Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hong Kong - Saint-Germain

Happy Valley welcomes yet another new kid on the block.  This time, a casual French bistro that took over from a pub that used to sit a stone's throw from the electric tram depot.  For Happy Valley residents, this adds to the ever increasing and changing repertoire of the food scene in the village, so it's a thumbs up!

I've been there twice since opening, and while I'm not a fan yet, I like the fact that it's in the hood, and provides easy access to a cuisine that's not done anywhere else in the village yet.  The food is decent enough and it's quite a nice place to hang out over casual food and wine (although the last time I was there they hadn't gotten their liquor licence as yet, but you can BYO).  The menu is smallish, although not untypical of bistro menus, so unless you're a creature of habit, you can't go too often.

Summer Truffle Risotto with Beef Jus
This is a pretty yummy way to start a meal here.  If you like the aroma of truffles and the robustness of the essence of beef, you will like this.  There is nothing else except rice and shavings but you feel like there's a lot more ingredients present because the goodness of what's named has been reduced to and infused into a mound of rice with bite.  On my first visit, the rice was a tad uncooked (and I like bite) but no problems on the second.

Home-made Foie Gras Terrine
This was good too.  Great creamy texture and enough livery goodness.  The richness of the generous slab is balanced with a variety of condiments - balsamic vinegar, sea salt and fresh ground pepper, apricot compote, and a little Arugula.  Coupled with country bread, another easy winner.

Crab Salad
Less of a Wow! but great for the summer is the crab salad with wedges of citrus - orange and pink grapefruit.

Grilled Seabass with Risotto
Taste wise, this was good, but a big letdown was the fact that the Seabass was overcooked.  Hate that especially since this was not the Chilean variety, making the cottony flesh a tad rough on the palate.  The deep fried risotto balls were fun to eat and quite yummy when rolled around in the foam.

Grilled chicken breast with Cannelloni
Not a fan of breast meat, but this was pretty decent.  But I liked the Cannelloni stuffed with Ricotta a lot more.  The skin of the Cannelloni was crispy and balanced the creamy Ricotta within.  The sauce was tasty and so overall, a satisfying dish.  But again, I ain't no breast fan so this wouldn't be a first choice for me here.

Finally, a French place isn't a French place if their desserts cannot pass muster.

Chocolate Cake
Chocolate cake was actually pretty good.  Well moist, and not too sweet, given freshness from the real vanilla bean ice cream.

Apple Tart
But the dessert winner is the apple tart.  Very French, very good.  It sat in the oven 10 seconds too long but there are those of us who like it on the cusp of a burn (a deep golden brown).  Very crisp, full of apple goodness, and just yummy.

In all, a nice welcome change to the food scene in Happy Valley.  Hopefully they keep improving on the good work, and that they manage to change the apparently not-so-ideal feng shui in that location, considering the many shop owners who have changed hands over the years.  On my next visit, I look forward to trying their beef dishes and duck fat fries.  Yeah..

G/F, 1A Wong Nai Chung Rd
Happy Valley
Tel: +852 2836-6131


  1. Duck fat fries! Let me know how they are : ) I tried a few in HK but they don't have that duck fat taste. I remember I've had some in France/Aust before which really had that gamey oil taste from goose or duck! Really want to find a proper one locally...

  2. Yeah! I haven't tried a really good one yet. The fries were Bettys were good but not that ducky.