Located next to chef David Lai’s other tapas restaurant on the waterfront of Kennedy Town, Bistronomique is strikingly minimalistic. With high ceilings, the long dining room is decorated in tones of cream and provides a soothing ambience. The only décor are empty wine bottles, which line the wall. Tables are cosily close together but the combination of the proximity of your neighbours and the height of the ceilings mean that Bistronomique can be a rather loud experience.
Local chef David Lai is a classically trained French chef, having cooked in the kitchens of such illustrious restaurants as Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monaco. Like his other restaurant on Gough Street, On Lot 10, Bistronomique focuses on French classics such as bone marrow with escargot butter and frog’s legs. Bistronomique differs from On Lot 10 in that there is more offal on the menu including the black sausage boudin noir
, beef tripe, lamb tongue and tete de cochon
(pig’s head). We start with the bone marrow and lobster bisque. The first thing that strikes us about the bone marrow is its presentation: usually the bone is cut so that two or three pieces stand up like miniature wells, but Bistronomique’s bone is split down the middle so that there is a foot-long canal of marrow. The second thing that strikes us is that the plate is far too small: it is almost impossible to manoeuvre the bone so that the oil doesn’t drip off onto the tablecloth. The dish itself is not salted enough and the portion is too big for an appetiser. Our other starter of lobster bisque has good flavour, but instead of the usual chunks of lobster, there are cep mushrooms instead, which do not complement the seafood soup well. The portion is also on the small side and could have been hotter. For main courses, we opt for a roast chicken leg with foie gras and a wagyu onglet
or hanger steak. The chicken comes in a hot casserole dish, which again is too small for the dish. The chicken is tender and juicy and the foie gras is perfectly cooked. We also like the potatoes, which have soaked up the flavours of the bird and are nicely browned. The only part of the dish we disliked was a sunny side-up egg, which seemed out of place and we weren’t quite sure what to eat it with. The beef came out underdone, as we had requested medium rare. And although the flavour of the meat was pleasantly strong, there were a few tough tendons, which made cutting it a chore. For dessert, we choose the classic mille feuille and a chocolate pot au crème. The mille feuille comes with whipped cream rather than custard, which would have been all right if there were some fruit in the dessert. As there is not, it’s on the plain side and the pastry itself is not as flakey as it should be. The pot au crème, on the other hand, is delicious and a much better choice.
The wine list at Bistronomique consists of a nice range from both the old and new world, for example there is a Chateau Favray from the Loire Valley (HK$460) which would go nicely with the selection of oysters on the menu, as well as a Torbreck Woodcutters Shiraz (HK$400), a good match for the heavier meat items. Prices by the bottle range from HK$380 to $1,280.
The waiters at Bistronomique are knowledgeable about the menu and can confidently give recommendations, as well as provide the provenance of the produce and explanations of the French terms sprinkled across the menu.
A dinner for two will cost about HK$1,000 at Bistronomique. While the quality of the ingredients is impressive, this does seem a bit on the expensive side given the average execution of the food and its relatively out-of-the-way location.