BOUCHON Bistro Francais @ A French Affair

Hong Kong is awash with French restaurants in the past few years with now the expansion to Hong Kong Island West like Sai Ying Pun and Kennedy Town, thanks to the MTR extention work. But we take a U-turn back to SoHo in Central and revisit Bouchon Bistro Francais for its heartwarming and authentic French Bistro gastronomy that tries to be nothing more than it should. By Mylifestylenews.

Bouchon Bistro Francais is your old Parisian neighborhood bistro with a simple menu consists of the classics that give you the feeling for a taste of Paris. Located in the heart of SoHo by the escalator on Elgin street, this very small frontage provides an intimate and unique atmosphere as you enter through the French glass doors.

Our reservation was made before hand with a Bouillabaisse pre-order but it doesn’t seem matter to them even by checking with our name provided. Without any pre-organized table as booked which it shall be (guess that is what reservation are for), we were asked to chose our prefer sittings and we picked the table across the main bar while we could enjoy watching the world goes by on a less bustling Tuesday evening in SoHo as well as the action from the bar.

The décor is quintessential Parisian bistro style, with wood paneling, marble-top tables, high wooden stools creates a less formal but intimate Bistro dining concept and the wall bracket lights, black and white tiled floor, antique style mirrors add a little more tres Parisian mood to the entire area plus the open kitchen are seen by the separation of the glass window towards the end of this lovely Bistro.

Hand-written boards with the daily specials and cheese selections and a soaring ceiling that creates an airiness that exudes a charm with warmth in no matter what the weather is doing outside.

The menu certainly warmed our hearts with all our favorites and most French Bistro essentials mush-have and in Bouchon Bistro Francais, you need not to worry about their generous serving portion that would certainly satisfy your craving. Our rundown for the evening gave us some high & low expectation and experience.

We started with the <Cuisses de Grenouille> - Sautéed frog legs with parsley and garlic.
Very meaty frog legs sautéed well with garlic and herbs that offers quite a start as hors d’oeruvres despite the dressing was a little over salted yet it is still quite a delicious enjoyable dish especially for those who enjoy garlic for the palate.

<Soupe a l’Oignon> 
Every French Bistro or restaurant has their very own version of presenting the French onion. Only if you have experience tasted the better version otherwise it is incomparable. Here, the French onion soup came with an Emmental cheese that baked to get the right crust and the almost melting onion from within provides a non unctuous palate. A rather classic bistro presentation but lacking the intense French onion flavor that we were expecting.

<Moules a la Mariniere> is next. The fleshy and juicy blue mussels can’t really get your hands off it as it completely absorbed the lemon white wine sauce was lighter than expected but had a very refreshing taste. The herbs imbued the dish with a fine aromatic flavor that is light and luscious. Served with thin cut fries and it is a must order.

<Confit de Canard>
Duck leg, Flageolet beans, Lardon, aged sherry vinegar. It is almost a must order dish when you dine in a French eat-out among many others classics.  At first bite, we initially thought not great, but after a few mouthfuls it exuded that classic intense flavor and the meat was easily falling apart at the touch of a knife. The lardon specs provide even more intense flavor and the aged sherry vinegar somehow brings down the heaviness of this dish to another level. A rich and well balanced dish and a good sized portion.

<Coq au Vin Jaune>
Roasted organic chicken breast, wild mushrooms, white wine cream. We have some expectation each time we order Coq au Vin for its think and rather creamy sauce and savory. The chicken breast was grilled dry with a chewy texture with a burnt top that creates a bitterness and the sauce was less intense and rather bland. The mashed potatoes and other vegetable base was also not at the right temperature, it appeared that it was there sitting too long while waiting for the chicken to get done. This classic French dish has lost its focus and flavor and disappointing. We could have chosen the Boeuf Bourguignon instead.

The Provencal seafood stew with Tiger prawns, mussels, sea bass and crab. Despite the prawns did not look like a Tiger prawn size and a soft crab is used for garnish and the pungent broth with a hint of fishiness still taste quite intense and palatable with their own version and style.

Over overall dining experience was pleasing with some dishes standing out more than others. What needs a bit of work is the front of house team as we couldn’t find any enthusiasm and ready to serve attitude the entire evening nor having any introduction on every dish brought to the table and seeking any feedback when each dish was consumed. We did not finish the Coq au Vin Jaune and plates was cleared away without question why. Serving with the heart is the best anyone can do whether the food strikes a chord or not, at least that is what everyone should experience when dining out. We were told that the French Restaurant manager Alex was off duty during our visit or otherwise we could have experienced a more French affair avec a taste of Paris and homely hospitality.

Tried & Tested:
Location: 4.5/5
Design & Decor: 4/5
Food & Beverage: 4/5
Service: 2.5/5
Value For Money: 4/5
Experience: 4/5

Cuisses de Grenouille
Moules a la Mariniere

49, Elgin Street
Central, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2525 9300

Reviews are based on actual day of visit and experience. mylifestylenews reserves the right of final decision in case of any disputes. All images are photographed by mylifestylenews team without any photoshop enhancement and are the property owned by mylifestylenews unless otherwise stated. 

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