Sunday, June 6, 2021

Out of Expectation

We never got our chance to visit LPM Hong Kong at H Queen’s in its first two years of existence until our friends D and K suggested we ate there on a weekend evening recently. We have heard mixed comments about this place, ranging from decent food and ambiance, to horrid service and predictable menu, so that got us real curious which one of those would turn up this time. Luckily, we weren’t disappointed. 

Stepping into the restaurant (formerly known as La Petite Maison) with the entrance by the narrow Stanley Street at the backside made you momentarily forgot there’s a pandemic going on with all the social distancing measures still in place. The restaurant was packed even we opted for the early dinner seating including the few alfresco dining tables at the little patio by the street – what’s the charm of sitting outside in such hot weather with the sight of occasional trucks and 7-seater mini-vans driving by was beyond me.  But inside the dining area it was quite tastefully done albeit cliché and crowded – they did go above and beyond to bring the Parisian vibe into this bistro style restaurant. 

A la carte menu was served during the dinner service, with more than a couple dozens of dishes in three sections – hors d'oeuvres, les plats and desserts. Almost as impressive was their wine and drink menu, with good selection of wines including a dozen or so available by glass or carafe. With the nice reminder that we need to gave up our table early for the next round of customers, we quickly got on with our order and the dishes soon came our way.

Before the first dish was served, a few tomatoes and lemon was placed on our table, and the waitstaff suggested that we sliced them up for pre-meal nibbles along with the olive oil from the bottle on our table. A bit eccentric to start our meal with but they actually tasted good with the warm baguette slices that was brought to us. They weren’t being super clear about whether the dishes were meant to be served individually or family-style, but turned out they just put all our dishes in the middle so I suppose they were meant to be shared. 

We began with a few appetizers. The octopus was sliced paper-thin and served with a generous drizzle of lemon oil – couldn’t taste much of the octopus from the thin slice but I love the bouncy texture. The Ratatouille was the most photogenic of all and with good flavor to show, with various colorful vegetables poached in olive oil and served with crumbled feta. Puntarelle salad was the second vegetarian dish I picked – a rare occasion, I know – and it was refreshing, with the slightest hint of bitterness and served with fennels and shaved pecorino cheese for the unique flavor. 

The two hot starter courses were both Provencal classics. The brandade croquettes and calamari fritti were excellent and I reckon they were both perfect summer dishes washing down with a glass of nice white, sitting by the beach, not by the street. 

The main course menu came with a good selection from pasta to seafood to meat and a few meant to be shared and required pre-ordering. We each ordered one dish to share and turned out we could have lived with one or even two less with their more than generous portion. The canard a l’orange was done in the classic way, but using the whole legs instead of duck breasts and roasted in oven with orange glaze coated on top. The meat was firm and tasty with a hint of sweetness. The two pork dishes were great in their own way – I love the fatty texture of the pork loin with the nice grilled crust done with a hint of maple glaze, but the chimichurri sauce served with the thin slices of pork tenderloin was nice too. The grilled lamb cutlets was the one dish I didn’t touch but they did look decent. We went for a side of Gratin Dauphinois to share and it was also delicious, and I love its creamy texture with the bubbling hot cheesy sauce served in the layers of sliced potatoes. 

We were completely stuffed by the time we got through our mains, so we only went for one dessert to share among the four of us. The apple tart was decent, though I thought a more buttery flavor in the puff pastry base would have been nice, and it wouldn’t go wrong with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream served on top. A straight-forward Pouilly-Fume was always good in this kind of setting and in a hot day like this, and worked with just about everything with its crispy flavor and nice acidity. 

We came not knowing what to expect, so this turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Enough to make us ponder when to return to work out the rest of its long menu. Maybe next time when we are craving for French Riviera cuisine. 

When? May 8 2021
Where? LPM Restaurant & Bar, H Queen’s, 23-29 Stanley Street, Central, Hong Kong
Menu Highlights? Grilled Sagabuta Pork
Drink? 2018 Michel Redde et Fils Pouilly Fume “La Moynerie”, Loire Valley

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