If you’re looking for French food in Hong Kong, you are pretty spoilt for choice. More often than not, however, you end up eating too much and paying far too much for good French cuisine. Figaro, a cosy little French “wine workshop and kitchen” just off Hollywood Road, has come to change this.
Figaro opened towards the end of last year as more of a French tapas bar with a strong focus on wine and charcuterie. In March this year, however, British chef Jon Irwin arrived, adding his interpretation of classic French dishes to the menu. Although of course everyone in Hong Kong loves sharing food and there are indeed shareable dishes at Figaro, a lot of the menu is now designed more as individual portions that are a decent size and affordable.
The space is tucked away on Shin Hing Street – the quaint little set of steps that run between Hollywood Road and Gough Street. Downstairs is the bar area, whilst upstairs is the actual restaurant, although, given the casual vibe here, you can dine in either area. Quirky touches on the walls such as animal illustrations and vintage ticket booths give it character, whilst a wine cellar that houses over 2,000 bottles lets you know what this place is all about. Unfortunately, since I didn’t want to fall asleep back in the office after lunch, I had to refrain from trying any wine!
We started with the langoustine tartare with cucumber consommé. Not only was the presentation absolutely stunning, but the flavours were bold yet light and refreshing, perfect for a hot summer’s day.
The Black Angus beef with black garlic gnocchi had lovely earthy flavours and the beef itself was wonderfully tender. The tomato and ginger emulsion, however, I felt was a little too ‘fine dining’ for the setting and seemed a little over the top.
I was somewhat apprehensive about the fennel mousse that followed, having never had fennel as a dessert before. On its own, it was a little overwhelming, yet eaten together with the strawberry coulis, the fresh strawberries, the basil ice and the black olive cacao, the flavours were nicely balanced and created a lovely and refreshing dessert that was, again, perfect for summer.
I visited Figaro at lunchtime and unfortunately we were the only customers. That said, however, the restaurant has only just started opening for lunch (with set menus from $150), and the main focus remains on dinner and happy hour ($35 for beer; $50 for wine or cocktails). The a la carte menu is surprisingly good value for the presentation and quality of the food – starters are around $100 and mains around $150. It’s a cute, friendly spot that would be perfect for a cosy date night or a group catch up that won’t break the bank.
2 Shin Hing Street
Tel: +852 2757 1777
Closed on Mondays