Simple, tasty French comfort food in the heart of Central
Tartine is a chic, French bar and eatery on Lyndhurst Terrace with a menu from acclaimed Chef Philippe Orricco (the man behind Sassy favourites Upper Modern Bistro and ON Dining Kitchen and Lounge). With a youthful, elegant spin on comforting dishes and an all-round atmosphere of cool, Tartine is bursting with “BOBO” – a Bourgeois-Boheme philosophy that encapsulates cocktails, food, sexy beats and a brand new Brunch & Boogie weekend concept.
Now let’s not beat around the bush here; Tartine is full of hot people (I was there for the opening and must have fallen in love with at least 15 different human beings), along with beautiful décor. It oozes cool, but there is also a sense of sharing and fun, a friendliness that is surprising in such a setting. The two floors are decked out in navy tones, with marble and copper finishes offset by an exposed, pseudo-industrial aesthetic and large-leaf plants framing the space. It’s spacious but feels cosy too, enhancing Tartine’s idea that it should be a place of sharing and connection. And if you’re not someone like me who is a total sucker for packaging, then let delicious food and drinks bring you in and keep you on…
The staff are unbelievably friendly and so well-versed in their product and service, and can effortlessly explain the menu to you as you drool over the idea of truffle-anything-and-everything. And if you get there after 2pm, you’ll be treated to some funky beats that are so perfectly suited to sipping on Mimosas with your bestie.
Boogie Brunch offers up several classic cocktails created with French flair, but we opted for Mimosas for the duration of our boogie (there was one detour into a Bloody Mary which I thoroughly enjoyed). The classic breakfast booze is altered by using French sparkling wine and freshly squeezed OJ and it paired SO well with our food – of which we got SO much.
Everything is incredibly fresh and carefully presented at Tartine, even the water is served in a beautiful copper low-base bucket (I have a thing for copper so this, along with the copper cutlery, really got me going).
Brunch is potentially my favourite food group and Tartine offers a wide range of classic dishes mixed up with some fashionable, modern flavours and combinations that will really add some funk to your weekend. We were really spoiled in that we got to try a bunch of dishes and let me tell you something – they were all utterly delicious.
We started with the Black Truffle Crostini which literally rendered us speechless. It is bursting with flavour and richness – in the best way – and is best enjoyed hot, hot, hot. You might be confused in thinking that it is just buttered toast but you have never known buttered toast like this before. Truffle is hands down my new favourite flavour. Done.
Already mesmerised, we were then treated to a customised Salad Lyonnaise (as neither of us eat pork – a comment that the staff very mindfully remembered and tailored so that we could still enjoy their best sellers). This is one of those dishes where you break the perfectly poached egg into your salad and feel like you’re a naughty little kid who has just been given licence to go wild in art class. But it tastes better. The salad was fresh and light and a great transition between the creaminess of the crostini and the main courses on their way.
For the main attraction we split two dishes (out of six on offer): Eggs Royale – another alteration to suit our dietary requirements – and Truffle Scrambled Eggs and Smoked Salmon on Sour Dough Toast. Game changer! Let’s start with the Eggs Royale, because as much as I love this meal I am often very weary because poached eggs are so tricky to perfect. A runny yolk is obviously a requirement, but runny egg whites just give me the creeps… Tartine has cracked the code and serves the perfect poached egg, nestled on a bed of leafy spinach, smoked salmon and the ideal amount of Hollandaise. The sauce can make or break the dish – too little and you’re left disappointed, too much and your food is left to drown; but this was just the right amount to add to, without overpowering, the flavours beneath. And the bread. My sensational friend, Hannah, put it so simply but so brilliantly: “I am impressed with the integrity of this bread”. Basically, she was referring to how the bread maintained it crunchiness and strength under the heap of delicious add-ons, but still had a soft chewiness that ensured easy eating.
The Truffled Eggs were also incredible. Again – hello truffle flavour. The eggs were soft and creamy and the smoked salmon was so fresh; plus that bread! We spent a great deal of time just ooooh-ing and awwww-ing over these two. Definite recommendations!
Finally, four mimosas in and with the DJ kicking off his set, we got to dessert; again opting for two dishes to be shared. Our first dessert was a Nutella creation – spread over brioche and topped with candies and marshmallows. This dish was different to what I expected, and felt a little off-centre compared to the rest of the trés chic French menu. That being said, it was still really enjoyable. “A piece of fancy birthday cake” was how Hannah described it; and she was right. But if I’m ever at a birthday party that serves that as cake, I certainly won’t be complaining.
However, our second dish was outstanding and made up for any partial lack from the first: Berries and Mascarpone on Tartine. This dessert is so delicious you’ll be talking about it weeks later to your friends. The seasonal berries are packed with flavour and add such a fresh element to what could be a heavy dish given the mascarpone and the tartine. But everything is so well-thought out and balanced. It was sweet and juicy, light yet decadent and just so, SO good. I’m hungry now.
If you want a brunch that actually serves breakfast food as part of their menu (something which seems obvious but is not always the case in the 852), has an array of tasty comfort food and cocktails at affordable prices, all in with an effortlessly cool atmosphere, then Tartine’s new Boogie Brunch is definitely for you! Starters range in price and are more than you would possibly expect for smaller dishes, but mains are around $128 which is not bad at all for what you’re getting in terms of taste, quality and presentation. There are also various tartines on offer which go anywhere from $98 – $148, while the desserts are all under $80.
Tartine is a place that makes you feel fancy, but it’s actually a really laid-back, relaxed spot for easy, comfortable dining. The food and drinks are simple yet elegant, the music will get your feet tapping and you’ll certainly not be disappointed the vibe. C’est magnifique!
Tartine, 2/F and 3/F, the Mood at Lyndhurst, 38 – 42 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, 2808 0752, www.thetartine.com