Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hong Kong - Agnes B le pain grille

With the help of a good friend who remembered to make reservations 4 days in advance, I finally got the opportunity to dine at the quaint Agnes B le pain grille in Causeway Bay. Such anticipation since I had just landed from a hectic work weekend from Wuhan, China. And it did not disappoint.

With all the rush, I started with a refreshing strawberry, peach and apple concoction over Badoit - french still water. Very yummy even if a little sweet. Au naturel though so zero guilt there! We pored over the menu and was a little disappointed to be told they did not serve crepes for dinner. That did not stop us in our tracks. What follows is an exemplary display of French cafe favourites, starting with te classic French onion soup. A rich beef bouillion with generous helpings of caramelised onions topped off with a melted gruyere crouton. Heartwarming.. Contrast with the cool Nicoise salad with seared peppered tuna, hard boiled eggs and anchovies, perfect balance.

Next up - the wondrous special of the day - stewed pear stuffed with a foie gras mousse, served over a bed of raspberry sauce. Although big, it wasn't heavy because of the abundance of fruit, cutting through the rich creamy mousse.

The baked escargot with a garlic and basil pesto baked over a bed of sea salt was very fresh and crunchy in texture. Although the pesto did little to lift it from being slightly one-dimensional, the slug was fortunately good enough on its own.

Our main course of the roast lamb was grilled to perfection - nice crisp on the outside and pink on the inside. Very tender indeed and not gamey at all. The balsamic was a nice touch and lifted it from being too monotonous without an overwelming gravy.

We ended with 2 desserts. The baked apple tart came highly recommended by 3 waiters and it did not disappoint. The thin apple slices fanned out prettily over a crisp base topped off with a scoop of caramel ice cream. The other dessert of crepes with lemon and sugar was not bad at all - very al dente crepes with a light drizzle of lemon juice and icing sugar, but paled next to the apple tart.

Anyone dying for a slice of Paris in the bustle of Hong Kong should visit. Down to the decor of the purposely aged fixtures and fittings, to the French coffee counter and the enticing dessert display, you just may find yourself humming "I love Paris.." unwittingly. Ooh la la..

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