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Occupying a central location in Soho, La Marmite’s pale green and white interior adorned with antique French posters evokes the charm of a Paris bistro. White tablecloth topped tables and a blackboard with the day’s specials add to the authentic ambience. The dining room is open to the traffic on Staunton Street which can get loud and bit dusty, so ask for a table in the interior. The upstairs dining space can be turned into a private dining room for large groups.
La Marmite features authentic renditions of classic French bistro fare, the kind of food that will stick to your ribs. Foie gras crème brulee is sinfully creamy and rich – the unctuous silkiness of the foie gras mousse is complemented by a thin layer of burnt sugar topping that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful. La Marmite’s onion soup is a solid rendition of the classic, made with a rich and savoury onion broth and topped with a crouton and thick layer of baked gruyere. The goat cheese salad which features three generous slices of mild goat cheese atop toasted rye bread served on a bed of mixed mesclun and topped with toasted pine nuts could serve as a hearty appetiser or a light main course. We found the steak tartar bland, although beautifully presented with capers and chives mixed with quality chopped steak and topped with a bright yellow egg yolk. Adding a generous shaking of salt improved the dish considerably and the accompanying thin-cut fries were perfectly crispy and seasoned. The steak frites features a generous portion of juicy, tender sirloin that is cooked to order and seasoned to complement to bring out the flavour of the meat.
Not surprisingly, the wine menu focuses on French wines and are grouped by region. For a lovely bordeaux by the glass, try the 2008 Chateau Plaisir de Siaurac, a smooth and well-balanced wine with a velvety cherry finish.
Other than our waitress forgetting who ordered which dish, service was smooth, friendly and well-timed. The staff do not rush guests through their meal so diners can feel free to relax and linger over another glass or two of excellent wine.
Dinner for two will cost around HK$900, a reasonable amount to pay for a quality meal. Lunch offers incredible value with two-courses starting at HK$98.