fancy’ marketing tags too.
I tried hard to think of a category that Whisk would fit in, but I failed. Because to me, Björn’s work is freestyle. So I threw this question back to the protagonist.
‘I don’t think you have to say a style. For me, it reflects a chef not a type of cuisine,’ said Björn. He believes the style of cooking has nothing to do with the ingredients. He simply picks what he likes and cook whatever he thinks would work together as a dish.
For this meal I had at Whisk, everything was cook to perfection – the texture of the langoustine and pigeon was exactly the way I liked it. They were cooked just right. Several rich flavor dishes bang on the plate while some was more conceptual and experimental. To be picky about the meal, I found the repetition of thin crackers in a few dishes a bit too much that made your next dish became a bit more predictable.
In any way, Whisk is a rising restaurant recently and it has started to capture more regulars in this city. It is often credited with its very reasonable menu and wine price. My 12-course black truffle dinner menu came down to about HKD$2600.
While many questioned why Whisk wasn’t awarded with a Michelin star, I would say I am not too bothered about the Michelin rating in Hong Kong. I am sure any good restaurant would speak for themselves through their dishes.
Before you step into Whisk again. Be prepared to stare at your plate and wonder what’s on it. When that happens, keep an opened mind and think wildly.
Address: Level 5, Mira Hotel, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2315 5999
Visited on: 9 Aug, 2014
Hours: Lunch – 12:00– 2:30pm; Dinner – 6:30pm – 10:30pm (Tuesday – Saturday); Sunday Brunch 12:00 – 3 pm; Closed on Monday
Chef: Björn Alexander Panek