Entering Amigo is like stepping back in time - warm colouring, natural woods, deep-coloured carpets and use of luxurious velvets complemented by the white-gloved, coat-tailed trolley-pushing servers and roving guitarists, its unflinching old-fashioned appeal has been charming guests for over 40 years and has become the restaurant of choice of the Hong Kong cognoscenti for special occasions.
Peruse the seasonal specialties that will be wheeled over by your butler on a trolley, displaying cuts of prime beef and whole lobsters. A thoughtful menu shows a range of classical French dishes - from the starters, the fillet de boeuf “Mongolian” is highly recommended. The interpretation on the classic steak tartar comes with succulent strips of sliced instead of ground raw beef, which is prepared table-side with a homemade mustard and cream-based recipe. Cherry stone clam chowder comes chunky with fresh Boston clams and is delightfully thick and creamy. Even the house salad of avocado, lettuce and heart of palm tossed with French dressing is light and refreshing. From the mains, the Dover sole fillet is delightful- stuffed with fresh oysters and strips of parma ham before being lightly pan-fried so all the individual flavours are retained, and drizzled with a pine-nut butter sauce. Amigo is also immensely famous for its ox-tail stew with carrots, shallots, mushrooms and turnip served over egg noodles - so famous that they were out of stock when we visited. We were recommended a prime and juicy cut of beef tenderloin topped with goose liver instead which came perfectly rare as requested and generously soaked in a truffle sauce.
The wine selection, which is made up primarily of French wines, is one of the most renowned in Hong Kong, with a stellar list and a selection of limited wines such as 1911 Chateau Cheval Blanc St Emilion and a 1986 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac.
Assessment from Jeannie Cho Lee, Master of Wine: Modest but solid wine list featuring mainly the classics from Bordeaux and Burgundy with a few Spanish, Italian and new world wines thrown in. The old-fashioned alphabetical list is difficult to navigate but the reasonable markup and some bargains make it worth the effort.
It’s all about the details at Amigo, from the place cards bearing guests' names and Polaroid photos taken of birthday celebrants. Every lady leaves with a red rose in hand. Plus, many of the servers have been around for almost as long as the restaurant, so are fully knowledgeable on the menu and adept at anticipating needs.
Dinner for two with wine costs around HK$2,000.