When we’re looking for an authentic French meal in this fine food city of ours, French Creations’ restaurant portfolio often springs to mind. From Metropolitain in Sai Ying Pun to Saint-Germain in Happy Valley, FC’s French bistros and brasseries ooze classic charm.

And that’s certainly the case with Café Claudel at Tai Kwun, designed in the style of a 1930s Parisian café. Sitting at a table on the terrace that faces the impressive Parade Ground, which is reminiscent of a European-style grand square, is quite a treat in this concrete jungle of ours. The interior is intimate and quaint, but it’s that terrace that most appeals to us – perfect for watching the world go by.

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We expect Café Claudel to be booked out most nights (location, location, location!) regardless of the quality of the food, but thankfully the dishes we sampled were solid – solid, not mind-blowing, mind you – although on the pricey side considering the portion sizes.

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The mini Peking duck burgers (2 for $128) were tasty two-biters with a nice texture – deep-fried on the outside and tender, meaty shreds within – although the “Peking duck” description was a misnomer (we had expected condiments of spring onion, cucumber and hoisin sauce, not your standard lettuce and tomato on a sesame-seed bun).

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We enjoyed the buttery flavour and creamy consistency of the foie gras terrine ($188), and the whole figs and fig chutney were lovely counterparts to all that rich savouriness. The terrine came with toast, but we preferred slathering it on the warm baguette slices, so be sure to ask for some on the side.

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Our favourite dish was the salmon tartare ($118), with the fried fish skin on the side a particular highlight; this made for great vehicles for dipping. The tartare was pepped up by the addition of lime, wasabi and pops of salmon roe.

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We were a bit disappointed with the hanger steak ($208). The server recommended we order it medium, so we took her on her word, but it arrived looking more medium rare. This would normally not be a problem, but unfortunately our slices were quite tough despite the doneness. The accompanying fries were on point though.

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For dessert, a universal favourite: chocolate fondant ($88). The molten-chocolate core was textbook runny, but the chocolate itself was on the bitter side. The surprising winner of this dish was the humble-looking scoop of homemade vanilla ice with its flecks of vanilla beans (there’s an ice-cream trolley at the terrace area with other tempting flavours on offer).

We’ll be back for coffee and brunch (starting soon!) on the terrace…

Shop 1, G08, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, 2411 1310

This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.

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