The beast within: We were intrigued; it’s not every day that a restaurant opens to complement a wine shop, but the owner of year old wine retailer, Winebeast, says it was always part of the plan. Just around the corner from this boutique wine shop, sits the brand new bistro down a tiny little street adjacent to the Wanchai street market. It’s a sweet, tiny little joint with only a few small tables and bar-style seating; we anticipate it will be tricky to get a table in the future at this casually cool hot spot.
The peeps: The wine shop is made up of bottles from family vineyards with stories behind their wines, while the bistro boasts a husband and wife team as chef and sommelier respectively. Johan Ducroquet is a French-trained chef with oodles of Michelin-starred experience, his wife Christina, originally from Ecuador, oozes wine knowledge and charisma as she describes and recommends accompaniments to the delicious, rustic cuisine.
The wines: With the bulk of the wines being from the French terroir, they also have a nice little assortment of Spanish and Italian wines, all hand-picked by the owner through his personal dealings with the vineyards themselves. A great deal of organic wines make up the list and one of the coolest elements of the whole experience here is the absence of mark up from the shop to the bistro. If a bottle of wine in Winebeast is $138, that same bottle in the bistro is also $138.
The eats: Modern French freshly made in-house each dish comes with a suggested wine pairing and they offer half portions of some of the menu items so you can have just a nibble if you’re not in for a full meal. We first sampled the incredibly smooth and creamy homemade pork rillettes ($79/$133), delightful charcuterie selection ($88/$169) and moreish collection of artisanal cheeses ($88/$169) paired with a light and crisp Rhone Valley Costières-de-Nîmes Mourgues du Grès ‘Les Galets Dorés’ wine. The inventive flavours meshed together in the chicken croquettes and Burgundy snails ($116) served with a garlic parsley drizzle made for an inspired taste while the red tuna and crab duo with green apple and mango ($169) was a powerful mixture of tartness and oceanic flair. The pork tenderloin in a light jus with roast potato ($196) was perfectly cooked and our favourite dish of the night may just have been the beef cheek confit ($158) that offered a crunchy outer shell of sweetness before revealing a tender and juicy inner core atop a bed of crunchy vegetables that completed the dish. A final sweet treat of bread pudding with caramelized brioche, salted butter caramel and a hint of vanilla ice cream ($68) tasted as good as it sounds and became the new favourite dish of the night. They also offer a four-course dinner tasting menu for those who don’t like having to decide on their dishes or their wines at $548 with a wine pairing and $448 without. We’ll be back to try out the ‘high wine’ menu, which promises an afternoon of nibbles, dessert and wine. Who needs high tea when you’ve got high wine!
The end result: A charming and utterly adorable bistro with unpretentious prices and people.
15 McGregor Street, Wanchai, 2479 6833