5 places to dine in celebration of Goût de France

If you’re a lover of French food and fine wines, you’ll want to clear out the evening of 21 March on your schedules. An initiative by revered French chef Alain Ducasse (check out our recent interview with him here) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Goût de France or “Good France” returns for its third iteration this year, with more than 2,000 chefs in five continents around the world presenting special menus to celebrate French gastronomy, introduce regional food products, and promote France as a tourist destination through delicious one-off menus.

With our very own Rech by Alain Ducasse as one of the 15 participating restaurants in Hong Kong, it’s sure to be a chic evening of French-style feasting around town. For your ample dose of foie gras, sweetbreads and premium French cheeses, check out our top five menus to book in celebration of this special event.

For the full list of participating restaurants and menus, visit goodfrance.com.

Post image Related: Q&A: Alain Ducasse, the “godfather” of French cuisine

Restaurant Akrame

One of the standard-bearers for fine French food in our city, award-winning Akrame from the eponymous French chef will be offering a special six-course menu for dinner on 21 March. The conceptual menu progresses through courses starting from “Vegetal” (Jerusalem artichokes, haddock, peanut) to “Shell” (scallop, beetroot) to “Sea” (Tourteaux, cardamom, coral). “Sailor” is a whiff of the ocean with chef Akrame’s take on sea bass with olives and watercress, while “Meat” caps off the meal with pigeon, red quinoa and grapefruit. The dessert, “Sweetlove”, is a whimsical-sounding ‘lychee cloud’ — we can only guess at how the dishes are set to take shape from the Michelin-starred kitchen.

Price: HK$888 plus 10 percent per person, add HK$668 for wine pairing option; reserve here

Restaurant Akrame, 9B Ship Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2528 5068, akrame.com.hk

Brasserie on the Eighth

This stylish venue on the eight floor of the Conrad Hong Kong is enclosed by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lush foliage outside — the perfect escape in the middle of Hong Kong’s bustling Admiralty district. Chef Moser Alfred heads up the kitchen here, serving a range of continental cuisine with a focus on classic French techniques and French produce. The Good France menu includes dishes such as slow-cooked salmon confit with oscietra caviar, seared Hokkaido scallops with cream of lentils, gratinated black cod fillet with Champagne sabayon and walnut mashed potatoes, and tournedos of beef tenderloin with horseradish, onions, bacon and Jerusalem artichokes.

Price: HK$830 plus 10 percent per person (4-course menu), HK$1,080 plus 10 percent per person (6-course menu); add HK$1,600 for Perrier-Jouet Champagne pairing

Brasserie on the Eighth, 8/F, Conrad, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong, +852 2521 3838, conradhotels3.hilton.com 

Rech by Alain Ducasse

With Mr. Alain Ducasse himself leading the culinary initiative, what better place to celebrate the occasion than his newly opened restaurant at the InterContinental? Overlooking Victoria Harbour, the temple to seafood highlights fresh ocean produce in classic French preparations, executed by head chef Stéphane Gortina, who previously headed up the kitchen at SPOON by Alain Ducasse.

Diners popping in for Goût de France will be treated to a five-course menu that spans land and sea, starting with marinated sardines with carrot-coriander sauce, and soft and crunchy quinoa with seasonal vegetables in an herb pesto. Mains include a tender cod fillet with courgettes and basil, and roasted ‘Jaune des Landes’ chicken with green asparagus and morels. A selection of premium French cheeses is a fitting end to the meal, followed by homemade crunchy praline from Rech’s pastry chef Francois Delaire.

Price: HK$888 plus 10 percent per person, add HK$588 for wine pairing option

Rech by Alain Ducasse, InterContinental Hong Kong, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, hongkong-ic@intercontinental.com

Restaurant Petrus

Step into the sophisticated dining room at Restaurant Petrus for unbeatable views of the harbour paired with some of the city’s best contemporary French cuisine from chef de cuisine Richard Chaneton. While chef Richard is known for marrying Asian elements into French dishes, this year’s Good France menu is a pure celebration of classic flavour combinations, from roasted frog legs with parsley and Lautrec pink garlic, to turbot meunière with capers and a savoy cabbage puree. Pan-seared veal sweetbread is paired with a fennel puree in a yellow wine emulsion, while roasted Challans duck breast shines with a gastrique sauce of orange and Grand Marnier. Top off the meal with a parsnip crème brûlée made with Madagascar vanilla and served with speculoos ice cream.

Price: HK$1,280 plus 10 percent per person; reserve online here

Restaurant Petrus, 56/F, Island Shangri-La, Supreme Court Road, Admiralty, Hong Kong, +852 2820 8590, shangri-la.com

A.O.C. Eat & Drink 

This little gem of a restaurant hidden behind the Wan Chai market is headed up by chef Stéphane Guillas, whose creative yet humble cooking continues to inspire us each time we visit. For the special occasion, chef Stéphane presents a one-off menu which kicks off with a light mackerel escabeche with homemade pickles. A 63-degree egg cooked with prawns, asparagus and mushrooms in hollandaise is a prelude to the main event, breast of guinea fowl wrapped in a buckwheat crepe with foie gras, green peas and a luxurious black currant sauce. Cap off the night with Breton shortbread and vanilla Chantilly cream, and of course, an excellent dessert wine from the A.O.C. cellar.

Price: HK$398 per person

A.O.C., 15 McGregor Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2479 6833, facebook.com/aoceatanddrink