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In this cute French bistro down a side street in Quarry Bay, diners are transported to Paris on entering. Curtains line the walls half way up the windows and wood prevails throughout giving the restaurant a cozy and rustic air, while the daily specials are chalked up on blackboards. Sleek mirrored walls and a contemporary fully decked-out corner bar lend Swire Hotel's first standalone restaurant a modern edge.
The menu is succinct and to the point with a selection of classic French dishes, some more unusual than others, but none particularly surprising with steak tartare, escargots, steak frites, and tarte tatin among the options. Choose from the two course or three course set, either of which will be fine even for those who don't normally indulge as portions are not overly large. First enjoy the plentiful bread baskets, as well as a small platter of ham, freshly cut on the prominent meat slicer with a few pickled onions and gherkins. Moving on to appetisers, the steak tartare is small but well-seasoned, and the tender raw beef sits well on the thin slices of crisp, toasted sourdough. The half dozen escargots are served in the traditional manner with accompanying tongs and fork, and are firm and slightly chewy amidst a plethora of garlicky butter. And garlic continues in true French style through to the main courses. The tender beef fillet is juicy and of good quality, served with French fries and a rich garlic aioli, though a rather disappointing salad of a few lettuce leaves also accompanies. The rack of lamb is nicely presented, beautifully pink and flavourful atop a bed of ratatouille, the vegetables in which are lightly cooked and still firm to the taste in a rich sauce of sun-blushed tomatoes. One of the signature desserts is the apple tarte tatin, featuring large pieces of firm apple, sweet from caramelisation, atop a crisp puff pastry tart and topped with cold vanilla bean ice cream. For greater contrast the tart could have been hotter. The light chocolate mousse is chocolatey, sweet but not too rich and served with a light and crunchy almond biscuit.
Like the food menu the wine list is succinct and it sticks to the accompanying food's country of origin, serving French wines exclusively as well as its own cocktail menu with drinks like La Piscine (champagne, crème de cassis and fresh berries) and a French Margarita (tequila, grand marnier and chambord) to choose from. There are just nine of each red and white wine, as well as three sparkling choices and one dessert wine, but the list makes an effort to offer bottles, and some glasses, from a range of regions and grapes.
Service is fine and staff are on hand to meet your needs, but they don't go further than is necessary. Recommendations can be drawn out for food and wine if required.
Plat du Jour is reasonably priced considering the quality of the authentic French cuisine. For the best value, go for all three courses at just HK$225 (some dishes command a supplement).