Boulangerie Bistronomique

Since I started dating a Frenchman, my appreciation and knowledge of certain foods has expanded  – there were just so many things that I never knew about eating or thought about buying! This knowledge has unfortunately not yet spread to wine, but food! Ooooh yeah, with food I got it down! Baked goods (and related products) are one thing I find myself eating a lot more of – baguettes (bye bye sliced bread!), Dalloyau’s opera cake, canelés, all things Eric Kayser, financiers, french salted butter (regular butter is such a waste of calories!), with a short shot of espresso…

This post is a while in the making because I have been buying baked goodies from Boulangerie Bistronomique since it first opened. Young pâtissier Alex heads up the kitchen, and together with the rest of a talented team bakes up French pastries, baguettes, loaves, tea cakes and eclairs. It’s another great addition to the Hong Kong food scene by David Lai, and despite having Robuchon and the newly opened Eric Kayser (so excited about that!) bakeries available to us, it’s nice to support local when possible. It’s easy to support Boulangerie Bistronomique, because their baked goods are just that good.

Brioches/ extra large Chouquettes @ $15 & Pain au Chocolat @ $19

Croissants @ $18

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La Cabane a Vin – great French small plates and natural wines

After stuffing myself full of tacos for the past few weeks, I’m over South American food, and believe I’ve found my new go-to hangout for quick bites in Soho. Last Tuesday was the Grand Opening of La Cabane a Vin, a charming, rustic and well-situated bar/bistro on Hollywood Road.

Rustic you say, in the middle of Soho? Well, check it out…

The interior of La Cabane

The interior design, done by Elsa Jean de Dieu and Eunice Cheung from Effect, features exposed brick walls, wooden slats that resemble those used to make wine crates, swing chairs suspended from the ceiling, a small temperature-controlled cellar tucked away next to the bar, and all the small touches that make this place a really comfortable and unpretentious place to go for a drink and a (few) snack(s), a light dinner, or even a midnight snack.

Chilled Gazpacho – a rich tomato flavour, but a bit on the oily side for me $70

The local chefs, after some rigorous training, do a good job with the bistro dishes, and the rillettes and terrine are made in house.  The food is authentic, and everything is served in small plates so that one can choose to make a meal of it, or to just order a couple of dishes to accompany a bottle of wine. There are so many fake French bistros in Hong Kong (the worst of which has to be Brasserie de L’île), and it’s nice to see one that is doing it right! They are still tweaking the recipes a bit, and are tireless trying to source the freshesh and tastiest ingredients. La Cabane has tried to use organic produce from local HK farms as much as they can, but have mentioned that the quality is not always consistent; many of their ingredients are sourced from France.

You also have the opportunity to try all of their wines, it’s a huge selection, with some original names, and honestly priced. By that I mean well-priced, with bottles starting from the $200s.

“Les 3 Petits Farcis” – stuffed vegetables $90

MY FAVORITES: Beef Tartare – a wonderfully seasoned and prepared tartare, served with rustic French bread, and well worth the $110

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Brasserie de l’île – quel dommage!

Photo from weekendhk.com

I went to Brasserie de L’île last Friday for lunch with AB. I was panicking because I hadn’t made a reservation and of course all of the lunch favorites were booked. A quick search on some of my go-to sites on my blogroll led me to recall the new French bistro on Arbuthnot Road – one mentioned “the best mussels in Hong Kong so far…”. A bold statement indeed, but was it true?  Continue reading

Oufti! Ca c’etait un bon weekend!

I was at a birthday barbeque on Saturday night and had some great conversations with new and interesting group of people. After half an hour of being there, I’d already explained my background and how I grew up in Hong Kong.  Then the follow up questions came:

Q: Do you know TST very well?
A: Um…no.

Q: New Territories?
A: Well, we went to Tung Chung today to go wakeboarding!

Q: Isn’t that in Lantau?
A: Um…yes you’re completely right. Sorry, I thought you said Lantau (….)

Q: Have you been to the Thousand Buddhas Monastery?”
A: You mean the Big Buddha? Of course I have! (internal monologue: YESSSS! Thank goodness, I won’t embarrass myself with this answer!)

Q: No….the thousand buddhas in Shatin…
A: Oh….um…ah…no.

I am a Hong Kong girl, but I should really stop telling adventurous expatriates that I grew up here! It’s like the Parisian who has never been to the Louvre, or the New Yorker who has never been to the Empire State Building – it’s not going anywhere, so we can always check it out one day.

The Dark Side is too much of an effort, and on days where I’m actually inspired to cross the harbour, I consider myself an intrepid adventurer. As for Lantau and the New Territories, as a child I went with my parents to the places of their choosing, with what I consider is essential to really explore – a car.Now, most would think I’m a ditz for saying that – “Come on JK, you don’t need a car to get places – you just need to get off your lazy a@@”. And it’s true – I am lazy. I don’t want to spend $300 to get a taxi to Saikung, and I really can’t be bothered to taxi-MTR-bus-taxi-boat-hike my way to Dailongwan. Now that I can actually drive a car, the first 4 parts of that process can be avoided. Plus, I can ride as a passenger on P’s bike (oh how I love that bike!), it makes getting around infinitely easier. Continue reading