Interview with Shane Osborn of Arcane

The first Australian to earn a Michelin Star, Chef Shane Osborn has opened his first solo venture in Hong Kong. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll see chef Shane Osborn’s name making major headlines—and that’s how he prefers it. The Perth-born chef isn’t interested in gaining the stature of a celebrity chef, instead preferring that his dishes claim the fame. That’s not to say that he isn’t worthy of being in the limelight, though. After all, he’s earned the culinary world’s coveted Michelin Star (two of them, no less) during his stint as head chef at London’s Pied à Terre; he’s credited with the successful turnaround of Hong Kong’s once struggling St. Betty’s; and now, he has opened his first solo venture, Arcane—with much success—in the bustling Central District of Hong Kong.

Literally meaning “understood by few; mysterious or secret”, Arcane, which opened in November 2014, is the embodiment of Osborn’s philosophy behind his culinary success. Osborn envisioned a no-frills, no-gimmicks restaurant lauded purely for its culinary merit. True to its name, the restaurant is discreetly tucked away at the end of a quite street in Central, occupying the third floor of 18 On Lan Street. The restaurant lacks any sort of showy signage, which makes it a bit hard to find unless you know what you’re looking for.

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The clean, simple interior of Arcane.

The restaurant’s interior is equally minimal. Designed by Darryl Goveas from Pure Creative, the look is clean and simple, yielding a sophisticated space that is the very epitome of the old adage “less is more.” White linens match the white walls, which are adorned with artworks from Flowers Gallery, a London and New York based contemporary art gallery. The intimate space seats 40 diners in total, and an outside terrace—where herbs, fruits, and vegetables are grown—seats an additional 20.

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One of the season’s dishes, garnished with hand-crystallized salt imported from Japan.

The décor is purposefully scaled back to let the main subject come into focus: the cuisine. Out of the restaurant’s open kitchen, Osborn serves up a seasonal menu of European cuisine presented in six starters, six mains, and five desserts, alongside specials and set business lunches. Osborn’s passion and attention to detail (he imports hand-crystallized salt from Japan) is evident in every dish—and keeps the restaurant regularly packed to capacity. To ensure that each dish is of the utmost quality, Osborn sources ingredients from Japan, France, Australia, and the U.K.

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Only the freshest produce are used to create all the dishes.

Given that Arcane has no trouble attracting guests, it’s wise to make reservations before dining there. Three-course set lunches and a la carte dishes are served daily from 12:00p.m.­–3:00p.m, while dinner, presented on an a la carte menu, is served daily from 6:30p.m. onwards.

3/F, 18 On Lan Street; 852/2728-0178; Arcane; plates from US$26

 

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