Not-to-be-missed desserts at Yannick Alléno’s first bistro in Hong Kong.
Words Tiffany Chan Food photo Samantha Sin
Yannick Alléno’s first restaurant in Hong Kong has been a long time coming. News of its impending arrival reached us last year, but despite being expected to open earlier this year its soft opening wasn’t until September. The bistro is tucked away in a nook between Prince’s Building and Alexandra House in Central and seats 80. The space is rather dark, but seems to have been designed with every type of diner in mind: high tables with bar seats for happy-hour patrons, bar tables facing a pillar for solo diners and larger, longer tables for groups.
Our first starter is eggs frou-frou ($155), named for its many layers, starting with a layer of beef consommé jelly, then asparagus tips and peas, a poached egg and finally mustard mayonnaise dressing. However, we found the egg slightly overcooked and the mayonnaise overwhelmingly tangy. In another starter, the flesh of escargots ($158) is baked on a Paris mushroom cap with parsley and mushroom butter. The best part of the dish was mopping up the caramelised, slightly hardened sauce with warm bread. Next up are Hokkaido sea scallops ($288) over rice pilaf in vegetable broth. The half-cooked scallops are still translucent and retain their texture, not rubbery or stringy, although the Japanese short-grain rice pilaf is our favourite part of the dish, as it soaks up the umami, savoury vegetable broth. The black pudding ($248) may not be produced in-house – it’s made by Christian Parra and flown in from France – but it was one of our favourite dishes. Made from pig’s blood, meat and fat, the pudding is rich, peppery and seasoned with grated nutmeg. A squeeze of lemon cuts through the grease, and a side of velvety smooth potato purée makes this the ultimate comfort food. The highlight of the meal is the desserts. We loved the Saint-Honore ($88), with caramelised choux pastry spheres, kirsch custard and fluffy Chantilly cream sitting on a puff pastry base. But our favourite was brioche Nanterre with vanilla cream ($98), with toasted brioche soaked in egg, milk and sugar and caramelised in the pan. Warm, custardy, fluffy and crispy, this is comfort on a plate.
Although there were few bad dishes, we found none to be particularly memorable, apart from the desserts. Given its central location and the lack of restaurants in the vicinity, we expect it to be packed every day.
Spending: $500 – $800 including wine
Highlights: charcuterie platter; black pudding; brioche Nanterre
What else: good for groups; there’s a private room that seats six to eight (opening soon)
Shop M20-24, M/F, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central
Tel: 2522 9990