Alcyone is a one star Michelin star restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel. It is a stylish dining room on the second level of the hotel with large windows overlooking the city. The good sized room is filled with large well spaced tables draped with white clothes and set with large napkins. Beige tones are in the chairs, curtains and walls and a stunning overhead fixture gives off muted light while music plays in the background. There was a soundboard in the ceiling and the chairs were well padded with arms, so noise was not an issue. Table decorations were different sizes of metal fish. A modern rug is in the center of the room set off by the dark wood floor. The menu offers a 5 course chef selected tasting menu or a la carte selections. Wine pairings are available. Pacing started rapidly and then really slowed down and portion control was okay. The staff was friendly and spoke good English. We chose the tasting and a printed menu was offered to be presented at the end of the meal, but when that time came it was not ready or started.
With a glass of champagne we perused the choices for the meal and a tray of amuse bouche were served. A cream puff held salmon eggs that had a fun pop when you ate them. A tall roll of whipped cod and olive oil was tasty but the shell was not as crisp as it should have been. An olive tampenade was flavored with olive relish and was okay. A fried ball was filled with soft onions and was delicious – like a solid onion soup.
The bread service was a choice of nut, spelt and country breads. The breads had a dense interior but had mostly been pre-cut too long ago and so they were quite dry. The crust had good crispness though.
Roasted salsify was accompanied by a crayfish emulsion with dove meat in the center. A cold sorbet was mixed with caramelized foie gras and covered with cream emulsion. It was designed to be a simultaneous presentation of hot and cold on the palate. It was smooth and enhanced by the sweet green apple sorbet.
Asparagus were filled with smoked eel and served with asparagus vinaigrette. The asparagus were lightly poached to a perfect doneness and stuffed with the eel in the long stalk. A strip of raw asparagus decorated the center of the plate. The asparagus did have a good amount of flavor but I had to wonder if it was worth all the effort it took to stuff it. It was a striking effect, though.
“Bouille-Abaisse”, their version was made with cod fish and was a dark cool fish broth served in a wine glass. With it was a trio of fish that included John Dory, red mullet and sea bass. The last component was a crispy “ribbon” like piece of bread with garlic mayo. It was weird to have the cold broth and crisp bread but a fun contrast in taste and texture. The mayo did not have much garlic flavor. The John Dory was a little dry whereas the red mullet and bass were more moist. It was a set of clean tastes but not mind blowing.
Red mullet was plated with gnocchi and squash. Here the fish was cooked perfectly with a good crisp skin and with a sauce of red mullet. The sauce reminded me of a barbecue sauce rather than a fish reduction. The squash was puréed and sweet and tasty. The gnocchi was fun. A good plate.
Lamb was plated with cabbage, artichoke, lemon confit, Lucques olive mash and lamb jus. The olive spread was tasty combined with the lamb but the well cooked cabbage had a fishy essence. The grilled artichoke was really tasty and tender with good artichoke flavor. The nicely reduced lamb sauce was packed with flavor and enhanced both cuts of lamb on the plate. It was really buttery and flavorful.
Pre-dessert was a quince espuma (foam) with chips of tapioca. It was creamy, sweet, cool but did not have a lot of flavor.
The dessert was Nashi (a Japanese pear) and apple with a cream of Nashi and Nashi juice. The soft sweet fruit was enhanced with white chocolate. Some lemon cream and a crisp cookie underneath made it a good combination of flavors and textures. There was a lot of the wonderful sauce and you needed a spoon but instead you were served a knife and fork. The bottom cookie was buttery good. This dish was way more about the pear than the apple, which seemed a minor component.
We tired of waiting so they sent the last treat home with us. It was gooey and did not hold up well in the hotel overnight. I’m not sure what it was.
The Sous Chef did come out and visit with the people in the room.