HK’s Greatest French Bistros, Parisian Eating places & French Desserts!

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Has it been too long since your last Parisian restaurant experience? KARL WOODBURY recently tried a trio of French bistros in Hong Kong and, unsurprisingly for one of the world’s great cuisines, walked away satisfied from all of them. Read on for the highlights.

# Bouchon Bistro Français

The vibe

Approaching Bouchon Bistro Français, the softly lit restaurant interior is so welcoming it totally draws us in. The dining room buzzes with the after-work crowd clinking chilled glasses of bubbles and larger goblets of deep red. We see steaming Moules Marinière, crispy frites and char-grilled steaks adorning the tables.

What’s on the menu?

Starters and salads:

This promises to be a great night, especially with the vigilant Dinesh and his busy bees buzzing around the tables. The menu has plenty of classics without being overwhelming. Onion soup, oysters, baked camembert and impressive charcuterie are among the hors d’oeuvres. There’s also Coquilles Saint-Jacques – pan-seared scallops with cauliflower puree and smoked crispy bacon.

However, the Assiette de Foie Gras ($168) got our vote. The combo of heavenly rich foie gras terrine and seared foie gras comes with a toasted baguette and fig confit. We also couldn’t resist a half dozen Escargots de Bourgogne ($108) – it had to be done!

On a cool night, even the salads were tempting. We ordered the Marachière ($118) a generous serving of tangy, creamy warm goat cheese with crispy croutons and a mesclun mix. The flavours and textures were wonderful, though we would have preferred the cheese without the drizzle of honey on top. Other salads include the Lyonnaise, with crispy lardons and a poached egg, and the Périgourdine, featuring smoked duck breast, duck gizzard, foie gras and walnuts.

Mains:

To the mains and the Fish of the Day ($268) – a succulent crispy-skin sea bass – arrived on a sizzling plate and truly hit the spot, served with flaky almond green beans and a bubbling caper butter sauce. We also had the Entrecôte Ribeye ($338) – nicely chargrilled medium rare, with perfectly crisp frites and a rich creamy béarnaise. The Agneau Rôti ($338) consists of a chunky rack of four juicy lamb chops with roasted fingerling potatoes. We were in full-on savoury mode so we ordered a side dish of Tartiflette ($88) to remind us of wonderful skiing trips. Potato, bacon, reblochon…say no more!

Other mains include the classic trio of bouillabaisse, boeuf bourguignon and duck confit.

French desserts:

Also on our radar for next time are the wonderful cheese selection and tempting French desserts. The latter includes a mixed berry crème brûlée and mousse au chocolat with sea salt caramel.

The verdict

Bouchon Bistro Français is a magical night out. There’s a great variety of French cuisine and temptation across the menu; the restaurant atmosphere is cosy yet vibrant; and the bistro staff ensure all guests have a lovely evening. Merci bien, Bouchon!

Bouchon Bistro Français
49 Elgin Street, Central
2525 9300 | reservations@bouchon.com.hk
sandshospitality.com

# Bouillon Bistro Parisien

The vibe of the Parisian restaurant

Exciting newcomer to the French restaurant scene Bouillon is a chic Parisian-style bistro tucked away up a hill in Sheung Wan. Chef Johan Ducroquet promises revisited French classics with a few “rascal dishes” thrown in for good measure. Organic, artisanal and seasonal are all core to his creativity.

Family-owned wineries that champion organic sustainability is another core value here – and Bouillon offers many of these enticing wines by the glass. You can put your wine-pairing skills to the test or just kick back and let charming host Grégory Alexandre do the heavy lifting. The beautifully tiled long bar is also set up for diners but we’re seated nicely in the corner of a long leather banquette. The specials boards run along the wall over the bar and with flitting between them and the menu, we just can’t wait to order.

What’s on the menu?

Starters:

We opt for signature starters; Os À Moelle ($158) is a stunning dish of grilled marrow presented in bones. Soft and rich with a meaty jus, it’s off the charts. Tartare de Boeuf ($218) showcases the tastiest morsels of Aquitaine beef with Dijon mustard and capers. It’s the best tartare we’ve had in HK!

Other starters include a smoked herring potato salad, aubergine confit ravioli and a pâté en croûte that creatively combines pork, smoked eel, foie gras and pickles in pastry. You can also splurge on caviar and blinis, which comes with two glasses of champagne.

