They say that imitation is the best form of flattery, and nowhere is this more true than in the land of copies, Hong Kong. At pretty much the same time that a branch of the 55-year-old Parisian steakhouse Le Relais de l’Entrecôte opened in Wan Chai, another Parisian steakhouse, L’Entrecôte de Paris opened on Wyndham Street.
Parisian owners Benjamin Pitet and Matthieu Lemoine have been friends since kindergarten. They grew up around the very simple concept of Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, obsessed with that secret sauce. The opportunity came for the boys to open a restaurant together in Hong Kong and they decided to pay homage to this famous steakhouse, but adding their own unique twist.
The concept at L’Entrecôte de Paris is pretty much exactly the same as that of Le Relais de l’Entrecôte, except that there are no limitations nor expectations, since L’Entrecôte de Paris is not bound to any franchise agreement. This therefore gives them a great deal more flexibility with the menu; whilst it is still concise and focuses primarily on its signature steak with secret sauce and a side of French fries, there is also the option of grilled salmon and a variety of side dish alternatives such as rice, vegetables or pasta. There is also a bar and lounge area with a full cocktail menu.
The space at L’Entrecôte de Paris, whilst large, feels cosy and intimate. There are the obligatory vintage movie posters, red and white tiled flooring and beautiful stained glass light fittings that give the place a glamorous Parisian chic look and feel.
Another addition to the original menu is the delicatessen platter, featuring a selection of cold cuts, pickles and mustard, most of which, particularly the pork rillettes, were delicious. Perhaps it was just a personal preference, but both the smell and taste of the pork intestines was very off-putting.
In the same way as the original Parisian restaurant, the set menu begins with a bowl of salad, very simply dressed with a mustard vinaigrette and chopped walnuts. I found the dressing here a little too vinegary for my liking, but it was still a nice warm-up before the heavy steak.
The pre-sliced sirloin steak is cooked to your preferred temperature and served with its secret sauce directly at your table, along with a helping of French fries of course. In the same way as the original, you’ll be served two-thirds of the steak first, and the remaining third a little later. The steak itself was a little less cooked than the medium-rare that we had requested, but I’m never bothered about eating meat that’s practically still mooing. It was nonetheless more tender than I had expected and seriously juicy. The sauce was different to that of Le Relais de l’Entrecôte – it was greener and perhaps slightly less rich? – but still delicious and I appreciated the touch of giving us an extra jug of sauce in which to bathe our steak and chips. With regards to said chips, although I can’t fault them for being either tasteless or soggy, I was slightly disappointed that they weren’t made in-house. Apparently they are just waiting for the right kind of potatoes…
For dessert, we were told we had to try the Paris Brest, a delicious freshly baked choux pastry filled with hazelnut cream. I definitely wouldn’t be able to handle more than a few bites of this super-sweet pastry, but did enjoy the few bites I tried.
I was a big fan of The Tatin Sister Pie, however. Instead of being flat with thin slivers of apple, this was more of a hearty pie with delicious chunks of buttery, cinnamon-y apple.
The service initially needed a little coaxing, particularly when it came to giving descriptions of the dishes, but overall the staff are very friendly and helpful. Benjamin and Matthieu wanted to create an atmosphere that’s comfortable and homely, which I think they have accomplished. The set menu is $268 for two courses ($20 cheaper than its Wan Chai rival and the set lunch is only $180), but obviously once you add on some wine, desserts and the optional yet necessary delicatessen platter, your bill will start to rack up. I’m sure there are Entrecôte snobs out there who refuse to go to anything but the original; forget that for just a second and just enjoy it for what it is – a simple, fuss-free Parisian steakhouse with a concept that clearly works.
L’Entrecôte de Paris
3/F, 46-48 Wyndham Street
Tel: +852 3182 0105
Closed on Sundays