One of Bistro du Vin's classic French bistro offerings is an earthy cog au vin (above), as well as a rich bouillabaisse and a pate and rillette platter (below). Photos Provided to China Daily
You associate Hong Kong with good Chinese food and cosmopolitan selections to tempt the international gourmets, but hidden away in the western part of the island is a little bistro - in every sense of the word. Donna Mah tells us more.
Home-style French cooking in a modest setting at reasonable prices is the very definition of what a French bistro should be.
However, in Hong Kong, the word "bistro" is usually just an indication the restaurant serves French food. Finally, at a small neighborhood eatery named Bistro du Vin, the name fits the concept perfectly.
Fresh produce is purchased from the nearby wet market. Poultry and meat are sourced locally wherever possible. Daily specials are written on a chalkboard prominently displayed on the wall in the middle of the dining room. Dishes are prepared using recipes tried and tested personally by owner, Randy See.
"We have tried to recreate the French bistro experience in Hong Kong," See says. The food served is French but with local flavors.
"We serve dishes that we make using fresh ingredients from the nearby market. We serve French food, but it's not fancy French food."
The food here is hearty and filling, and the menu provides an excellent variety, especially considering that Bistro du Vin is a small place with a really small kitchen.
The pates are not too salty and are served with fresh bread.
The portions are generous, and we all ate more bread with pate than we should have at the start of the meal. With a small section of the menu devoted to eggs, it was essential that we sample one of these items.
We also had the home-salted brandade, which is made by whipping salt cod and potatoes together. It's a simple dish, just presented simply and delicious. The cod and potatoes are wonderful complements to each other. Eaten with the soft-cooked egg, the brandade is creamy and rich but not much so.
The steaming bouillabaisse served here is accompanied by rouille made with mayonnaise and garlic. The seafood soup is very flavorful, but I would have preferred more garlic in the rouille. See explains that some diners had complained that it was too garlicky previously.
The coq au vin is tender and served in a pot with carrots, lardons and whole mushrooms. The suckling pig confit was a crowd-pleaser with crispy skin and succulent meat. For a less fatty piece, order the leg cut rather than the cut from the belly.
To finish off our meal, we had the Grand Marnier souffle served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Not too sweet and with a hint of citrus, it was a good end to a good meal.
With a name like Bistro du Vin, the wine list is also an attraction. The wine is sourced from boutique vineyards in France, many of which See has been visiting for years. The list offers some reasonably priced wines that you won't find in your local supermarket. See and his staff are happy to make recommendations.