I have always had a slight aversion to eating a fancy meal inside a shopping mall. In Hong Kong, of course, this can’t always be avoided and indeed many great restaurants can be found in Hong Kong’s shopping centres. As it approaches its 30th birthday, Pacific Place has undergone a significant revamp, paying particular attention to its dining scene. Exit long-standing favourites like Dan Ryan’s (which I am admittedly a little sad about!) and Grappa’s, and enter the likes of Bizou American Brasserie, which replaces the latter.
Bizou is part of Dining Concepts’ collection of restaurants, yet, like ALTO and The Iron Fairies, it isn’t your usual, standard DC restaurant. It is classed as a casual American brasserie with a focus on seasonal ingredients and honest, all-American dishes. Aside from the tables which spill out onto the first floor of the mall, once you actually enter the restaurant, you no longer feel as if you’re dining in a shopping centre. With walnut-wood panelling and tiled walls, marble tables and elegant light fittings, the interiors, designed by acclaimed Neri & Hu Design, are intimate, comfortable and sophisticated.
The space is divided into several areas, including a private dining room and a bar area, with special cocktails crafted by famed mixologist Joseph Boroski.
With the menu put together by consultant chef Magnus Hansson, who is known for his focus on using healthy, organic and seasonal ingredients (and is in fact a vegan himself), it’s no wonder that salads are a main component of the menu. The kitchen is actually led by Head Chef Tod Williams, however, who (thankfully!) cooks many meat-centric dishes too. We started with a pan-roasted beets and avocado salad. This had all the right ideas in place, presented with toasted crushed hazelnuts and a good dollop of horseradish, but I did feel it was a little lacking in seasoning.
The Brussels sprouts and white cabbage salad, on the other hand, was absolute perfection. Tossed with fresh oregano, Parmesan cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds, with a zingy lemony dressing, this took us all by surprise.
The grilled octopus was also beautiful and cooked to perfection, served with contrasting crispy potatoes and a delicious green chilli and mint hummus that I was close to licking off the plate (partly because I couldn’t handle the feeling of my cutlery scraping against the gritty textured plate!).
I am a sucker for gooey melted cheese, so the fried Camembert did not disappoint. The crisp, breaded exterior gave way to beautifully molten, rich cheese, served with crispy fried parsley and sweet cloudberry preserve to smear decadently on toasted sourdough.
I seldom order chicken out, since it’s rarely one of the most exciting dishes on a menu. However, we were recommended to try the organic crispy flat-iron chicken breast and I quickly realised why. Where breast meat can often be dry and boring, this was incredibly juicy and tender, served on a bed of whole grain mustard potato purée with comforting chicken jus. I take back my previous thoughts on ordering chicken out!
There is a whole section of the menu dedicated to steak, so naturally we had to try one. The 12oz aged grass-fed ribeye, topped with balsamic glazed pearl onions and crumbled blue cheese was cooked to a perfect medium-rare and had a lovely flavour.
Sides of mac and cheese and baked purple yams were also notable, the mac satisfyingly cheesy, whilst the yams deliciously buttery and soft. There’s something about eating food that is so incredibly purple that makes me happy!
I wasn’t able to try the coconut chocolate bread pudding, since I’m off chocolate for Lent, but judging by the contented silence around the table, I will definitely be returning for this one!
The butterscotch budino with salted caramel was a bit sweeter than I was expecting, but heavenly smooth, and I adored the slightly salty sesame cookie dipped in the pudding.
My favourite of the desserts I tried was the lemon yoghurt bundt cake, served with Greek yoghurt, lemon syrup and sweet, sticky honeycomb. At first, I thought the cake would be a little dense and dry, but it was nothing of the sort and I couldn’t resist going back for more.
I had heard that Bizou was ludicrously expensive, but I actually think the prices are pretty reasonable for this quality of food and service. Starters and salads are mostly under $150, whilst mains are mostly between $158 and $378, aside from a couple of the larger steaks. There is also a very fairly priced set lunch menu from $148 and three-course set dinner menu for $398 per person. Although most people don’t tend to consider shopping malls as a standalone destination for eating out, I think you should reconsider that decision for Bizou.
Shop 132, L1, Pacific Place
Tel: +852 2871 0775