Monday, June 10, 2013

Quirky Brasserie with Solid Fare

hkLifestyleGeek revisits French Window

Last fall French Window in IFC underwent a major renovation, removing the redundant partitions and creating a large open space that aims to be more casual and now has a newly revamped menu to complement it.

The Happy Hour seems to be popular, with people making a beeline for the bar where they can have drinks and snacks at reasonable prices. Meanwhile chef Matthieu Bonnier is enthusiastic and happy to introduce menu items. He presents some classic dishes, from French onion soup to duck confit, coq au vin and creme brulee, as well as variations like the French Window Burger with raclette cheese, pan-fried salmon fillet and grilled beef tenderloin. Diners are invited to share -- particularly the fries.

The menu looks fun -- featuring cartoon drawings of food, including a French fry wearing a beret relaxing with a cigarette in a bathtub of bubbling hot oil. However we still find the drawing of a snake swallowing a pig and in its stomach are another pig, goose and cow quite disturbing.

In any event we were there to try the food and we sampled a lot. For starters, the grand seafood platter was already overwhelming. At HK$1,188 it's definitely for at least four to share, filled with crab, lobster, sea whelk, prawns, clams and of course oysters. The bivalves are usually from France, but will be sourced from other countries for seasonality. A smaller seafood platter costs HK$698.

Appetisers are quite gourmet -- the pan-fried crab cakes (HK$108) are placed on a celery and apple salad with black truffle mayonnaise, while the salmon tartar (HK$158) is refreshing and light for summer, the beef tartar (HK$178) a heartier portion.

For those who love foie gras, having it pan-fried and placed on toasted brioche with gratinated turnips (HK$198) is an indulgence and a half -- practically a meal in itself.

The main course of Burgundy-style red wine braised beef cheeks with potato mousseline (HK$298) is a highlight. The beef practically melts in the mouth and is full of flavour worth savouring. The coq au vin with tagliatelles (HK$198) is also tasty, but the meat was more on the tough side.

The crunchy suckling pig (HK$308) was definitely crackling in the mouth, though we didn't think much of the matchstick fries and much preferred the side of thick-cut fries with various sauce (HK$208) that were more substantial -- so much so we were tempted to finish them all...

By now we were pretty much stuffed and had to find room for dessert, which we did for the flaky apple and almond thin tart (HK$78). Another relatively light dessert is the French lemon pie topped with meringue (HK$68), and the fruit sherbert or ice cream (HK$48) for a refreshing finish. For sweet tooths, the chocolate mousse with whipped cream (HK$68) will hit the spot.

French Window
3101, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall
2393 3812

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