Le French May is about to descend on Hong Kong, bringing a month-long programme of French art, music, dance, multimedia arts, cinema and fashion to entertain the eager Francophiles in our city. To coincide, Le French GourMay is the (more delicious) spin-off, celebrating everything that’s great about Gallic cuisine, with some of the city’s best restaurants — both French and non-French — offering special menus focusing on this year’s theme: discovering the best of Champagne.
No one knows better than the French that food and wine go hand-in-hand, and in addition to special Champagne workshops and discounts on bottles of bubbly, you can head to a number of restaurants around town to indulge in Champagne pairing menus and explore the best wines from the region.
With over 120 participating restaurants, your options are endless. We’ve put together a recommended list to start, but for the full rundown of participating restaurants and their menus, you can visit Le French GourMay’s website here.
A long-time Francophile haunt, Sai Ying Pun bistro Metropolitain will transport you straight to the open sidewalk cafés of Paris, complete with a French-speaking staff and classic bistro fare. Special menu items in celebration of Le French GourMay include a cheesy leek-and-Chaource tart (HK$108), braised andouillette in Chablis wine with spring vegetables (HK$228), and fruit gratinée with Champagne sabayon (HK$88).
Metropolitain, Aspen Court, 46 High Street, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong, +852 6271 6102
The newly revamped (and renamed) Takumi by Daisuke Mori serves up an elegant French-Japanese dining experience under the careful hand of the restaurant’s celebrated namesake chef. Le French GourMay sees a six-course tasting menu on the bill, encompassing foie gras terrine with melon, Japanese eel mille-feuille, French oyster with wagyu beef jambon, and a main of lobster, wagyu or Japanese fish. A delicate pairing of Champagnes are sure to enhance the sophisticated degustation.
Takumi by Daisuke Mori, Shop 1, The Oakhill, 16 Wood Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2574 1299
Quaint French café Plat du Jour is embracing the Champagne theme in full by using the beloved ingredient in its dishes, in addition to an optional drink pairing. Kick off with homemade boudin blanc — poached chicken and foie gras sausage — served with a morel and bean salad; or a decadent salad featuring cows’-milk cheese, warm French beans, smoked walnuts, and pickled grapes topped with a Champagne vinegar dressing. Mains delve into the regional flavours of Champagne-Ardenne, highlighting a tender sautéed sole fillet with lobster mousse and Champagne sauce. Cap off the meal with a French favourite — vanilla soufflé served with vanilla pod ice cream. The menu is available à la carte or as a lunch or dinner set (HK$235 for two courses, HK$275 for three).
Plat du Jour, Unit 007, Level LG1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2715 0511
Enjoy your foie gras with a side of spectacular views at the recently opened SKYE restaurant and bar. For HK$650 per person (plus HK$360 for wine pairing), feast on creamy foie-gras-and-prune terrine with a whisky gel, steamed turbot with creamed leeks and oysters, wild boar with andouille sausage and boudin blanc, and a dessert of caramelised honey financier with salted raffolait ice cream. Coffee or tea and complimentary petit fours wraps up the elegant four-course meal.
SKYE, 27/F, The Park Lane Hong Kong, 310 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2839 3327
Decked out like a French flower shop, chef Esther Sham’s Maison Es is a quaint gathering spot in Wan Chai’s Star Street precinct. Enjoy her innovative French fare, from seared Hokkaido scallops with seaweed and baby vegetables to poached free-range chicken with chanterelle and farro in a garden-themed environment, with a cup of tea or glass of Champagne to while away the hours. The four-course menu is priced at HK$788 per person (plus HK$200 for two-hour free-flow Louis Roederer Brut Premier).
Maison Es, 1A Star Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2521 8011
Exclusively served at the L’Atelier show kitchen, the special May menu by French fine-dining institution L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon features a taste of both land and sea, comprising dishes such as Maine lobster in a fine shellfish jelly with green-pea cream and Imperial caviar; white asparagus with miso emulsion and sea urchin; slow-cooked French chicken with seasonal morels; and grapefruit-and- raspberry mousse with Champagne jelly. At HK$1,180 per person, guests can choose to tack on the additional “Cru” Champagne pairing for HK$500, or the “Premier Cru” pairing for HK$980.
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Shop 315, Landmark Atrium, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2166 9000
Friendly neighbourhood spot Bistro du Vin is serving up a special menu of French favourites (HK$580 per person plus 10%), from decadent escargot swimming in herb butter to roasted chicken breast with a rich slab of pan-fried foie gras. You can choose to go lighter with an alternative main of sea bass with vegetables, but don’t skip out on dessert: a flaky rustic apple tart paired with vanilla ice cream, all washed down with a glass of NV Dhondt-Grellet Dan au Premier Temps Champagne.
Bistro du Vin, Shop D, 1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Hong Kong, +852 2824 3010
For a casual bite, head to French café Le Pain Quotidien to enjoy one of their signature dishes paired with a glass of bubbly. A sweet-savoury goat cheese and pear tartine is served up on a thick slice of their trademark rustic bread, drizzled with organic honey and paired with a glass of Champagne for HK$196; while the soft and fluffy classic French toast is served with a refreshing Champagne Mimosa (HK$156).
Le Pain Quotidien, Shop G41, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2520 1801
Chef Akrame Benallal’s more casual offshoot of his eponymous Michelin-starred restaurant is the perfect spot for enjoying fine French fare at an affordable price point. For the month of May, the four-course meal is priced at HK$448 per person, which includes an appetiser, meat, side, and dessert. Choose from dishes such as duck-leg terrine and 63-degree egg with spinach and aged Comté; followed by your choice of beef, duck breast, veal, chicken or Iberian pork rib. Sides include classic pommes galette (a potato “cake”) and pommes dauphines (crisp potato puffs), while dessert involves a tempting molten chocolate cake or crème brûlée.
Atelier Vivanda, 9A Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2109 1768
With the motto “eat, drink and be social”, Alibi (in the Cordis hotel) likes to show off its impressive wine and cocktail list, so it’s no surprise that it’s using Le French GourMay as a chance to display its extensive Champagne library. Choose from over 15 Champagne labels by the bottle, as well as an irresistible selection of Rosé Champagnes for a bit of variety. For the perfect pairing, order the seafood platter for two (HK$788), which includes freshly shucked oysters, Alaskan king crab leg, poached lobster, Hokkaido scallops and US cherrystone clams — along with two complimentary glasses of bubbly.
Alibi, 5/F, Cordis Hong Kong at Langham Place, 555 Shanghai Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, +852 3552 3028