Le Port Parfumé
Date of review: January 29, 2014 | Reviewed by: Jessica Cheng
Located on Kau U Fong, just below Gough Street and neighbouring some of Hong Kong’s cult favourites, such as The Chairman, Ronin and 85 South, Le Port Parfumé enjoys double height ceilings and an unforced French bistro aesthetic. The outside of the restaurant boasts a rustic and nautical feel with a wooden-cladded exterior and copper signage. Mint green and white tiles cover the floor and the dark, feather-grey walls have a walnut-coloured wainscoting. A chalkboard with the wine list covers one wall, with the others showcasing ornaments of years gone by - many sourced by hand in European flea markets - such as old photographs, empty wine bottles, vintage signs and much more. The restaurant’s ambience is comfortable and the décor evokes the effortless cool of a Parisian bistro. Wooden tables and chairs give the restaurant a homier feel, while being comfortably and efficiently spaced. Overall, the restaurant is timelessly decorated and provides a comfortable environment to enjoy a hearty French meal.
Le Port Parfumé definitely delivers on the food front, with exquisite ingredients executed with finesse and thoughtfulness. We began our meal with the green asparagus and escargot in herb butter. The pesto flavour of the herb butter was delightful and the green asparagus was fresh, crisp and generous in size. The escargot were cooked well and were not overly chewy, and truly enveloped the flavour of the herb butter. Main dishes that were shared at our table included the Josper-grilled wild sea bream and smoked pigeon with figs. Arriving as a whole fish stuffed with lemon and garlic and served with a side of cherry tomatoes and new potatoes, the sea bream was delightfully meaty, infused with a light lemon flavour. Even though the roasted vegetables were a side for the grilled fish, they were cooked to perfection with butter and were stars in their own right. The pigeon is presented beneath a glass dome filled with smoke, which is allowed to dissipate before the meat is carved. The bird was perfectly pink, smoky in flavour and proved to be extremely juicy. The figs were a nice pairing to offset the gamey taste of the pigeon and were a wonderful precursor to dessert, which we decided would be the crème caramel. Fluffy, creamy and dense, this classic dessert was one of the best we have tasted for a while. The slight bitterness of the caramel sauce paired with the creaminess of the custardy and vanilla-infused crème caramel was a wonderful ending to a hearty and filling meal.
The wine and drinks lists at this restaurant indicate that whoever created such lists definitely know their alcohol. The chalkboard listing out a selection of the house wines proves to be more than decent and judging by the bottles that are lined around the restaurant, this is a spot for oenophiles. Wonderful bottles from excellent French vintages are available upon request and even the less expensive bottles are worth a try. Along with the wonderful selection of wine on hand, the restaurant serves up some delicious cocktails and carries some very well known and high-end liquors. One major thing we noticed was that the highly acclaimed and often high-priced Monkey 47 gin served with tonic can be had for just HK$95 (much less than many other bars and restaurants around town). Most of the wines and drinks start at around HK$80 and are definitely worth a try.
Service at the restaurant is pretty decent, although we were not immediately greeted upon arrival and food was quite slow to come out of the kitchen. Our wait between appetisers and main dishes ended up being around 40 minutes, but servers were good about refilling our glasses of water and making sure everything was fine. Every dish was served with an introduction and staff were eager to recommend some of their favoured dishes, a good sign that they truly believed in what they were serving. Overall, service was fine and hopefully in time, the restaurant will be able to speed up the expediting of food from the kitchen.
A meal for two including a glass of wine or a cocktail can come to around HK$500 each. Le Port Parfumé is a good bet if you’re looking for a hearty meal in a Central location.