The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 7 October 2011

French @ Café de Paris, Hong Kong

I have a little obsession with European food at the moment. Last week after having lunch in Soho, we walked past a little bistro called Café de Paris, and their lunch menu at the window looked quite enticing and very affordable. So on the weekend past, we once again braved the narrow streets and busy sidewalks of Soho - something that we will do many more times, judging by the number of restaurants we want to try - and made our way inside the peace and quiet of a Parisian-style eatery.

The bustling street seemed so far away at the very back of the restaurant, by the bar:

We were greeted by a Chinese waitress, and I must admit that part of the French illusion dissipated when I realised that I wasn't going to be served by a cute waiter with a French accent. More of that magic disappeared when I saw that the chef was Asian, and that the bread rolls were pulled from a packet (I'd asked if the rolls were safe for our boy to eat due to his food allergies, and was shown the bread packaging for ingredients). However, I do not hold these against the restaurant because I understand that this is how they keep their costs down, and there won't be any complaints from us as long as the food is good. We'd already counted it a good thing that the kitchen was willing to accommodate the boy's food allergies for all the dishes they prepared on-site. I really liked the French bistro-eque decor, and the atmosphere was cozy and comfortable. Service was adequate, but I felt that there was room for improvement. There were two lunch sets offered (for HK$98 and HK$218), and both included no less than four courses, with a choice from four different main courses, plus coffee/tea. The main course dishes from the more expensive set are from the a la carte menu, which I assume is what they normally serve for dinner at a much elevated price.

We both liked the look of the Spiced Duck Breast with Crispy Polenta, Creamy Spinach and Red Wine Jus on the HK$98 lunch set and the Mussel Marinière with House Fries from the HK$218 menu, so we got one of each and shared. Our appetisers, soup and dessert were the same, so we only had to exchange plates once. The boy was happy grazing from both our plates - loving the bread dipped in the soup, enjoying the duck and mussels, but he was most keen on the homemade fries, which was probably the second time in his whole life eating them.

The Appetiser of the Day - duck (or was it chicken?) breast salad. Fresh vegetables, and lightly dressed:

Soup of the Day - cream of cauliflower. Tasty and easy on the palate, perfect with bread and not too rich:

Mussels Marinière with House Fries - plump and fresh mussels cooked in a simple herbs and butter sauce. The homemade fries were pleasantly not greasy, and came piping hot straight from the fryer to the table:

Spiced Duck Breast with Crispy Polenta, Creamy Spinach and Red Wine Jus - tender meat, lots of spinach and a good sauce. I liked it, but hubby thought the duck flavour was different to how he remembered duck meat to taste:

Dessert of the Day - Strawberry Pannacotta. The pannacotta was quite light, and quite tasty. We both ordered cappuccino for an additional HK$10:

Café de Paris may not be the most authentic French restaurant, but we enjoyed our lunch in this cozy little restaurant. And the bill was easy on the wallet, which is always a good thing.

Café de Paris
23 Elgin Street

Soho, Central
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2810 0771


  1. The spiced duck breast looks pretty good but if I was living in HK, I think I would not be able to go past the roast duck chinese style! :)

  2. I love European food... especially the pastries :)

  3. @ chopinandmysaucepan - I love the HK roast duck too, but it's not safe for my kid to eat - would hate to exclude him at mealtime. We're in the wrong continent for the boy's food allergies!!

    @ Stephanie - we almost ate European again this weekend! Had Thai instead for the sake of variety :)