The newest addition to Aqua Group, La Marmite, which is thankfully not named after that disgusting yeast spread (yes I’m a hater), but rather after a French cooking pot, serves up traditional French cuisine in a modern bistro-style setting.
The décor is fairly simple, adorned with authentic vintage French posters and a rather large number of mirrors, evocative of a typical upscale Parisian bistro. In fact, almost everything about it screams authenticity, including the French music and the French team behind the delicious food, led by head chef Renaud Marin. Even the Cantonese waiters do their best to adopt a French air, even if they do struggle to pronounce a few of the daily specials!
Mr Tall Dark and Handsome (hereafter referred to as Mr TDH) and I shared the Cold cuts from the daily specials board. Without paying an atrocious amount of dollar in HK, it is hard to come by such fresh, delicious meat as this. However, for under $200, we were served a board with generous portions of only the freshest ham, prosciutto, salami and foie gras, lovingly drizzled with a little bit of truffle oil.
For main course, I chose the Almond crusted sea bass with bulgar paella, piquillos, chorizo and baby squid. The fish was cooked beautifully; the tenderness of the fish working perfectly with the slightly al dente bulgar wheat, and the chorizo and baby squid adding a little excitement to the mix. One slight disappointment, however, was that there was hardly any ‘almond crust’.
Mr TDH had the Steak tartare, served with a bowl of chips and a side salad (which of course he did not touch. You don’t get that tall, dark and handsome by eating salad!). The tender, lean steak was finely chopped rather than minced, giving it a more chunky texture, and absorbing more of the flavour. Definitely a successful dish.
I’m sure my love of chocolate is pretty well known by now, so despite our friendly waitress suggesting that our chosen dessert was too small to share, we ordered the Chocolate fondant with cappuccino mousse and Bailey’s ice cream, with two spoons. It was beautifully presented in a coffee cup, made to look exactly like a cappuccino. I’m actually not the world’s biggest coffee fan, so the presentation didn’t excite me that much, but what was underneath the mousse was absolutely divine and, combined with the Bailey’s ice cream, was an incredible dessert. A little on the rich side of course, so we were definitely thankful that it was not much bigger! I have to say though, that second to actually eating a chocolate fondant, one of my favourite parts of this dessert is watching the chocolate ooze out from the middle when prodded with a fork. Unfortunately this was not an option here, but it still didn’t affect our enjoyment of the dish.
The service at La Marmite is very, very good, as the friendly waiters and even the manageress are constantly aware of their guests, making sure that their dining experience is perfect. It is definitely a place I would return to for some genuine, not-outrageously-priced French fare, as the next best thing to actually getting on a plane and flying to Paris.
46 Staunton Street
Tel: +852 2803 7808
Date visited: Tuesday 2nd August 2011