Chef Philippe Orrico certainly has been busy this year. Not long after helping to open Tartine in Central, the Michelin-starred chef (also behind Upper Modern Bistro and ON Dining) opened Picnic on Forbes, bringing a brand new and exciting concept to Kennedy Town.
The restaurant is beautiful, with high ceilings, bare concrete floors, light wood furnishings and statement green tiled pillars. It is instantly welcoming and exudes a comfortable and friendly feel.
Everyone loves picnics. Yet, more often than not, having a picnic involves a fair amount of hassle, not to mention the fact that finding a pleasant grassy patch on which to picnic isn’t always easy in Hong Kong. What Picnic on Forbes offers, therefore, is the ability to have a picnic whilst seated in a restaurant. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s actually a very fun concept.
Start the night with a cocktail from renowned bartender Giancarlo Mancino’s list of interesting concoctions, such as the ‘Mojito with no leaves’. We found this a little too sweet, but the idea was pretty cool.
Obviously the highlight of the food menu is the picnic baskets, which can actually also be ordered to take away with a surcharge of $80 that gets refunded if you return the basket. We went for the Picnic Complete, which offered more than enough for two of us.
They have literally thought of everything here, starting with chilled green pea soup served in little coffee cups. To name but a few little delights from the basket, you’ll get quinoa salad, escabeche, pink radishes with anchoiade, pork rillettes, marinated olives, foie gras, candied hazelnuts, as well as a selection of cold cuts and French cheese, served with freshly baked crusty French bread. Some items were a little on the bland side and our crisps were a touch soggy, but I adored the rillettes and of course the cheese. If you’ve been to Chef Philippe’s other restaurants, you’ll know how good the cheese is. It is selected by cheese expert Jeremy Evrard, and I wouldn’t be exaggerating when I say it’s the best cheese in Hong Kong.
The Picnic Complete usually includes roast chicken, yet on the night we visited they were lacking in chickens, so we were served a delicious and tender slow-cooked beef cheek, with a side of some of the best truffle mash I have ever had the joy to taste.
Just in case we hadn’t had enough cheese with our picnic basket, we were then presented with another cheese board, with perhaps even better choices than the first set. What I like about Jeremy’s cheese selection is that he often has types of cheese that you have never even have heard of (and can subsequently never remember the names of!) that sometimes come from small producers in the middle of nowhere that each carry their own touching story.
Dessert came as another little picnic basket and included little glass pots of things like raspberry panna cotta, chocolate mousse, melon soup, as well as cookies, toffee and freeze-dried raspberry marshmallows. The chocolate mousse was our favourite, whilst others left split opinions – you know how I feel about fruit and chocolate…
Service at Picnic on Forbes was very good, with staff who seem like they genuinely care. Prices are obviously cheaper than Chef Philippe’s more fine dining establishments, but you’ll still pay $688 for the Picnic Complete. It’s a really fun concept that would work just as well for a girlie catch-up as it would for a date night. I don’t know if the novelty might one day wear off, but I couldn’t see myself getting bored of the adorable little picnic baskets!
Picnic on Forbes
G/F, 38 Forbes Street
Tel: +852 2855 0810