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Hong Kong's First Authentic Northern France Brasserie Opens in Central


Affordable northern French menu headlined by iconic ‘moules frites’

Hong Kong’s first authentic northern French brasserie has opened on Arbuthnot Road, Central. Brasserie de L’ile is styled after the region’s casual, affordable traditional brasseries – complete with al fresco street-side terrace for watching the world go by.

 

It specialises in the rich culinary heritage of northern France, headlined by the region’s beloved specialty ‘moules frites’ – mussels and French fries.

‘Moules frites’ is quintessential bistro food at its best. Like fish and chips in England and burgers and fries or hot dogs in the United States, it is an iconic comfort food pairing beloved from northern France through neighbouring Belgium to the Netherlands.

Families and groups traditionally share bowls of fries and pots of mussels, using empty shells to crack them open – and Brasserie de L’ile serves such large portions (800g) with “all you can eat” homemade fries at HK$258. Starter portions (400g) without fries are also served at HK$138.

There are many ways to serve the mussels, but the most classic is Mariniere – in a broth of white wine, onion, celery, thyme, laurel and butter.

Also on the menu are two variations from northern France – Normandie, with cider rather than wine, flavoured with tarragon, onion and apple; and Alsacienne, with leek, onion and bacon enriched with cream. More exotic modern variations include Ibérique, incorporating chorizo, saffron, garlic and onion; Roquefort, with the legendary blue cheese in cream sauce; Côte d’Azur, with pastis and cream with parsley and fennel; and Thai, in a green curry coconut milk sauce with eggplant and onion.

Platters of assorted cold cuts (pork rillettes, Bayonne ham, sausage and terrine) and cheese, including farmhouse specialties rarely found in Hong Kong, are traditional accompaniments to a glass of wine, at HK$168.

Main courses also focus on the rich seasonal produce of France – from beef tartare with fries (HK$228) and rib-eye steak with brandy and black pepper sauce and fries (HK$228) to duck leg confit with orange sauce and hash browns (HK$188) and breaded chicken escalope and mushroom sauce with mashed potatoes (HK$148).

Completing the culinary tour of French cooking are desserts (HK$68) of traditional tarte tatin with cream, crème brûlée, profiterolles with hot chocolate sauce and home-style bread pudding with jam and fruit.

 

For Christmas, celebrated on the evening of December 24th as per the tradition, Brasserie de L’ile offers a festive spread that includes pan-fried foie gras with caramelised apple and calvados, roasted turkey with chestnuts, cranberry and orange sauce and for desert a bread pudding with raisins and prunes and brandy custard sauce. The menu also includes a glass of Premiere Bulle Sparkling Wine (HK$550).

At the helm of Brasserie de L’ile is Bruno Gautier, a veteran chef from Brittany who grew up with the cuisine inspiring its menu.

Previously running his own farmhouse kitchen restaurant, he established exceptional seafood and artisan sources for the restaurant’s imported produce – including delicate bouchots mussels from the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel, and local producers of cheese, duck confit, foie gras, chocolate, mustard, gherkins, and even prized Sel de Guérande salt.

Restaurant manager Elliot Luckly added: “Our concept is following the dictionary definition of brasserie, as an unpretentious restaurant or tavern serving drinks with simple and hearty food.

“In Hong Kong, French food is generally considered formal and uptight, high class, very expensive, takes hours, and reserved for special occasions.

“But French brasserie cuisine is casual and affordable. It fits the lifestyle of Hong Kong people because it's unpretentious, affordable, and flexible with relatively quick service.

“Customers can drop by for drinks only, or for a quick bite, or for afternoon snacks and coffee reading books and magazines or working on laptops (enjoying free wifi), or prolonged dinners mingling with friends.”

The name Brasserie de L’ile is a play on words, reminiscent not only of the French northern industrial metropolis of Lille, which is especially famous for moules frites, but also the restaurant’s location on Hong Kong Island.

Contact details:

4 Arbuthnot Road
Central, Hong Kong
tel: +852 2147 2389

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

12pm to 1am – Monday to Saturday

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