Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Sunday Brunch in Poho

We were in the Poho neighborhood for an outdoor concert on Sunday afternoon in mid-June, and before that, we stopped by Upper Modern Bistro just a couple blocks away for their weekend brunch. We have not been back there for a while – not so much because of our not-so-pleasant experience last time but more because we often opted for On Dining in Central under the same management – but I am interested to see how they have kept up after losing their lone Michelin star last year.

Soon enough all these tables were filled with people
We walked in slightly after noon for our reservation. There were quite a few empty tables around when we arrived, but they were absolutely packed by the time we were done with our meal, even with a few people waiting to get in. I was glad to see they are doing well day in and day out. For weekends they ran a small a la carte menu plus the brunch set menu, which included small dishes of appetizers to share at the table, then each got to choose their own main course. They called ours "Father’s Day Brunch Menu", but I don’t know whether it’s any different from the one they offer usually every week.

Crispy Squid with Seasame and Lime Dip
Left to right: White Asparagus, Smoked Salmon with Raspberry Yogurt Sauce; Mini Truffled Croque Monsieur; Homemade Foie Gras Terrine, Red Onion Pickles and Caramelized Apple Puree
As the bottle of wine was popped open – a lovely, refreshing Alsace by the way – the appetizer dishes were brought to us in order, some in individual portion and some to share, all laid in front of us in the middle of our table. They were almost like French-style dim-sums, served in small plates and in cute presentations, and all of them were delicious. I particularly like the fresh taste of scallop carpaccio sandwiched in thin rounds of Japanese daikon and splashed with a sweet pear vinaigrette. Another small plate of smoked salmon paired with a trimmed white asparagus stalk and raspberry yogurt sauce followed the same trait of cold and refreshing summer appetizer with a hint of sweetness. And the “croque monsieur” was served in bite-sized portion with truffled cheese in the middle.

Roast 88-days Free Range Chicken, Pearl Barley Risotto, Black Truffle Sauce
There were a choice of six main courses – from the lighter fares such as egg benedict or a vegetarian option, to something more substantial like the two meat dishes that we ordered – the pork belly and chicken. Okay, I didn’t get the whole roast chicken – not even half really – but it’s still a generous serving with the boneless thigh cooked sous-vide then roast in the oven, finish with the pearl barley risotto with a good bite and a rich and aromatic mushroom-truffle sauce.  It was a simple dish but well-executed.

Pastries Selection
The brunch menu even came with dessert, not one but a few mini cakes served on a platter to share. I quite liked the peach sorbet, the mini berries basket with meringues and the chocolate eclairs, while the others were pretty average, to be honest. But still made a good ending for a comfortable meal in this adorable neighborhood, which I think is what this restaurant is all about. "Light, Fresh and Modern", just as it was described on their website.

When? June 19 2016
Where? Upper Modern Bistro, G/F, 6-14  Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Roasted 88-day Free Range Chicken, Pearl Barley Risotto, Black Truffle Sauce
Drinks? 2014 Domaine Trimbach Pinot Blanc, Alsace


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