Despite the many trends that are blossoming all over town, French food can never be (and hopefully will never be) forgotten, especially when it’s done well, as it certainly is at Bistro du Vin.
This cute little bistro on Davis Street in Kennedy Town is as Parisian as it gets in Hong Kong, with tiled flooring, rustic-looking wooden tables, long leather benches and of course French accordion music playing in the background. What I particularly love about the décor are the vintage knick-knacks such as corkscrews, pots and pans, tins, comic books and posters dotted all over the walls. I couldn’t stop my eyes from darting around the room wondering what I would find next. At the back of the restaurant lies the wine collection, from which the restaurant derives its name.
The menu is authentic, without needing to offer a vast number of choices; I wish certain restaurants would learn that it’s better to offer five options and do them well than offer 30 options that are mediocre. A range of cold cuts and homemade pâtés kick off the menu above a small selection of starters, mains and desserts, along with a few specials of the day.
A French bistro is not a French bistro if it doesn’t serve onion soup. The cheesy onion soup at Bistro du Vin is one of the tastiest I’ve tried. A thick layer of molten cheese gives way to a rich soup with soft slivers of onion that melt in the mouth. Dip in some crusty bread and this will be the only soup you’ll ever want to have.
The pumpkin soup from the specials menu was mild and comforting, perfect for a winter’s day, although in my opinion not a patch on the onion soup.
The goat’s cheese in ‘feuille de brick’ with mesclun salad was heavenly: creamy goat’s cheese came wrapped in delicately fine and crispy pastry, which, paired with the lightly dressed salad, was neither too heavy nor too easy to resist.
It was the pan-seared foie gras however that really made me smile. Two sizeable chunks of decadently buttery foie gras were topped with caramelised chunks of apple and crunchy nuts, creating a perfect balance of textures and flavours.
Moving on to main courses, the red snapper with leeks and bacon from the specials board had a delicate flavour, enhanced by the sweet leeks and salty bacon.
The lamb shank, cooked and served in a beautiful Le Creuset pot that was still piping hot long after the lamb had been eaten, was deliciously tender, falling off the bone at the slightest touch. It needed a little helping of salt to really bring out the flavours of the rich tomato-based sauce, but then it’s better to have too little salt and add your own than be far too salty.
The only complaint about the coq au vin (also cooked and served in a beautiful Le Creuset pot) was the exact opposite: it was a little too salty. Regardless of that, the chicken was juicy and delicious, and the rich sauce served as the perfect dip for every kind of potato we had on the table: French fries, wedges and mash.
Finally the duck leg confit was cooked to tender perfection, with wonderfully crispy skin that I could not refuse, despite not usually being a skin-eater. Again, the duck needed a sprinkling of salt to help it on its way, after which it was possibly my favourite of the four dishes. The wedges it was served with were dangerously moreish and clearly cooked in some kind of fat, perhaps that of the very same duck leg.
I can never resist a chocolate fondant (yes, even if I have just eaten a hugely rich French meal!), and Bistro du Vin’s fondant was utter perfection. It was rich and decadent whilst at the same time light and fluffy with the perfect oozing centre that left all four of us fighting over the last piece.
The only disappointment of the evening came in the form of the banana crumble. When we saw it on the specials board, having never tried crumble of the banana variety, we decided we must order it. However, the crumble was lacking and the banana was far too sweet; I like crumbles of the apple variety that maintain an element of tart. Had this been our only dessert, we might have had to trudge down to Davis to order a slice of their heavenly cheesecake, but thankfully the fondant made up for it.
Service in fact was another disappointment, where we had to wave frantically in order to get even a hint of attention. Not a single smile crossed the face of any of the waiters either, which in part ruined the experience. However, the food was scrumptious and the décor was lovely, so, despite the over $400 bill per head (when we only had three glasses of wine), I will most definitely venture back to K Town whenever I feel the urge to visit Paris.
Bistro du Vin
Shop 1D, 1 Davis Street
Tel: +852 2824 3010