Parisian super-chef Yannick Alléno opened his first Hong Kong establishment in August 2017. The cheerful bistro-style eatery is surprisingly affordable given its high-end location in Central’s Prince’s Building. There’s an open kitchen, island bar and two seating areas with booths and tables. Stylish black-and-white photos line the walls, while stainless-steel tables and paper table mats reminded me of my favorite café-bistros in Paris’s Montmartre district.
Starters include obvious staples like onion soup and oven roasted Camembert alongside some more intriguing choices. We opted for Caviar de lentilles et blinis (“Beluga” lentils with nutmeg crème fraîche and warm blinis; HK$88/$11 US) and Bouchées de champignons de Paris aux escargots (snails baked in a Paris mushroom cap with parsley and garlic butter; HK$158/$20 US). The flavors were smooth and delicate, the snails fantastic, the lentils perhaps a little bland, needing slightly more nutmeg. From 12 main dishes, we picked “Pilafaela” de noix de coquille Saint-Jacques (sea scallops cooked over simmered rice pilaf in an aromatic broth; HK$288/$37 US) and Navarin printanier d’agneau (lamb shoulder ragu with seasonal vegetables; HK$348/$45 US). The scallops were cooked to perfection but it was the meatiness of the pilaf rice – cooked in a chicken broth – that most impressed me. The lamb, meanwhile, was smothered in fresh carrots, green beans and peas, flanked by tasty new potatoes and swimming in a delicious sauce – superb, hearty fare.
The signature dessert, Saint-Honoré (caramelized choux pastry, kirsch custard and Chantilly cream; HK$88/$11 US) was sinfully good, especially with its creamy combinations of texture.The wine list is exclusively French; we tried a crispy sauvignon blanc and an excellent merlot-cabernet franc blend.
VERDICT A great place that largely succeeds in replicating a typical Parisian bistro. The hearty French fare is cooked very well, presented nicely and very good value. A fun place for an enjoyable meal in the heart of Hong Kong.
HOURS Daily 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM, 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM
PRICE Around HK$1,500 ($192 US) for a three course meal for two with house wine and coffee.
CONTACT Shop M20-M24, Mezzanine Floor, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central; tel 2522 9990; yannick-alleno.com
Tucked away in Causway Bay, Japanese restaurant Kishoku is famous for its omakase (chef’s selection) offerings, and has recently launched a Winter Hotpot Dinner set, which begins with a chilled miso toro (tuna) appetizer, infused with smoke and decorated with edible pink flowers. This is followed by a large sashimi platter, given a gorgeous autumnal presentation with leaves and twigs.Next come individual hotpots. The chicken meatball hotpot has a tasty white broth, but we highly recommend the Wagyu beef hotpot, with a deliciously sweet soy soup base. The hotpots come with extra soup and an onsen egg to dip the meat in before eating – try adding the egg to the soup at the end to create a fluffy scrambled egg mixture.
After the hotpot is seafood stone pot rice, a delicious dish with melt-in-your-mouth uni (sea urchin), lightly seared scallops and fish eggs that burst in the mouth, plus plenty of fiery wasabi. The final savory dish is madai fish soup, followed by a dessert of persimmon pear, rock melon and a crunchy strawberry roll.
We also tried a few non-set menu dishes, and recommend the signature toro “sandwich” – two thick, juicy pieces of tuna with caviar and gold flakes wrapped in seaweed; and the sushi platter, featuring kinmedai fish, karei fish topped with fish liver, and Wagyu sushi with foie gras.
Verdict The food and drinks at Kishoku are exquisite. We loved the careful presentation of the dishes as well as the inventive concepts. The signature gins are an added bonus. A great way to impress clients or friends.
HOURS Daily 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM
PRICE Winter Hotpot Dinner set HK$880/$113 US (chicken); HK$1,080/$138 US (beef)
CONTACT 5/F, Zing!, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay; tel 2893 0333; kishoku.hk