This past September heralded the opening of much-anticipated casual bistro Terroir Parisien, Chek Yannick Alleno’s popular concept from Paris – and just one of the many successful restaurants under this three-Michelin-starred chef’s belt. Hong Kong isn’t his first foray into Asia though; his renowned Taipei restaurant, STAY, has been operating since 2011, serving modern fine French by this chef who credits his sauces and new methods of flavour extraction as his greatest inventions.
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Why did you decide on Hong Kong for Terroir Parisien and why has it taken you so long to get you here?
First of all, I love Hong Kong – its energy – the city is so lively! It has a very dynamic food scene as well, and Hong Kongers – apart from been very nice and professional people – are real foodies, so they are knowledgeable when it comes to food and wine. It is very exciting for us to enter such a stimulating environment with our typical French bistro cuisine. And the reason why it took us so long is that we wanted the best location for our restaurant. Being in Central was our goal, and we cannot be happier than settling in the heart of Landmark Prince’s, with easy access from the street too.
What are some of the challenges you see in bringing your concept to Hong Kong?
Our Terroir Parisien restaurants in France feature both products and recipes from the Paris region. Of course, it is easy to bring our recipes and savoir faire to Hong Kong, but it would be totally unconscionable to import all our products from Paris. Therefore we rely on local sourcing, and it is a very satisfying option as Terroir Parisien favours locavorism. Still, hopefully we’ll soon bypass this challenge as we plan to grow Parisian vegetables here in Hong Kong! Our involvement in the promotion of the Parisian region is complete; we have many ideas up our sleeves.
What can customers expect from their dining experience?
Mostly a great moment with us, I hope! We have created this restaurant as a typical Parisian bistro to allow them to experience a little Paris in Hong Kong. We would love them to discover what down-to-earth French bistro food truly is and to enjoy it with the sense of sharing and conviviality the French love. They can expect some fantastic traditional recipes cooked with the best products that we have carefully curated and sourced, some of these sent directly from France and Paris to match the identity, of course. At Terroir Parisien, everything is about sharing affordable, good food in a casual, friendly environment where diners can relax and simply enjoy.
Will you have any Hong Kong–exclusive menu items?
Everything will be exclusive as Hong Kong is our first destination abroad; everything has been adapted to fit the local needs and tastes. Our restaurant is really brand new for you!
Do you have a favourite place to eat here in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is an amazing place if you are looking for fantastic food. Richard Ekkebus just managed to rank Amber as the world’s 24th-best restaurant, and it is well deserved. Umberto Bombana offers fabulous cuisine at Otto e Mezzo, and there are many more. To be frank, I am quite low-key and always happy to have a very simple, down-to-earth snack as well, and for that Hong Kong’s street food is great.
To what do you attribute the consistent maintenance of your three Michelin stars?
We are meticulous, totally devoted and we work hard; it is not fancy to say so, but it is the truth. My teams are fabulous, and no one should ever forget that cuisine is teamwork. We are all very grateful to be able to live our passion and achieve our dreams.
What did the Highest New Entry Award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants mean to you and your work?
Everything that we’ve been living for three years now, since the day we bought the Pavillon Ledoyen in Paris, is truly unbelievable. To receive the three stars only seven months after opening, ranking Alléno Paris in the top 100 last year, to be rewarded with a second three-star accolade at the beginning of the year and now to be the world’s 31st-best restaurant with the fastest progression is just unbelievable! We are so thrilled and again grateful that people love what we do; we put all our energy in pleasing our guests and in trying a new, creative, modern approach to cuisine, and that definitely encourages us to keep on going with the same energy.
Do you feel social media plays an important part in a chef’s life in the current times?
I do! But, trust me, beautiful is not enough – my only concern is taste. Social media is a powerful tool, but our cuisine is what really defines us in the end.
How do you see your restaurants shifting in the global dining scene?
The overall experience is getting more and more important. It is not just a question of food and cosiness anymore; our diners are now interested in finding out what we really want to bring to the table – all the little extras that transform a simple meal into a fabulous moment of sharing and enjoyment. And I believe it is great to be constantly challenged; it helps us to broaden our perimeter and boost our creativity.
Terrior Parisien, Shop M20–M24, M/F, Landmark Prince’s, 10 Chater Road, Central, 2522 9990