In the four years I’ve been back in Hong Kong, Sheung Wan has steadily grown to become a super trendy area, with cool new restaurants appearing on streets I barely knew existed before. One of these is Upper Modern Bistro, a casual chic French restaurant with a modern Asian twist, which opened towards the end of last year.
Upper Modern Bistro, named after Upper Station Street on which it stands, is the first restaurant opened by the former executive chef of St George at Hullett House, Philippe Orrico. Having been raised on the multicultural French island of Reunion, and later trained by Pierre Gagniere, Chef Orrico is known for his innovative approach to cooking, which combines different techniques and cultures.
The restaurant isn’t huge, yet it feels spacious and comfortable, with neutral colours and the occasional orange accent. The ceiling is made up of egg-shaped petals that apparently are a nod to Chef Orrico’s fascination with eggs. It’s a welcoming space that is both calming and fun.
Whilst we sipped on a glass of Champagne (so what if it was a Monday night?) we were served some Brittany oysters with ponzu marinade. As I’ve mentioned before, oysters are not necessarily something I would jump to order, yet these were seriously outstanding oysters. They were as fresh as could be and gave us an unmistakeable hint as to the level of excellence we could expect for the rest of the meal.
Following this, we were served a mug of chilled cantaloupe melon soup with almond foam, alongside some brioche topped with foie gras. Again, although simple, this was an exceptional dish. The soup was beautifully refreshing, with a slightly chunkier texture towards the bottom that balanced the lightness of the foam. The sweetness of the melon also paired perfectly with the rich, buttery foie gras.
Our seafood dish was steamed teriyaki cod with ‘spicy greens’. This perfectly flaky fish again seriously impressed us. Its lovely delicate flavour was complemented, but not masked, by the sweet teriyaki marinade and the crunchy texture of the greens gave it yet more depth.
The char-grilled beef fillet with artichoke cannelloni, despite being just a little bit chewier than I had expected, had an incredible flavour, made the more so by adding a dollop of delicious homemade mustard. The artichoke cannelloni, topped with crispy béchamel sauce made with cottage cheese, was lovely and light, nicely balancing the richness of the dish.
Upper Modern Bistro has recently appointed an amazing new General Manager, who also happens to be a renowned fromagier. Jeremy Evrard joined the team a couple of months ago, bringing with him his extensive knowledge of French cheese, including some from tiny little farms in France you’d never have heard of. He put together an amazing cheese selection for us, served on a beautiful piece of petrified wood. Our selection included Brillat Savarin, Croix Cathare, Pavé de la Ginestarie, Perail, Brin d’amour, 4-year aged Comté, Coulommier and Fourme d’ambert fermière, my favourite of which were the Fourme d’ambert, an intense blue cheese, and the creamy Brillat Savarin.
Last but certainly not least, our dessert was a light and refreshing poached peach salad with almond cream and lychee sorbet – a lovely end to a fantastic meal.
Service was excellent throughout the meal and staff, especially Jeremy, were incredibly friendly. Expect to leave Upper Modern Bistro a fair bit poorer than when you arrived; starters are around $100-200, whilst mains might set you back over $400. I was pleasantly surprised by both the food and the service. Although the food is simple, bistro-style food, it is well executed and delicious. There is no doubt that I will be back, even if just for the cheese board!
Upper Modern Bistro
14 Upper Station Street
Tel: +852 2517 0977