Eating out on the first day of the year on the lunar calendar could give you a headache.
Restaurants are mostly closed, and so are wet markets. If some eateries are open, the food choices are few, and you have to contend with additional service charges.
However, I noticed that it’s not as difficult as before to find a good place to eat. In fact, I was so glad to have kickstarted my year with a pleasant French dinner at Belon on Elgin Street in SoHo, Central.
This new outlet has been recommended by friends on a number of occasions. It gained fame by word of mouth.
I couldn’t read the menu because I intentionally left my reading glasses at home. I was totally at the mercy of the young French chef Daniel Calvert. It sometimes pays to put your trust in someone else.
For hors d’oeuvre, Belon had a lovely bunch of little dishes. The fragrant Comté cheese puffs came with a crusty layer and a soft, glutinous filling.
The caviar tarts were puffy, light and fresh. The creamy Le Petit Jésus was much silkier and less salty than the Italian dry-cured Parma ham slices.
The sauce went so well with the oyster tartare. Merguez sausage sandwich with salsa verde was like a toast and the celery root with aged Comté and fresh périgord truffle yielded a refreshing taste.
After such a festive round of starters, we were served cheese tortellini topped with périgord truffle.
Our main dish was a whole chicken, which the waiter told me came from a local farm. It was so well grilled it had an even golden yellow color.
I normally don’t have much expectations when it comes to chicken dishes at western restaurants. In many instances, I found them overcooked.
But at Belon, the poultry was perfectly cooked and the sauce was rich with onions. What a great match!
The entire meal is the best example of comfort food, and it cost less than HK$1,000 per person.
It certainly was worth the visit.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 1.
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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