Culinary arts

Consider this: a dessert fashioned in the image of artist Damien Hirst's For the Love of God skull sculpture. Instead of being cast in platinum and studded with diamonds, the edible version guests order at the Mandarin Grill + Bar is carved from ice-cream and set with hundreds and thousands. Andy Warhol's pop art gets the same treatment from the restaurant's Michelin-starred chef Uwe Opocensky, who recreates the artist's portrait of Marilyn Monroe. His homage to Van Gogh, meanwhile, combines real sunflowers and an "ear" made of foie gras.

It's all in the name of art, of course. This month marks the début of Art Basel in Asia. The esteemed contemporary art fair, held annually in Basel, Switzerland, and Miami Beach, Florida, runs from 23-26 May in Hong Kong, and the Mandarin Oriental (also celebrating its 50th birthday) is the event's official hotel partner.

The contemporary art scene in Hong Kong has gained serious traction in recent years. International heavy-hitters such as Gagosian and White Cube have set up shop here, joining the likes of homegrown 10 Chancery Lane and newcomer 2P.

Chef Opocensky says keeping it slightly irreverent was his intention for the Art Basel-inspired dishes. "I don't think there's anything wrong with having a little fun with art." Quite. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong Art Basel packages start at $670 per night.


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