It was a dark and stormy night… this is usually how horror stories go, but I was actually on my way to review one of the newest fine dining establishments in town, Bibo.
You wouldn’t think you were in a fine dining restaurant smack on Hollywood Road. For starters, I must have walked past the restaurant twice before noticing the bouncer stood outside its automatic doors – I really thought he was just a guy stood on the pavement waiting for someone! As you walk (slightly precariously) down the winding stairs, you’re faced with art, and lots of it. The walls are covered with cool street art from some pretty famous artists, which almost juxtaposes the classic, fine French food Chef Mutaro Balde serves up at Bibo.
We started with cocktails (I’ve been abstaining on week nights, so did so on this occasion too), but another guest indulged in the French Drip, which is a blend of absinthe, sugar and Artesian Water. The water was dripped carefully over the sugar, which then dripped down into the glass… it was all very showy and there were many curious eyes fixated on the spectacle.
Following cocktails was L’oeuf Mayo – Taiyouran organic egg cooked to 64 degrees with the house mayonnaise. The egg was cooked to perfection, and the simple dish was again a contrast with creative, inventive surroundings. Was there anything missing? Maybe some soldiers, which showed up in the form of La Tartine. It was toasted sourdough French bread with truffle goodness. The flavour of the truffle was strong and shone through with the simplicity of the sourdough bread.
With a veggie on our table, La Salade Vegetarinne was a good shout. The veggies were crisp, light and refreshing paired with the black truffle vinaigrette – a summery dish that was a marked change from the horrendous weather raging outside. The cool buratta was a wonderful palette cleanser, too.
In another dramatic twist, L’oursin arrived with much fanfare: dry ice to be precise. It was Hokkaido sea urchin royale topped with the ultimate in fine dining, caviar. The sea urchin was creamy yet light and the caviar added texture to the dish.
This was followed by gloriously rich Australian lamb, pan-fried polenta and spring veggies. The lamb was cooked medium, and the mix of herbs were flavoured the meat well.
The desserts… oh, the desserts! The presentation of them was divine. Chocoholics will love Le Chocolat, which was a mix of all things, you guessed it, chocolate: Aztec spiced hot chocolate, fondant brownie, cocoa quenelle and chocolate ice cream. The combination was perhaps a bit too sweet, but if that’s what you’re craving… who’s to stop you?
All in all, Bibo is a fun place to come if you’re looking for a completely different, creative environment. Art lovers will marvel at the collection on display – from Banksy to Jean Micheal Basquiat, it’s worth coming just to see some of these artworks. In terms of dining, Bibo won’t necessarily break the bank, but it’s still somewhere I’d keep in the vault for a special occasion or a very special Friday night out with the girls. Starters are $40 to $300, mains, tasting plates are $60 to $600 and mains $420 and up. Desserts are between $100 and $200. A good cocktail will set you back about $150. After all, everything on the Bibo menu looks mighty impressive… Absinthe cocktails included.
Bibo, 163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, 2956 3188, www.bibo.hk