Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Belon, Elgin Street, Central


I just realized that Belon (41 Elgin Street, Central, Hong Kong, tel : +852 2152 2872) is run by the Black Sheep Restaurants group which has more than a dozen joints under their portfolio. My only other experience in their group was Motorino


Belon's French. They call themselves neo-Parisian. Classy yet contemporary. Evidenced also by an almost old-ish schooled decor with a clean marble and leather. Not that I'm an expert in interior decor. It had a sort of retro charm that doesn't smell antiquated. That's what it was. The chef's a Daniel Calvert who has a decade of experience working in Michelin starred restaurants. Ok......


They serve Estrella Damm Inedit here. Not that I expected it but I did appreciate that. Light, floral and easy drinking stuff.


I think these were gougères. Filled with 48 month aged Comte cheese. These cheese puffs were pretty damned good.


Bread's chargeable here. Belon serves a naturally leavened sourdough made in house. They tasted very fresh if fresh was the suitable word for a fermented product. Sourdough aroma was very nice and the texture was the pairing of a crispy crust with a chewy yet airy interior that tasted like it was steamed. Great with that Channel Island butter.


There's saucisson from the black pigs of Bigorre - from what I found out, also known as Le Noir de Bigorre. Those black pigs were apparently once on the verge of extinction but are now bred for high quality meat for sausages. It's nice, but I'm not sure what I paid for there.


They have their interpretation of the classic Niçoise salad with sliced shima aji and some dill. This is a half portion that they had thoughtfully split. That anchovy dressing and quantity they used all spoke of control. It wasn't too much and all the ingredients are of good quality. I liked it better than I thought I would.


Foie gras torchon great pairing with the cherries. This came with more of their house made sourdough which made me happy. 


With all the foreplay out of the way, we finally arrived at their pigeon pithivier. The very thing we were looking forward to. Dusky medium rare pigeon layered with spinach and mushrooms in a buttery puff pastry crust. Plus a fig and Amaretto pigeon jus reduction. To keep it respectfully short - this was delicious. Really expensive too. 


We were convinced by the staff that their mille crepe with Périgord black truffle was good. To give them credit, this was a very nice mille crepe. Possibly one of the best I've had with kickass Piedmont hazelnut cream. But we were not getting any of the truffle. Obviously, quite a bit of those thinly sliced fungus had been used - to no effect. 


As a self styled bistro, I smell pretentious-ness. Sure the food was nice, the staff friendly and the service very good. But not to kid ourselves, it's not a bistro. It's a finer dining establishment that's not quite fine dining and it's not bistro prices.

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