Monday, February 2, 2015

Artsy Brunch at Bibo

We somehow missed our big group meet-up at the relatively new restaurant Bibo a couple months ago, so we decided to make it up by checking it out on our own on the very last day of January.

Without the crest of Relais & Chateaux (for which the restaurant is part of) affixed by the door, I probably would have missed the entrance all together as we walked along Hollywood Road. Though the restaurant was named Bibo after the owner, there's no sign of such at the entrance, just a golden door in a emerald facade and the rather peculiar sign of "Compagnie Generale Francaise de Tramways". Apparently the whole design concept was drawn on this fictional, Parisian company in the 1930s, whatever that means. Through the discreet door and into the narrow staircase down, I was led into the dining area downstairs, featuring the same bold emerald color theme as the facade and a contemporary industrial decor, a mash between Art Deco and Bohemian styles.

The restaurant doubled as an art gallery so contemporary art pieces were displayed in abundance in the dining area. At the time of our visit they were doing an exhibition by Japanese artist Aya Takano, so her stuff filled the entire space. I couldn't recall having eaten in such interesting and eccentric setting before, but I like the relaxed atmosphere and the sight of delightful art pieces. And soon after we settled at our table by the window, flocks of people slowly moved in and the whole restaurant became lively and vibrant, completed with live saxophone performance throughout the afternoon. 

Bibo serves modern French cuisine and on weekends, they ran a prix fixe, 4-course brunch menu with choices in each course, and included free flow of cocktails, which I believed offered tremendous value for money.

After some pastries (croissants, pain au chocolat and pain aux raisins) and bread (sourdough) was served (and they were great, by the way), my first course arrived, which was a pair of oysters with lemon granite and sea urchin. The taste of oysters and Hokkaido sea urchins offered a double blow of mellow umami flavors and was absolutely enjoyable. Even though I personally thought the lemon granitee was a bit too sharp for contrast, it's still a lovely dish to start the afternoon.

We both went for the same dish for our second starter - the L'oeuf a l'homard. There were other equally delectable choices but having eggs for brunch seems the most appropriate. A lightly poached Japanese Taiyouran egg was served on a bed of potato puree, finished with yuzu hollandaise sauce and poached lobster on the side. The potato was not the smoothest type but has an intense flavor, and the touch of yuzu in the hollandaise sauce was magical. The lobster meat was a tad overcooked, or I just didn't get the most succulent, juicy part, but I wasn't going to complain too hard about having lobster and egg for brunch - that's grand enough. 

A wide choices of main course were available - from pasta to fish to meat, and I picked a burger. Not just a regular burger but one with wagyu beef and pan-seared foie gras served on a slightly toasted bun. On the side was a small bowl of fries and homemade ketchup. The beef patty was well seasoned and cooked; same with the foie gras and it's just of the right richness without being too overwhelming. And the homemade ketchup was interesting with almost like a caramel sweetness.

For the last course, I went for the dessert platter which means I got five different kinds of classic French pastries, served in size slightly bigger than typical petit fours. (There's also a choice of crepe suzette, cheese or fruit platter) Among them my favorites were the eclair and the mocha religieuse. We were so stuffed by then but that certainly didn't stop me from finishing them all in no time.

Other than the cool ambiance and great food, the drinks were what set the place apart. The brunch came with free flow of cocktails - and we are not talking about cheap house pours or simple mix, but a series of uniquely crafted drinks. The one I found most interesting was Viva la Revolution, which was a mix of Havana Club, Grand Marnier and Coffee served on the rocks in an Old-Fashioned glass. Who needs regular coffee at the end of the meal when you could have something with a more serious kick? I tried a couple others and they were equally delicious - and wines and fresh juices were also available. I thought the Provence Rose - the lone wine choice on the brunch menu - was just the perfect type of drink for a lazy day like this - with an attractive pink color, scent of strawberries with a racy citrusy finish. 

Glad we found out this awesome place for brunch - I wish I could spend every weekend afternoon just like that, getting a bit artsy and tipsy and into that care-free kind of mood, enjoying excellent food and drinks in a laid-back environment. 

More photos on my Flickr album:

When? January 31 2015
Where? Bibo, 163 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? L'Oeuf a l'Homard, Japanese Taiyouran eggs with Bisque Mashed Potatoes, Yuzu Hollandaise and Lobster
Drinks? 2013 Domaine Ott Les Domaniers Cotes de Provence Rose

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Couldnt get in through the door!!