It seemed befitting that a pre-Sex & the City 2 dinner should be the kind the Carrie and Mr. Big are used to. So reservations at The French Window were made.
It was my first time, and the transformation from Lumiere, a noisier place blending Sichuan and Brazilian drinks and food, to The French Window, a much quieter ambience but still with great views of the harbor, was pretty impressive. And traversing the long, dark corridor to get in lent some sense of arrival, since the restaurant is in a mall, albeit a fancy upmarket one.
Service was trained, friendly but not impeccable. The switch from Cantonese to English and back was a little odd. Perhaps it was us, since our table spoke both interchangeably. And sometimes, the interruption of table conversation wasn't all too smooth.
The bread basket or glass in this case was an impressive start. We tried virtually every single variety and liked to loved all of them. The cheese/onion twist and wheat baguettes were both particularly impressive.
Of our amuse bouche trio, we liked the mushroom cappuccino best. Not overly creamy, with a aromatic fragrance of the mushrooms coming through clearly but not pungently so. We sipped every last bit from the tiny glass. The other 2 - salmon terrine and liver mouse crostini were passable but ordinary.
The pan-seared foie gras with rhubarb and carrot confit, xeres sauce was delicious. Well seared to a crisp on the outside to seal the creaminess within. While the sauce was good, I didn't think the rhubarb and carrot combo worked. One was way too tart, and the other was a little too blah to lend itself to anything. The innovation didn't work for me and they would have done well to stick to something safer like apricots to do the piece of liver justice.
The seasonal fish, Bouillabaise style was a nice variety of snapper, sea bream, seared scallop and shrimp with potatoes and carrots. The fish stew (not poured in picture yet) was full of sea-goodness although not amazing - I've had better. Snapper was very well done although the same could not be said for the sea bream, which was a little overcooked and fishy. Overall, not bad if eaten with the stew but the seafood on its own could have been fresher. Especially with my recent experience at Gattopardo (http://edeats.blogspot.com/2010/05/singapore-gattopardo.html), the Bouillabaise here definitely paled in comparison.
The other main course which I tried was the M9 Wagyu tenderloin, stuffed tomatoes, ratatouille, vinegar sauce was again, good but not great. The cut of beef was not well marbled and the separation of beef and fat was too obvious, making some parts tough and others too greasy. A little disappointing especially for the price. A similarly priced dish at Steik World Meats (http://edeats.blogspot.com/2010/04/hong-kong-steik-world-meats.html) got me a much better cut and taste. The accompanying stuffed tomatoes with ratatouille in vinegar sauce was also too blah.
Overall, a decent enough ambience to take business partners or dates, but it won't be a place I'd be rushing back to soon. For the price, there are better food options. Even the same Miramar Group's Whisk (http://edeats.blogspot.com/2010/03/hong-kong-whisk.html) at the Mira Hotel, I thought, was way better value and taste. We weren't inspired enough to have dessert but if the petit fours were anything to go by, we may not have missed much.
Shop 3101, 3/F,
Tower 2, IFC Mall,
No.1 Harbour View Street