With so many restaurants operated by giant groups, it is always so refreshing to find a humble, family-run restaurant, even if it involves travelling outside of my comfort zone to get there. Chez Didier, a cute little French bistro in North Point, is a lovely example of exactly this.
This little bistro, which is inspired by the region of Provence in the South of France, was once located in Central, but, after a two-year break, was re-born in a private lane in North Point last October. It is run by Chef Didier Rochat and his wife Venus, and even Chef Didier’s son helps out waiting tables. There is therefore a lovely welcoming and personal vibe that makes you feel as if you could indeed be dining in Provence.
The menu is gratifyingly small (I find big menus very overwhelming) with a couple of blackboards listing the daily specials. We started our meal with a Landaise salad from the blackboard, which consisted of sliced smoked duck and foie gras on a bed of leaves – simple and yet absolutely delicious.
Not realising the salad contained foie gras, we also ordered the homemade duck foie gras terrine. It was beautifully smooth, with chunks of dried fig running through it to give it a lovely texture, and came served with onion jam and sliced baguette. Without exaggerating, this may have been some of the best foie gras terrine I’ve had recently.
I also sampled a small portion of the hand-cut beef tartare, which had a punchy and pleasant flavour, yet was a little chewy in parts.
The fish of the day was a whole seabass cooked in Provençal style, meaning lots of herbs and fresh vegetables. The fish was beautifully cooked and full of flavour, needing nothing else to accompany it.
The star, however, was easily the braised French veal head. Having been slow-cooked over a number of hours, the veal was incredibly tender, the meat and fat almost merging into one. Although it looked like it might be quite a heavy dish, with the side of herby Gribiche sauce, I found it quite the opposite, as well as wholesome and nourishing.
For dessert, the Valrhona dark chocolate mousse was every bit as rich and decadent as we had hoped, whilst still remaining lovely and light and airy. Although the homemade jams looked pretty in their stack of jars on the countertop, since we are chocolate purists, we both agreed that the mousse was better on its own than with the jam.
Crème brûlée, in my opinion, can often be one of the most disappointing desserts, and yet I can say without a doubt that the lavender flower and pollen crème brûlée at Chez Didier was the best I have ever had. The all-important caramelised layer on top was satisfyingly thick and hard, whilst the crème beneath was unbelievably smooth and creamy, with the lovely addition of crunchy bits of pollen to give it a little something special.
Service at Chez Didier is personal and excellent. Prices aren’t super cheap, with starters between $100 and $200, and mains upwards of $268, yet they are fairly reasonable for the quality and authenticity of the food. It’s a cute little place that’s definitely worth the trip along the Island Line.
Chez Didier Bistro
G/F, 25A Kam Ping Street
Tel: +852 3580 2839