Upper Modern Bistro

Having effectively been out of Hong Kong for the last month and a half, I feel like I’ve come back and ten different new restaurants have opened. Not only are they new, but they are impressive restaurants that have been causing a buzz and sending my Facebook news feed into a visual frenzy of food photography.

We were out for a nice dinner with our friends, the elegantly gorgeous KW and her ever-amusing beau BB – with company such as theirs, a meal is always off to a good start!  Fish & Meat was fully booked, and we were lucky that Upper Modern Bistro has just had a cancellation.

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The whimsical ceiling feature @ Upper Modern Bistro

Mirrors and a full glass panel façade makes the restaurant feel very roomy, whilst the soft colour scheme makes the space comfortable and welcoming.  Your eyes are immediately drawn to the fabulous ceiling feature, the design apparently is attributed to chef Philippe Orrico’s love of eggs. The kitchen is set slightly higher than the dining room, and is visible from the street so that you are greeted by the sight of chefs busying away.

At the time of our visit, it felt like the façade was not yet completed, and I had to squint and search to confirm that this was indeed Upper Modern Bistro.  But once I entered the restaurant, I was truly excited to start my meal. Our friends had been raving about how amazing the food was at St. George, the restaurant where Orrico was head chef previously to opening his own place. I had never had the chance to go, and anticipated a great meal at Upper Modern Bistro.

There’s a snack menu, a tasting menu, and the main a la carte menu to choose from. As enticing as the snack menu looked, we decided to go straight to choosing our main meal. With the 4 of us dining, I have lots of lovely food pics for you here!

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Oyster w/ Ponzu Sauce @ HK$ 58 each

I started off with 2 Brittany oysters, they were crisp and not too big with a fabulous ponzu sauce.

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Steak Tartare HK$ 168

As my first choice of moules marinière was sold out, I went for a bistro staple – the steak tartare.  It was unconventional, served on a base of avocado, mixed with pecans instead of capers, and topped with a parmesan cheese foam. If you are a tartare traditionalist, you will be disappointed, as it hasn’t the tartness or the heavier flavours of a traditional tartare. This one is light, with no discerning meaty taste as the favours of the avocado and parmesan overpowered it a bit. Still, the flavours went well together, and I enjoyed the lightness of it.

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63° egg, sauteed crab meat and Bellota ham HK$ 148

63° eggs are one of UMB’s signature components, and Chef Orrico uses them in his main dish of Mushroom Tagliatelle also.

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A bird’s eye view

KW’s starter of Chestnut Soup (no photo!) was dreamy, a rich, sweet cream of chestnut with complimentary shavings of white Alba truffle. Delicious. In fact, if you like creamy soups as I do, I would say that soup is definitely one of Upper Modern Bistro’s strong points!

For the main courses, BB ordered a delectable Quail and Foie Gras Pie. It is limited on the menu and yet it was still available for us to order. I suppose it may sound too heavy and rich for many, but I liked its traditionalism.  One bite brought me back to a meal that I had at Au Petit Riche, an old-school Parisian restaurant, where traditional recipes such as meat pies and tête de veau are predominant on the menu.  And hey, it comes with a salad!  With truffles shavings again, no less.

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Quail and Foie Gras Pie with Lentil Sauce, HK$ 328

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Accompanying salad with truffles!

My main course was the most mainstream of them all, but just as well executed. The pasta was wonderfully fresh and cooked perfectly al dente, and the 63° egg oozed its bright yellow yolk to create a smooth, creamy sauce.

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Mushroom Tagliatelle, 63° egg, cheese sauce and parma ham HK$ 168

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Oozing egg…

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Sole a la meuniere, butternut sauce and sauteed mushrooms HK$ 248

PB had his heart set on the Tasting Menu, and the restaurant did a very good job of accommodating his request, as the menu stated that the whole table would have to take it. I found it rather unappealing in it’s choices, and whilst it was good value for everything that was given, I would have preferred to spend the same on dishes that were more interesting.

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Oyster 3 ways

The oysters included in the Tasting Menu were much smaller than those that we were served from the à la carte, even though they were all Brittany oysters. PB found the green sauce very nice, a purée of jalapeño peppers with red vinegar infused shallots.

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Wild Hare Terrine, green salad, toasted brioche

The terrine was quite gamey, and not my cup of tea.

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Scallop soup, truffle chantilly

If there is any reason to order the Tasting Menu, it’s to have this soup! Again the consistency was very similar to that of the chestnut soup, but it has a chowder-y flavour to it, and lots of scallop pieces resting in the bottom of the bowl.

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Atlantic Cod Teriyaki, sauteed vegetables

I didn’t have a bite of this, and without tasting, it doesn’t have any sort of wow factor for me.

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Chocolate Cake

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Orange Salad

Let me tell you, if you want to end your meal with a bang, then order the Orange Salad – it is a citrus lover’s dream dessert. Sweet and juicy orange segments, macadamia brittle, citrus reduction and vanilla ice cream – even the flowers tasted sweet!

Our server for the evening was Ron (or maybe it was Rob…), he was very attentive, always had a smile on his face, and had a general positive feel about him. One or two of the waiters seemed a bit confused sometimes, and the French manager told us that the green sauce on the oysters was made from “something called Ja-LA-peeenose” – I figured out that he meant jalapeño, but really as the manager of the restaurant, he should know these things. Other than this, we were very happy indeed with the service, and for a new restaurant, they are running a pretty tight ship.

The name says ‘bistro’ but the prices say ‘restaurant’. We could have gotten away with a lower bill, but with oysters and two half bottles of good wine (yes! They serve half bottles!), it was in the HK$1,100 per person range. I look forward to visiting again for that quail pie, or popping in for a casual bite and trying that snack menu.

Upper Modern Bistro

Address: 6-14 Upper Station St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2517 0977

Website: http://www.upper-bistro.com/
(online booking available)

A sneak peak at the menus …

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The Snacking Menu

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The Tasting Menu

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The a la carte menu

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8 thoughts on “Upper Modern Bistro

  1. Wow! Looks nice! I will definitely go there to order the chestnut soup and the orange salad. The mushroom tagliatelle also looks good. I realised that the chef really likes to use eggs…I absolutely love truffles. I have never heard of this restaurant before, so thanks for introducing it to me.

    I also write a blog with many reviews of restaurants in HK. Drop by if you have time. http://chocolatecouture.org/

  2. I’ve recently started to follow your blog, and I really love your posts! I’ve been just too lazy to leave you a comment. But, as a fellow blogger, I think it’s always feels good when a reader leaves you a comment.

    After reading your post on this bistro, I will definitely give it a try as well. I know you said the Mushroom Tagliatelle, 63° egg was a bit boring in comparison to the other dishes, but I thought that one looked so yummy! I’m a pasta lover, so when I see pasta that fresh, I really can’t resist.

    • Hi Saltnchili, thank you for following, reading and commenting – I’ve popped over to your blog as well and enjoyed reading! I hope you enjoy your meal at Upper Modern Bistro, it’s a great new place, and it shows in the food that the chef puts his heart into it. He’s a really nice guy too, I had the pleasure of meeting him last night at a Christmas party!

      Please keep reading and I shall do the same with your blog 🙂

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