Mains:

The bar is set high for our mains, but they deliver. The Cuisse de Canard ($268) is a triumph of flavours and textures; crispy duck leg, tarte apple confit and shiitake mushroom. And Rossini de Boeuf ($388) is a seriously indulgent medium-rare beef tenderloin topped with seared foie gras in a truffle jus.

There’s a sharing section in the Parisian restaurants menu, too, including a skate wing in butter, capers, lemon and fennel, a kilo of 30-day aged Irish ribeye, and an 800g veal rack from France.

French desserts:

To finish, we order Riz au Lait ($118), a sumptuous rice pudding with Madagascan vanilla and salted butter caramel, and also Crème Brûlée Fruit de la Passion ($108), a swirling blend of pure French dessert magic with a crunchy top, served in the passionfruit skin.

Why we loved this French bistro

The chic bar is a fun place to enjoy a serious glass of artisanal wine. The décor is slick as is the superb front-of-house service. And the cooking is creative and seriously good. In any great dish, bouillon is the foundation – an essential. When it comes to Hong Kong’s fine dining scene, this newly opened French bistro already feels essential!

Bouillon Bistro Parisien
6 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan

2886 0056 | bouillonhk.com

# Metropolitain Bistro de Paris

The vibe

The Pastis Group offers cosy neighbourhood restaurants that deliver affordable bistro fare in a stylish, relaxed atmosphere. Over in the little gem that is Sai Ying Pun’s High Street, Metropolitain Bistro de Paris, or Metro as the restaurant is more affectionately known, is a truly lovely dining spot.

With large open-fronted windows, banquette seating and timber-clad walls, Metro is both a bright and airy lunch venue and a cosy backstreet Parisian restaurant at night. Ours was an evening visit, and we were greeted with warm smiles, still mineral water, and, very promptly, our wine order.

What’s on the menu?

Starters:

Into the starters and Gravlax de Saumon ($128) is a nice zingy intro to Metro: the freshest, most vibrant cured salmon with sour cream and sourdough. Terrine de Foie Gras ($218) is velvety smooth and the tangy fig chutney is the perfect mate.

Best of all is the Soupe À L’Oignon ($98) with a crisp gruyère crouton. This humble hors d’oeuvre may often get overlooked on menus but there is a reason it has stood the test of time. The broth is intense and the caramelised onions an absolute joy. Simply the best onion soup in Hong Kong.

Sharing platters of charcuterie and an array of salads, escargots and bone marrow make up the rest of our starters. Pasta to share would also work well, with linguine in lobster bisque, ravioli in truffle sauce and fresh tagliatelle with shiitake on offer.

Mains:

We’d got chatting with the neighbouring table and they very kindly sent over some Grilled Beef Hanger ($248). Tender, juicy, perfectly charred, superb! Our mains soon arrived and we reciprocated. That’s the joy of Metro.

Confit de Canard ($228) is melt-in-the-mouth duck leg with beautifully crisp skin, a must-have. The girolles and gnocchi soaked up all the rich meaty juices. Poulet Fermier Façon Crapaudine ($228) is spring chicken butterflied and still on the bone, with a mustard crumb, rich jus and fries that were so good, we had to order more. Other tempting mains on this Parisian restaurant’s menu include seabass with pearl barley, and a spring stew of shoulder of lamb spring.

French desserts:

We contemplated the crème brûlée and tiramisu, however the Tarte Tatin ($98) French dessert just said all the right things: indulgent caramelised apples, crisp pastry and smooth vanilla ice cream – such a crowd-pleaser.

Fromages ($208) is a big seller here with the after-work crowd, who love to sit at the big open window and people-watch. With its generous selection of classic French cheeses and a glass or two of really good red, it’s not hard to see why.

The verdict

Metropolitain Bistro is easy to spot coming up the escalator from Sai Ying Pun MTR. Once you do, you’ll find it hard to walk past. From the smiley service to the wonderful French cuisine, this Sai Ying Pun star will have you sighing for the City of Love.

Metropolitain Bistro de Paris
Aspen Court, 46 High Street, Sai Ying Pun

6271 6102 | pastis.hk


This article on French bistros first appeared in the Spring 2024 issue of Expat Living magazine.
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