I am a chocolate window shopper. I let my eyes lovingly take in pretty displays of truffles, pralines and cocoa balls, and drink in my calories that way!
Jean-Paul Hévin is one such chocolatier whose window-front on Lyndhurst Terrace is a visual pleasure whenever I walk past. Although I count myself lucky that I am not a chocolate junkie like Rach, I have demolished their chocolates before with gusto – so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there are more than just these delicacies on offer.
Who would have thought that behind those rows of tasty treats, there is also a proper feast to be had? Aside from Jean-Paul Hévin’s chocolates, or ‘black pearls’ as he calls them (as each piece is created from the highest-quality ingredients), the ‘Boutique et Bar à Chocolat’ has now launched a two-course set lunch. The set lunch comprises a soup or salad plus a main course of the day (which alternates between fish, meat and vegetarian pasta or risotto dishes) for a very reasonably priced $108 – and if you need to end on a sweet note, you can indulge in a slice of one of Jean-Paul Hévin’s six signature chocolate cakes for an additional $40.
When Rach and I stepped into the chocolate zone, our noses were immediately assailed by delicious wafts of cocoa – and sadly, our ears were assaulted by the grating construction noises out on Lyndhurst Terrace! With our seats by the window (and outside din notwithstanding), the environment was relaxing and the meal quite delicious, making it a nice little spot for your lunch break if you work nearby.
With a choice of either the green pea soup or celeriac remoulade to start, Rach and I decided to get one of each so we could try a bit of both (sharing is caring, after all!). The celeriac remoulade, a lovely mildly piquant celeriac mash, was a scrumptious start to the lunch, going well with the green apple and Parma ham. Rach’s green pea soup was creamy and satisfying but importantly not overly heavy, paving the way for our mains.
For mains that day, there was a sweetcorn risotto, a garlic herb roasted chicken thigh and a crispy sole fillet on offer. The meat and fish dishes were calling to us, with Rach going for the sole fillet, while I opted for the chicken.
It wasn’t that I necessarily went to Jean-Paul Hévin with low expectations, but as their forte is clearly chocolate, I did wonder how their savoury offerings would fare. After the starters, I was looking forward to the mains, and I was quietly impressed. My garlic roasted chicken was excellent – the meat succulent and the skin nice and crispy. The accompanying soft polenta and mushroom ratatouille was also good and I cleaned my plate with relish.
Rach’s sole was pleasing to the eye and equally well executed, with a delightful lemon chilli remoulade to give the fillet a bit of zest. The accompanying buttered new potatoes were also a hit.
But one cannot leave a chocolatier without some chocolate, so Rach and I each ordered their signature ‘Chocolat Chaud Parisien’, classic Parisien hot chocolate made using cocoa from Central America. I loved it – a happy medium of rich but not sickening, sweet but with the perfect amount of cocoa to prevent it from just being a cup of melted chocolate. The cocoa really shone through and I was surprised that I could actually detect some of the spicy tones alluded to on the menu.
The ultimate sweet ending was our gâteaux au chocolat, and at an additional $40 to your set-lunch, it’s a very good deal indeed, especially if you are a chocoholic. I adore praline chocolate so I immediately jumped to attention when I saw their hazelnut Quinola Gâteaux, whilst Rach went for the classic Guayaquil, a densely layered chocolate almond dream.
I was an utter glutton and finished the lot. My Quinola was divine and I could easily become a total chocoholic if I were to live or work anywhere near Jean-Paul Hévin!
I was pleasantly surprised by Jean-Paul Hévin’s set lunch and I am glad to see that they have made the leap from patisserie and chocolatier to small restaurant. Their dishes were well prepared, very enjoyable and at $108 for two-courses, extremely reasonable for the standard. Jean-Paul Hévin already makes for a sweet addition to Lyndhurst Terrace, but their lunch offerings ensure that they’re more than just a candy-coated shop front.
The set lunch costs $108 (with an additional $40 for dessert) and is served Monday-Friday, 12-2pm.
Jean-Paul Hévin Boutique et Bar à Chocolat 13 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
2851 0633 www.jphevin.com.hk
Check out more food-related writings from Michelle on her blog, Chopstixfix!