Nestled at a busy section along Hollywood Road was a gem of a find. In a city stuffed with overpriced French restaurants with little to offer other than their pretentious fine dining menus, La Grande Bouffe was quite a breathe of fresh air.
Run by a French chap Anthony and a co-owner, La Grande Bouffe opened its doors in December 2013 and has stayed busy since. A popular hangout for French, expats and locals alike, the restaurant is best described as quirky – from the various sections of the restaurant painted in different colours to represent parts of France Anthony sourced his menu from, the black-and-white French movie projected on its wall, to the way you get a discount on your coffee simply by saying “please, thank you”.
(A side note: Don’t try this with your steak, it won’t work).
The menu is brief and sufficient. And if you are a bit challenged French-wise, Anthony is more than happy to show your pictures of the food on his iPad.
Pressé de foie gras aux fruits des mendiants. This layered duck liver started off our meal great. Loved the layer of dried fig, apricot and prune, which balanced the savoury taste of the foie gras with sweetness – how refreshing! The sprinkle of sea salt on top added a twist to the sweetness vs savoury too. A change from the usual pan-fried style used at other restaurants. The pate was perfect with the extra warm baguette they serve on the side.
Tartare de saumon au poivre vert de Madagascar et aromates. The fresh seasoning with capers, spring onion, onion, and lime juice is quite good on this Malagasy green pepper salmon tartare, though it rather paled in comparison with the duck liver though.
Bar entier poëlé, tronçon de courgette. Despite its size, the pan-fried sea bass tasted well seasoned, with its skin slightly crispy. It was well and evenly cooked on both side – no wonder it took some time to reach the table! The combination of roast carrot, fried lentil and fennel went surprisingly well with the fish. Overall, a satisfying dish.
Special of the day – this amazing duck confit. The crispy skin tasted like skin of a very good suckling pig, and it has the same melt-in-your-mouth duck fat to match. Sitting on a bed of creamy mashed potato, the well-marinated duck leg has a tinge smokiness that reminds one of Chinese ham. The meat was so soft that it tears of its bone with ease. La Grande Bouffe should really make this part of its regular menu!
By the time we left the restaurant, the tables were already packed and the sidewalk flowing with people… and it was a weekday night. Definitely worth coming back!
EAT: La Grande Bouffe | G/F, 66 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong | firstname.lastname@example.org | +852 2324 1408
Note: This was an invited tasting session.The One With La Grande Bouffe - French Bistro In Soho by Razlan