An intimate space that is decorated in a family bistro style, with some very evocative posters recalling yesteryear in advertising with some iconic images as well as personal photographs with happy memories on the wall, mylifestylnews discovers this rustic French Soiree, Jules Bistro at Happy Valley – a place full of character……
The great thing about Hong Kong is that just about every corner in any precinct, there is always a good restaurant to choose from. Happy Valley is another hidden treasure with quite a fair bit of undiscovered talents especially those visionaries that have been tired of SoHo in Central as well as San Ying Pun. Chef Laurent Brouard, the owner of Jules Bistro named the restaurant after his grandfather by paying homage as a butcher in France.
The moment you walk in you feel you belong, there is a lot of warmth inside from this intimate Bistro and its atmosphere. Once seated, we were proffered two glasses of French Clair Diamant Blanc de Blancs Brut courtesy of Chef Brouard.
A very extensive chalk board hand written menu was presented of plat du jour with a big emphasis on bird, terrine, foie gras, mushrooms, cheese and sausages. A typical yet classically rustic French provincial feel to it that we were immediately taken with, but too many mouthwatering options for us to consider.
We narrowed down our focus to try a soup, terrine, pigeon, quail, duck confit and even decided at the get go that we had to try one dessert each from the specials on the chalk board. It looks like we have bitten off more than we can chew but we were prepared for a lot of hearty food.
Evocative posters recalling yesteryear in advertising along the hallway.
Chef Brouard's litlle haven - the open kitchen
A wide selection of fromage from France are available in Jules Bistro.
Fresh Sausages are hung and getting ready to be served.
French Clair Diamant Blanc de Blancs Brut, one of the best way to begin with a meal.
Chef Brouard joined us at the table a moment after we sipped our bubbly French sparkling. His observation is sharp, to see if we needed any suggestions and insisted that we try the <Duck Egg Soft Boiled Old Style> as our entrée du jour, its sounds as exotic as it is and this is so rare to try this dish in Hong Kong, given the duck eggs are imported from France especially. Few minutes after, the eggs arrived to our table with the top shell opened and laying on a bed of sea salt as garnished and we jumped straight into the egg without hesitation. Certain temperature was in control in order to get the right runny texture and colour, we suggest to add a hint of table salt and pepper to bring out the best natural flavor of this French farm egg while consuming it in a slow pace with the tiny spoon.
The <Soupe de Poissons de Roche Servie avec Sa Rouille et Ses Croutons> - Fish soup served with croutons and rouille was next on the tasting agenda and this hearty thick fish soup was tasty, it is like rich Laksa Goulash with consistent kick in flavor. DO not hesitate to melt the cheese given as well as dipping it with the freshly baked bread.
For contrast, we opted for the special <Guinea Fowl, Wild Duck Breast, Foie Gras & Pistachio Home-Made Terrine>, it is unfamiliar yet very exotic combination and a definite homemade by Chef Brouard with the skill he inherited from his father. It is quite a mouthful to read on the menu, but not so difficult to eat. It is chunky in consistency and presentation, but extremely delicious and you could taste the different meats at times, depending on which chunk you were eating, plus the cornichons are always a delightful accompaniment to give a bit of sourness to contrast the richness of the meats in the terrine. A great start for the evening and we already felt very secure in Chef Brouard’s hands.
Some Cotes du Rhones Mon Coeur red wine are one of the best compliment to French gastronomy.
CAUTION: That is not Bruce Willis' double but Chef Brouard in action at his compact kitchen
Mains were too hard to choose, so we took the long road and opted for three mains to try: <Cuisse de Canard Confit et son Grantin du Jour> - Duck Leg Confit with a gratin of the day, a <French Roasted Quail with Autumn Black Truffle Sauce> and a <Pigeon Rotis Entier> - Roasted whole Pigeon. The expectations was getting higher as the entrée du jour had done nothing to failed us as well as these are some of our favourite dishes and we anticipated with curiosity for what Chef Brouard would aim to please. The Duck Leg Confit was perfectly crispy on the outside and you could tell it had been fried in the pan to get the crispy skin texture and the meat was just falling away from the bone with a touch of the knife, it is a superb rendition of such a classic dish that had plenty of juicy flavor to boot.
The quail was a little bit different in flavor (and in size) and texture to the two other dishes, it is somewhat more assertive flavor than chicken and yet less strong flavor than a duck and stood up well with Chef Brouard’s fait maison secret recipe sauce. It was such a divine dish.
The Roasted Whole Pigeon was rather huge in size for a per se, it was equally enticing with such rich dark tender meat – plenty of it too that gave a lot of pleasure with each mouthful. Simply rustique!
The two dessert specials were a must on our list this evening, a beautiful Tarte du jour <Peach Tart> and a classic <Golden Apple Tart Tine>. These are such simple, yet a quintessential desserts, stripped of all the accouterments, so no ice creams or creams, with just glistening fruit and perfectly judged pastry to do the talking. Subsequently, there was a refreshing palate and lightness to each and did not push us over the limit of more large portions.
Homemade is the key here, with lots of heart and passion from the gastronomy Jules Bistro has to offer and deliver in such manner. As the saying goes, there is no place like home and Jules Bistro will certainly be another soiree for the French and now for the locals who appreciate a sumptuous home cook meal, like home.
Tried & Tested:
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 5/5
Value For Money: 4.5/5
Plat du Jour Menu
King Inn Mansion
13-15 Yik Yam Street
Happy Valley Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2838 1115