What’s in this fragrant harbour? On one of the walls, a 1973 magazine cover depicting the historic meeting between President Pompidou and Chairman Mao is a fitting symbol of the French-Chinese ethos of this tucked-away Sheung Wan spot, which focuses on fresh local seafood prepared in a French style. There’s a notable selection of wine and whisky too.
The setting: Randy See, the owner of Kennedy Town’s popular Bistro du Vin, has done it again, creating a cosy, charming open-fronted space that evokes a bustling Parisian bistro. It’s chock-full of an eclectic array of vintage items that Randy picked up on his travels, with more than a few nautical touches (check out the pair of retro wooden water skis).
The menu: The handwritten menu changes daily depending on what’s seasonal and fresh at the market. The majority of dishes are prepared using a petite Josper grill from Spain, imparting charred and smoky flavours to both meat and seafood.
We kicked off with one of the restaurant’s signatures: prawns a la plancha, served sizzling in a cast-iron pan. They were big, juicy, sea-salty prawns – just how we like them – made even tastier with the addition of pesto. Another dish with a Spanish-Basque touch was the baby squid and chorizo omelette; three cheers for the runny centre. We enjoyed the chef’s riff on brandade, a hearty Provençal purée made with salt cod and olive oil. Sitting atop an oversized crouton and crowned with a soft poached egg and a healthy drizzle of hollandaise sauce, it reminded us of a kicked-up version of eggs benedict.
The lavender-scented lamb ribs achieved a delicious harmony between sous-vide tender and grilled char, but it was the sweetest imaginable petits pois that were the unexpected stars of the dish. The slightly grainy butterfly clams were our meal’s only miss – a shame, because their meaty texture and garlicky, spicy broth were both hits.
Cheese vs. pudding: It’s the eternal postprandial debate here at Foodie: should we order cheese or pudding for dessert? In Le Port Parfumé’s case, you can (and should) go ahead and do both by ordering a scoop of the restaurant’s blue cheese gelato. It’s subtle, it’s creamy, it’s sweet – and it definitely needs to be sampled at least once.
The price tag: Very reasonable indeed, especially for such ample portions. Lunch is an especially good value for the money, with lunch set prices at $120 for two courses and $138 for three.
Le Port Parfumé, Shop C, 6–10 Kau U Fong, Sheung Wan, 2824 3898