I’ve recently been trying to avoid eating too much sugar, so when I was invited to sample an eight-course “Chocolate Tasting Journey” at Jean-Paul Hévin, my initial reaction was to reluctantly turn it down. I then realised it was a savoury menu that only incorporated a hint of chocolate in each dish to complement some exciting French dishes, so I decided it was an offer I simply could not refuse!
Jean-Paul Hévin, who began his career as a pastry chef apprentice under the tutelage of Chef Joël Robuchon in Paris, is known for his incredible chocolates and macarons. I therefore wasn’t even aware that his Boutique et Bar à Chocolat on Lyndhurst Terrace served savoury dishes. Aside from the eight-course menu that we sampled, there is also a five-course “initiation menu” as well as weekly set lunches.
Our “Journey” began with a chilled cream of pea and mint soup, topped with cream foam and a sprinkling of Venezuelan cocoa powder. This was sweet, light and refreshing, whilst the gentle sprinkling of chocolate from my country truly enhanced the flavours.
The pan-seared scallop with ivory chocolate butter was absolutely stunning. The scallop was beautifully cooked and the sweet chocolate butter was lovely and creamy, adding an earthy touch to the dish.
The dish that followed is not one for fussy palates. Here the pan-fried foie gras with 75% chocolate and cacao nibs was as intense and indulgent as it gets. The foie gras was incredibly rich, but in a good way, balanced by the rich dark chocolate. If you can’t handle dark chocolate, you may find this too intense, but I loved it.
As a palate cleanser, we were served a stack of warm green asparagus with hazelnut oil vinaigrette and grated Domingo chocolate. Something about the appeal of fresh vegetables served so simply made me dive straight in without taking a photo – hence the untidy stack you can see here!
I was quite disappointed by the roasted cod fillet with black olive crust, saffron and extra-bitter dark chocolate. The flavours together worked well, but the fish alone was rather bland and dry, perhaps a touch overcooked.
The last of the savoury dishes was a rather sad looking chicken fillet with mashed potato, ceps and chocolate praline. Despite the unappetising appearance, however, the chicken, having been cooked sous-vide, was lovely and juicy, with a delicious flavour. Whilst I wasn’t keen on the mashed potatoes, the praline, with its balance of sweet and savoury notes, was excellent, setting our palates up nicely for dessert.
Thankfully, after so much food, dessert came in the form of a Plateau Gourmandises, meaning a small selection of petits fours, including small pieces of dark and milk chocolate, a macaron and a delicious signature chocolate bonbon – in my case a hazelnut praline. That was all that we needed to round off our indulgent lunch, paired with a rich cup of signature Le Parisien hot chocolate.
The Chocolate Tasting Journey is priced at $380 per person and is available from 11.30am to 6pm daily. For food of this calibre all exquisitely paired with high-quality chocolate, this is excellent value for money. The best thing about it is that I didn’t feel overly full afterwards, which goes to show that eight-course lunches need not be that scary after all!
Jean-Paul Hévin Boutique et Bar à Chocolat, 13 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, 2851 0633