Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dining in Hong Kong

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This just in from Global Around Town Senior Travel Correspondent Doug Wingate in Hong Kong:

Got to lunch at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon on Thursday, before we headed to the mainland for Harbin's New Year's festivities over the weekend. It was dee-lish. We had a set menu, that began with a swell amuse bouche of a parmigiana flan presented in a ceramic egg shell. Our starter was a seared scallop and bacon skewer that was rich and light simultaneously. Then, we enjoyed a unique duck confit presentation as our main, that was like an haute shepherd's pie, with a small pot with a bottom layer of duck confit, topped with truffled mashed potatoes, and then finished with a broiled layer of parmigiana. Ohmigod-- I died and went to heaven then and there, but first they gave me angel wings with a dessert of petit profiteroles in which  the chocolate sauce had been traded for a salted caramel sauce. Then coffee, finished by house made macarons and fruit gelees. EXQUISITE all!

Temple, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Cultural, photo, picture, image

Yesterday, Chinese New Year's Day in Hong Kong, we were looking for an open restaurant, and serendipitously wandered into a new little place on trendy Hollywood Rd. (the Design District), which forms the northern border of also trendy SoHo, on the western edge of Central, and just east of the famous Man Mo Buddhist Temple. It is called DUO, and is run by a Lebanese fellow who grew up in Paris, by the name of Marwan Cabbabe, who is fluent in French and English (and probably whatever else is spoken in Lebanon). His very chic new bistro offers an eclectic mix of cuisine, from burgers for the homesick American expats to Duck confit and profiteroles for the French missing their Gallic homeland. Everything we tasted was first-rate, from the confit of roast chicken with roasted root vegetables (gorgeous and cooked to perfection), to a pumpkin risotto, to a light but rich housemade chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream. (In fact, everything in the place is housemade, from the tapenade served on toasted bread as you sit down, to a unique dessert of housemade jams with various breads, that could also be a breakfast with tea or coffee). The French couple sitting next to us finished off with glee their risotto and gnochi and finished with excellent-looking profiteroles. The wine list is well chosen, and Marwan the host/owner couldn't be more gracious. My HoKo house hosts were flabbergasted at the find; they couldn't believe something so good had opened up so close to their mid-Levels home. Anyway, this is THE spot, in my humble foodie opinion, for a GREAT, comforting, stylish meal for the western palate (with a Gallic foundation) with prices, although not cheap, that are a veritable bargain compared to the Michelin-two-starred wonderful L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (DUO is equally  satisfying, in its own way, as L'Atelier). Here's wishing Marwan every success -- it is well deserved.

DUO Restaurant + Cafe
G/F 118, Hollywood Rd
Central, Hong Kong
Tel-852 6338 3991

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