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Malls don’t usually make for the most inspiring of restaurant settings, but Plat du Jour does well to create a cosy bistro ambience in the throng of Admiralty’s Pacific Place shopping centre. The greenery-lined outdoors area feels more suited to casual bites and drinks, whilst the indoors dining room is more intimate with red leather banquettes, statement bare bulb lights and warm brass accents. Blackboards outlining the day’s specials contribute further to the Parisian bistro vibe, whilst one quirky touch is the vintage Citroën truck stationed outside, which doubles as a deli offering coffee, pastries and other snacks during the day.
Although the menu lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, there’s no denying that the dishes are crowd-pleasing French bistro classics through and through, with the likes of steak tartare, moules marinières and crème brûlée all on offer. The tartare arrives looking the part, with a golden quail’s egg quivering atop a circular stack of chopped grass-fed Australian beef fillet; however, it’s a little under-seasoned, with the menu’s promise of capers and Dijon mustard not quite delivering. Much better is the escargot bourguignon, which are plump, juicy and served sans shells, with generous lashings of garlic butter and a light dusting of crunchy breadcrumbs.
For mains, the slow-cooked beef cheek ragu is a hearty, rich offering that combines al dente ribbons of pappardelle pasta, meltingly soft pieces of meat and vibrant bursts of flavour from diced pancetta and baby shallots. From the grill, the grain-fed Australian beef fillet is cooked well, with a good char on the outside giving way to tender pink meat within; it comes served with a choice of sauce and two sides, with the basket of hot, crispy frites proving a winner.
We finish with the restaurant’s signature apple tarte tatin, which has a more rustic style comprising sizeable chunks of fruit that retain their bite atop a buttery puff pastry base. It’s a matter of personal preference – we would rather the apple was softer and more caramelised – but it stills makes for a pleasant and not too sweet end to the meal.
Unsurprisingly, the wine list concentrates on French offerings – but with more unusual regions like Gascony, Jurançon and Languedoc represented, effort has been made to make it a reasonably varied list. The fact that around ten of the thirty or so wines are available by glass, 500ml carafe or bottle is another nice touch.
Service is quick and attentive, with our water glasses never left empty. Although our server seemed a little uncertain when asked to offer recommendations, she did give decent advice regarding a wine to go with our meal.
A three-course meal for two with a glass of wine each should cost around HK$1000 (with cheaper set options also available), which represents good value for a solid French meal in a comfortable ambience.