Review

à nu retrouvez-vous

Tokyo’s Michelin-starred French fine dining restaurant has landed in Hong Kong, boasting panoramic harbour views and lunch and dinner menus showcasing Japanese flavours crafted with French techniques.

Words Lorria Sahmet
Food photo Happy Yuen

 

The Space

With its faint swirling logo and black-and-white storefront, at first glance à nu retrouvez-vous (meaning “just as it is”) seems more like a day spa than a Michelin-starred French-Japanese fine-dining restaurant. Understated yet incredibly elegant, à nu’s subtlety adds to its ethereal charm. It is a quiet and relaxing sanctuary in busy Tsim Sha Tsui. Its minimalist tan, cream and grey interior reflects the traditional Japanese aesthetic of wabi sabi, which highlights the beauty of imperfections through simplicity and connectedness with nature. Natural elements, particularly wood, are used throughout, from tailor-made tables to custom-designed tableware and vivid Japanese wall art. The 40-seat restaurant offers a 270-degree view of Victoria Harbour, three private rooms and an alfresco dining area.

The Food

You won’t find a fixed menu at à nu. Instead, each dish prepared by chef Yusuke Kitade is a seasonal “dish of the day”. Our meal started with three dainty amuse-bouches: light and crunchy lentil bean salad, artichoke purée with imperial caviar, and sweet potato mousse with maple syrup and cinnamon. Easy on the palate but rich in flavour and texture, it was a simple and refreshing starter. We weren’t expecting a bread-break so early on in the meal, but we were pleasantly surprised by the house-made briochewith soybean spread, an à nu speciality. The brioche was soft and crumbly, while the soybean butter left a subtle sweet aftertaste, which we greatly appreciated. Next was oeufs brouillés, a French scrambled eggs dish served with mushroom velouté sauce and Hokkaido uni. Packed with layers of umami, the uni cleverly enhanced the natural sweetness of the eggs and balanced the strong, savoury mushroom sauce. The sawara, pan-fried Spanish mackerel drizzled with French Albert sauce and served with seasonal vegetables (fennels and carrots for us), that followed was simple, light and delightful. The sauce paired well with the mackerel and the fresh fennel helped cut through the fish’s fattiness. However, what impressed us most was the mackerel’s thin, crispy skin against the soft, flaky fish. We were quite full by now, but we adored the beef ragout, a glorious concoction of A5 wagyu beef cheek and potato purée doused in sweet yet smoky Madeira sauce. The portion was generous and the peppery purée was a good palette cleanser between forkfuls of rich, butter-like beef. For dessert, we tried one of the chef’s new creations – basil and apple sorbet layered with matcha jelly, poached green apples and a white wine sabayon – as well as fleur d’été, made in collaboration with acclaimed French patisserie été in Japan. We relished the light and airy dessert, with its shortbread crumb base and fluffy diplomat cream filling, topped with a delicate rose made of mango slices.

Crave’s Pick: Fleur d’été

“Our executive chef, Shimono san, is close friends with été’s creator Natsuko Shoji. Both brands have a Japanese and French background, and été really fit into our Japanese-French concept for being simple, delicate and ‘just as it is’. For the new restaurant in Hong Kong, they thought it would be a good opportunity to combine both experiences into one meal, and this dessert was born.”

Yusuke Kitade, head chef at à nu retrouvez-vous Hong Kong

 

Slices of mangoes arranged into an elegant rose serve as the impressive topper to this tart. The mango fleur d’été is fresh and flavourful, and its sweetness and tartness are balanced by the fluffy handmade diplomat cream. The sablé cookie base lends a buttery bite and the perfect crumbly finish to the indulgent dessert.

 

The Verdict

à nu retrouvez-vous does a good job showcasing its specialities, combining old French culinary techniques with modern adaptations and Japanese flavours. Its attention to detail is immaculate. With its serene interior and superior food, à nu is a preferred location to escape the crowds and city for exceptional, unostentatious high-end dining.

Spending: from $580 per head for lunch, and from $1,580 per head for dinner
Highlights: amuse bouche, pan-fried Spanish mackerel, fleur d’été
What else: ask for wine and/or sake pairing as the restaurant has a good selection of both


à nu retrouvez-vous
Shop OTE401, 4/F Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: 2770 6222

 

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