Shop 2608 – 2610, Level 2
Tsim Sha Tsui
Telephone: (852) 2327 5711
Overall rating: 7/10
Date of visit: December 2016
I went to Le Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Tokyo in 2015, and this cafe is a step further down in price and quality. They also sell small cakes to bring home from a counter at the front. There’s also an Atelier in Hong Kong, but I chose to skip that one as I had read a few less than stellar reviews and besides that, French haute cuisine in Hong Kong is extraordinarily expensive (usually around €265 + drinks for a tasting menu)!
Anyway, this cafe still offers solid French food, and I chose a three course menu for HK$338 (€40.60), as I chose pork for the main course (there were small variations in the price depending on what main course you chose). There were also plenty of a la carte dishes on the menu.
I also ordered a glass of white wine, priced at HK$120 (€14.40). On top of all this was a 10 % service charge, which many places in Hong Kong had. So the total bill came to HK$503.80 (€60.50)
The first plate consisted of three small dishes: A mushroom with a baked tomato and a basil crisp (right); a sesame seed disc with foie gras mousse in between; and a croquette on a bed of marinated mango. The sesame and foie gras dish is one of the best foie gras dishes I’ve had. I’m usually not that fond of foie gras, but this combination worked really well, and the foie gras was pleasantly tempered. The other two elements on the plate were decent but not extraordinary.
The main course was slowly cooked pork with mushrooms and parsnips puree. The very next day in Singapore I had much, much better pork in the restaurant Rhubarb. This pork here was a bit dry and chewy. I think it might have been cooled down after cooking and then fried when I ordered it. I’ve seen from my own cooking that this can make the pork chewy. Nevertheless, it was a fairly pleasant dish.
The dessert was creme brulee. I had hoped for some added flavours, and this came in the form of small ginger jellies and cinamoon sticks made of pastry. The creme brulee itself also had a nice texture. At times it can be too blubbery or slimy.
So, overall a decent meal, but not up to the standards of what I had in Le Atelier in Tokyo – not that I would expect it to be.
The service was okay, but not great. I was allowed to taste the wine before deciding on it when I asked, but I did somehow feel a slightly snooty/icy attitude from both the waiter and waitress that served me. The service at Le Atelier in Japan was very good indeed.
If you want good cantonese food, this seems fairly easy to find in Hong Kong for very little money. But if you want French food, or anything resembling what we consider “Michelin star food” in Europe and the US, the prices are very steep in Hong Kong. In light of that, I found Le Cafe to offer reasonable value for money.
Across the bay in Macau, Joel Robuchon has the restaurant Le Dome de Joel Robuchon, which is supposed to be a wonderful restaurant, but unfortunately they didn’t have a table available while I was here. It is extraordinarily expensive, but if I return to Hong Kong or Macau, I will hopefully visit.