Magnus Hansson is the Michelin-starred chef responsible for New York's ABC Kitchen, a restaurant championing sustainable farm-to-table dining and winning accolades for the effort. He also has a lauded reputation as a master baker, pastry chef and chocolatier. And he has brought all these talents and ploughed them into Pacific Place's newest tenant, Bizou. This American brasserie features a seasonal menu of comfort foods that focus on combining the five tongue tastes in every dish. This makes for some surprising ingredient combinations throughout the menu.
We started with the extraordinary combo of pan-roasted beetroot and avocado ($108). The sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts, hints of horseradish and green chilli and pops of mint leaves were an adventure for the tongue. It's always a delight to find something new and exciting in the salad domain.
The crispy coated Camembert ($148) provided one of those lovely oh-my-goodness moments where the eyes are required to close in order to fully savour the flavours. The side of cloudberry preserves was a nice sweet accent but unnecessary to my own enjoyment. The incredibly tender grilled octopus ($158) was nearly as soft as the Camembert and all the more flavourful for it.
The chicken! It's glorious to relive this dish in memory as it's rare that we are seriously wowed by a chicken breast ($188) in a restaurant. But Bizou proved to be the exception, with a juicy and succulent flat-iron version served on a potato purée that our chattering table quieted to devour.
Organic herb-marinated whole roast chicken
The short rib pasta ($188) was nice but forgettable, and while the baked purple yam tower that accompanied our fillet was pretty to look at, it was dry and unfortunately lacked any flavour. The grass-fed beef fillet ($288) itself, however, was a flavoursome bite complemented by an inventive red miso butter. We also enjoyed a tiny dotting of apricot grain mustard marmalade with our steak.
I don't know exactly what the chef did to the side of kale ($58), but that really was a tasty way to superfood it up. For a decadent veggie dish, you cannot go wrong with the cauliflower purée ($68), which resembled a crème brûlée with its shiny glaze of bubbly cheese and delicate underside of pure white veg heaven. A lush Valpolicella was a lovely and predictable accent to a meal filled with plenty of unanticipated flavours.
Aged grass-fed beef fillet
When we moved on to dessert, we found the butterscotch budino ($78) was first-bite heaven, but it was so extremely rich and sweet that the second bite was the cut-off for us. This is definitely a dish to share. The almond apple cake ($78) was a nice, lighter alternative to the robustness of the budino and a good coffee-accompanied finisher.
Almond apple cake with cardamom ice cream
Bizou does well for being a mall eatery, provided you sit inside the dark and moody restaurant or at the bar – go anywhere near the exterior terrace tables and you'll feel like you're in a food court, although the people-watching would be good. So, why Bizou with a 'z'? Maybe it's a hat tip to the American tendency to switch the 's' for a 'z'; so why not a French kiss with an American zee? If this is what an American kiss is like, I'll have another.
We'll be back to try out this beast of a burger:
Shop 132, Level 1, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway,, Admiralty, 2871 0775