Comfort French food replaces Chicha in Soho
Restaurants are constantly closing and opening in Hong Kong, and it can be hard to keep track. I was pretty gutted to hear that Chicha, one of my favourite spots for dinner in Soho had closed (bye bye delicious Peruvian “Oh My Cod” skewers… sniff sniff), but every cloud has a silver lining! In it’s place is Cochin, an independently run delicatessen offering French food and wine.
Read More: Five of our Favourite French Restaurants
Conveniently located on Peel Street in Central, Cochin is a hop, skip and jump away from the buzzing bars of Wyndham Street and Soho. That being said, this particular part of Peel Street is relatively quiet, hidden slightly from the busy Hollywood Road. The space itself has a warm and homely feel, blending a deli, bar and restaurant seamlessly.
There is a lively atmosphere and on the night we went, it was packed with diners – impressive for such a newly opened restaurant. Unfortunately our table for two was squashed in a difficult to reach corner of the restaurant, so we felt a little out the way and found it hard to get the attention of our waiters. However, the informal and relaxed atmosphere was perfect for a casual and conveniently located dinner.
On the recommendation of our waiter, we went for a few small sharing dishes to whet our appetites. Perfect with a glass of wine, these tasty nibbles would be great to have no their own if you wanted to focus more on the drinks and go for something light. Although we didn’t try them, the saucisson and cheese on offer looked authentic and I will definitely be back to sample them!
We began with Rabbit Sliders with pickled carrot, sweet bacon, mustard and shitake ($115). Between a soft bottom bun and a crispy top layer was a juicy patty of rabbit meat and salty bacon. These mini-burgers may have been small, but they were hearty and surprisingly flavorful! Order two plates of these if you’d rather skip mains and stick to something small that’s equally as satisfying.
Moving on, we sampled the foie gras creme brûlée with croutons ($95). This was as indulgent as it sounds – so creamy and smooth, with a crispy top that was a delight to crack into. The sweet caramelization on top only enhanced the strong flavour of the foie gras, and we only needed small scoops on the croutons.
Next up was slightly larger dish, the Veal Carpaccio. Whilst I was a bit unsure about the look of the raw veal, it tasted great with the creamy sauce on top that had a kick of anchovy saltiness. A slightly unusual combo of flavours, but it worked for me!
On to the main event. Our main for the evening was the Rabbit and Foie Gras Pie with baby gem lettuce ($275) and it was definitely worth waiting for. Pie is the quintessential home comfort food – warm, filling and rich. This French favourite didn’t disappoint with the deep flavours of the rabbit and foie. The crispy pastry was the perfect thickness and the smooth gravy drizzled over the top of this pie made it absolutely delectable.
A side of fresh vegetables accompanied the outstanding pie, adding a light, refreshing crunch to the heavy dish.
Sadly we didn’t get to try any of the desserts, but we were so full from the decadent flavours we couldn’t have managed one anyway! A nibble of good French cheese would have been a nice, traditional end to the meal though.
Whilst the staff were all very friendly, unfortunately we were squeezed into a tiny corner of the restaurant, making it difficult for them to physically get to our table to take our orders! There was also a large birthday party of twenty sat next to us who were having a lot of fun, but required a lot of attention too. That meant the service for us wasn’t very attentive (we were waiting around for menus and didn’t get a chance to try a dessert) and we were a bit forgotten about. That being said, our waiter was really sweet and apologetic when we left and I’m pretty sure this was all because of how busy the restaurant was!
The first couple of months can be tricky for a restaurant in Hong Kong – especially when people catch wind of it early and the whole place is gets booked out night after night, before they’ve had the chance to iron out any kinks. Cochin definitely needs a few more practices managing large parties and a full restaurant, as we were slightly forgotten about in the corner with a large party of twenty sat next to us. Hopefully on a less busy night the service is more attentive, and I’ll definitely be back for some more comforting French classics (and the great wine selection!). The food was flavourful, the vibe is lively and the whole place is welcoming… the perfect place for a catch up dinner with friends.
Cochin, G/F, 26 Peel Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong, www.cochin.hk, 2561 3336