Super reasonable prices for beautiful, French bistro food in a Central location
Hong Kong has no short supply of restaurants, and there are plenty of cute little bistros as well and fine dining spots to sate your appetite for French fare.
Read about five of our favourite French restaurants here.
But now more than ever it’s a struggle to find high quality restaurants that are reasonably priced. Everything seems to be getting more and more expensive, and you can easily expect to pay up to $250 for a main course at a relatively standard spot. So it was with slight skepticism that I went to try out Figaro, the latest addition to the French bistro scene in Hong Kong.
Tucked away down Shin Hing Street in the ever trendy ‘Noho’, Figaro isn’t in the most obvious location. Unless you’re looking out for it, it can be easily missed, sitting between residential buildings down a set of steps off Hollywood Road. This little restaurant is modestly decorate, with a wine bar downstairs and a more formal dining area upstairs -think clean lines and neutral colours (apart from a splashes of oranges) with quirky touches; I loved the old, Hong Kong cinema ticketing booths which are now the doors to the bathroom, and the painted illustrations that adorn the walls.
It was pretty quiet for a Sunday night in the dining room, but this is their quietest day, according to the co-owner Alexandre. It still felt intimate and relaxed though, and I was excited to try the food.
Before we began our meal, we were treated to a glass of white wine from the region of Alsace in France, which also happens to the region of focus for this year’s Le French May.
Read more about Le French May 2016 in Hong Kong here.
The wine was divine with delicious notes of peach – ideal after a day sat in the sun! Upstairs there is also a wine cellar and Figaro sources directly from vineyards in France to create a rare collection of high quality wine. Some of the bottles are one of only 200 produced, but don’t worry – the prices have been deliberately set less than the usual market price, as the team believes that everyone should have the chance to try special and unique wines. We’ve had our eye on a wine from 1940 in the wine cellar for a special occasion…
We began with a Cheese + Charcuterie Platter, filled with three different types of cheeses, and three different types of meat. Imported directly from France, you could tell that these cold cuts and cheeses were the real deal, oozing flavour and going perfectly with the strong pickles too (maybe avoid these on date night though *wink wink*).
After whetting our appetites with these delicious cold cuts, we were presented with such a beautiful, refined starter. The Langoustine Tartare & Cucumber Consommé is only $115, a real bargain considering the stunning presentation! The bright green from the cucumber along with the edible flowers made this visually impressive dish really stand out, the contrast of colours creating the perfect feast for the eyes. But was it a feast for the palate too? The cucumber consommé itself was light and tasted quite unusual, but so fresh and light. The langoustine was equally light and enjoyed the clean flavours which were tied together by the tart pickle on top… it was also surprisingly filling!
Moving on to a warm dish, we tried the Pollock with Asparagus, Oyster & Gin Emulsion, Salmon & Herring Roe ($140). Again I was astounded at how reasonable the price of this dish was considering the beautiful presentation and the high-quality of the ingredients. The fish was meaty and tender, and the pop of salty herring roe with the bite from the beans added a fun texture and burst of flavour to the dish.
Next up was the meat, Sweet & Sour Lamb Two Ways with Apple, Shiso & Gherkin ($145). The lamb was not what I expected, looking almost like a pudding and covered in a strong, sweet and sour sauce. Breaking into the lamb, the top half was almost shredded, with more cleanly cut pieces of lamb on the bottom. The light foam was a nice balance to the rich sweet and sour sauce, and it was a really filling dish. It wasn’t the best lamb dish I’d ever had, as I usually like my lamb quite pink, but more than substantial for the price you pay.
Although I felt rather full by this point, we couldn’t resist trying the desserts. The Poached White Peach, Lemongrass Sorbet, Cardamom Mousse and Smoked Cream ($85) was again so carefully plated, and perfect for summer. Light and almost floral, this was our favourite dessert, although it could have done with a touch more sweetness. The Chestnut Dessert was also presented in a stylish way, but the earthiness of the chestnuts and thick cream was a little heavy for me and could have had a bit more sweetness.
Figaro is the definition of a ‘hidden gem‘. This unassuming spot serves up surprisingly beautiful and tasty dishes from Executive Chef Jon Irwin, who gives French bistro food a unique, modern touch. The charcuterie and cheese is ideal if you just want a nibble with a glass of really good wine, and the food is so creative and flavourful. When you consider how reasonable the prices are, with starters from $85 and mains coming in under $145, and the Central location just below Soho, it’s truly a bargain. If you’re looking for somewhere new that’s intimate, has great food and is easy on the wallet, Figaro is a must-try. This is one secret date spot that is sure to impress…
Figaro, 2 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong, 2757 1777, www.figaro.com.hk