Address: Shop B2, G/F., Tower 1, The Zenith, 3 Wanchai Road, Wan Chai 灣仔灣仔道3號尚翹峰1座地舖B2
Telephone: 5465 2000
Serge et le Phoque 是由世界級餐廳Le Chateaubriand 的老闆Frédéric Peneau 及來自巴黎Le Bigarrade 餐廳的廚師Christophe Pelé 開設的新餐廳，最近城中都有不少名人到訪。Serge et le Phoque 的裝潢簡潔又很有格調，食物方面主打簡單，美味，不花巧的法國菜。餐廳每一道菜的賣相都經精心設計，大部分菜式味道不錯，清新開胃，但有些卻牛油味過重，份量亦比較小。整體而言，餐廳很有自己的風格，但食物味道方面還可以有改善！
One of the current global dining trends is fine dining minus the stuffiness. Serge et le Phoque (meaning “Serge and the Seal” in French), the brainchild of a Parisien dream team of chef Frédéric Peneau (previously owner of Le Chateaubriand in Paris) and chef Christophe Pelé (previously of La Bigarrade in Paris), embraces this concept by serving sophisticated French cuisine in a casual, relaxed setting.
Located in the heart of Wanchai, this sleek, sign-less new restaurant forms a stark contrast with its surrounding wet market, butchers and fish mongers. With its whitewashed tiled walls and plywood furniture, the decor of this eatery is minimalistic and calming.
There was no à la carte menu and only a set dinner, priced at $550 for 4 courses (with no service charge), was availabale. This price was not excessive, but it is worth noting that a 6-course dinner at Le Chateaubriand (which has been on the list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants for 5 years) costs less than this. Most of the staff were French, and they were helpful and attentive, and were in fact much friendlier than waiters in Paris in general.
A bowl of boiled edamame beans was placed on our table, and we enjoyed this simple and tasty amuse bouche.
(1) The first course that arrived was Leche de Tigre, Cuttlefish, Raspberry. This dish was bright and refreshing thanks to the tiger’s milk, a Peruvian citrus marinade usually used for ceviches, and the raspberries added a lovely fruity note..
(2) The Hen egg, Corn, Squid Ink, Fish Tempura delivered a lasting impression, with the perfectly poached egg being dressed in an enticing, umami-rich squid ink sauce. The corn paired well with the egg, and the fried fish was deliciously crunchy.
(3) Some rye bread was brought to us after the appetisers had been served, and both the aromatic bread and the cold, salted butter were thoroughly enjoyable.
(4) During the wait between the appetisers and the main courses (which lasted around thirty minutes), the chef sent out two pieces of fried frog’s legs cooked in beurre noisette (burned butter) and lime juice for each of us. These were indulgently tender, and the hint of tartness was transcending.
(5) Our mains finally arrived, but we wished these were as good as the appetisers that preceded. The Pork Belly, Clams, Tarragon was underwhelming – despite having an inch-thick layer of fat, the pork belly was neither smooth nor soft, and the clams tasted a bit stale/ fishy.
(6) The Scallops, Almond Butter, Yuzu Kosho, Matcha Tea was nicely buttery, with a spicy yuzu paste which helped cut through the richness. The sprinkling of matcha powder, however, only added a bit of green colour to the dish and was otherwise not detectable in taste.
(7) The Amadei, Chinese Kale, Razor Clam, Green Apple was acceptable. The half-cooked amadei was admirably springy and tender, and was lifted by a tart, fruity sauce. The razor clams, however, were in want of seasoning, and the Chinese kale was buttery but not particularly tasty.
(8) The restaurant had excellent cheeses, and the Fourme d’Ambert tasted distinctive and utterly alluring.
(9) The Gruyère de Gruyère was sheer deliciousness, with an attractively grainy crust and a mouthwatering flavour.
(10) The Chocolate Mousse, Pitted Gelée was very light and airy, but otherwise did not blow my mind.
(11) The Lemon Cream, Cucumber was smooth and creamy, and I adored the perceptible lemon taste.
(12) The Sri Lanka Pineapple, Curry was the best dessert on the menu. A hint of spices brought out the natural sweetness of the pineapple, and the creamy sauce was in complete harmony with the fruit.
(13) The Daquoise, Vanilla Cream, Nougatine was also delightful. The daquoise was ethereal and had a deliciously strong almond taste, while the vanilla cream was fabulously smooth and creamy.
(14) Lastly, the Baba au Rhum, Mango arrived. It was completely drenched in rum and was rather intense!
It is perhaps the pedigree of the team, the sleek decor and the novel dining concept that have made this restaurant a fashionable haunt in Hong Kong where famous people can be seen. The food, however, while beautifully constructed and presented, was taste-wise slightly uninspiring. Hopefully the kitchen can more effectively translate their brilliant ideas into gorgeous flavours in the future!