A French café-restaurant belonging to the family of Piccolo Concepts, Bistro du Vin needs no introduction; if you've strolled around the New Praya area of Kennedy Town, chances are you've laid eyes on this rustic, enchanting spot that strives to provide an authentic French (or as authentic as gets in Hong Kong, anyway) dining experience in Kennedy Town. With a new lunch menu on the table and continual work behind the scenes to keep the kitchen (and diners) on their toes and on rotation, we sat down to sample some of the new additions, as well as old reliable favourites.
From the second we stepped into the bistro, it was immediately apparent that it's a product of deliberate decision and care. Owner Randy See enjoys taking the reigns at his restaurants, from the concepts, to the menus, all the way down to the minute decor details – he sourced the interior accessories of the bistro and various knick-knacks from flea markets and antique shops in France during his travels to infuse the restaurant with a bona fide, traditional flair. Not of a culinary background (but certainly a wine enthusiast), Randy believes in working with cooks, not chefs, and keeping to strict tried-and-true recipes in the kitchen to maintain consistent high quality when it comes to flavour and execution.
Cucumber and fresh shrimp rolls
Pigeon Rossini en sous vide with port jus
Soy-glazed Ibérico pork pluma with haricot verts
Pink tiramisu with house-made madeleines
We visited on a Thursday around lunchtime and were surprised to find the laid-back restaurant packed with patrons within 10 minutes of our arrival, despite its location in residential Kennedy Town. From the new lunch menu, we sampled the cucumber and fresh shrimp rolls to start. With seafood brought in from the Aberdeen markets every day, owner Randy See maintains a good relationship with long-time local suppliers to guarantee fresh produce and ingredients for his restaurants, which really is the only way to go if you want to create quality cuisine. The cucumber rolls were well-intentioned, refreshing light bites with a tasty filling, but we thought the bread too soft and spongy for our tastes.
Bistro du Vin's pigeon Rossini with port jus ($220), prepared sous vide for 16 hours, is one of their signature dishes and one that we've had the pleasure of trying on a separate occasion. And it still holds up as an incredibly well-executed dish. Locally sourced, the pigeons are stuffed with a filling of foie gras and are pan-fried before serving to achieve a wonderfully browned crust. Paired with the port jus, it's a tender and juicy delicacy.
We finished off the mains with soy-glazed Ibérico pork pluma with truffle mash and haricot verts ($230). Succulent and delicate, this special cut of pork had a nutty undertone and melted on our tongues. The truffle mash and the plating itself weren't much to look at, but don't judge a book by its cover, because the mouth-watering flavours spoke for themselves. This was a deliciously successful pairing, and we recommend ordering it when you visit.
Warm out of the oven, Bistro du Vin's madeleines ($80) are the stuff of dreams: having won our Food War madeleine edition (where we sampled them from Bistro's sister restaurant, Le Port Parfumé), we weren't disappointed when they arrived on a wooden slab, served with pink tiramisu ($75). With a beautiful shell shape on the front and browned edges, these soft treats are worth the visit alone. Rich in flavour and buttery (but not oily), these madeleines served well as a scooping vessel for the decadent tiramisu. From crunchy to creamy to airy, the tiramisu had a wonderful variety of textures and flavours to keep our taste buds busy; it was sweet and fruity but not overwhelmingly so.
With their brand-new (and affordable) two- and three-course lunch sets, priced at $118/$138 (Monday–Friday) and $138/$158 (Saturday–Sunday), Bistro du Vin has cemented itself as a solid dining destination in K Town. Randy's team provide outstanding flavours for great value, and we get to lose ourselves for an hour and pretend like we're having a casual, delectable meal in rural France.
1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, 2824 3010