• Jenni Lien

Terroir Parisien | Yannick Alleno's widely anticipated bistro is now open in Prince's Buildi


There are no shortage of French restaurants in Hong Kong, but the newest one comes with an interesting back story. Rumours of 3-star Michelin chef Yannick Alleno opening a restaurant in Hong Kong started back in 2006. But Michelin-starred chefs demand excellence and it took some time to find the right partner, location, and timing. That said, that’s all sorted now and his casual bistro, Terroir Parisien (with the Epicurean Group), has just opened in the Landmark Prince’s Building.

Hong Kong has a thing about F&B spots in malls, and Terroir Parisien joins top ranked restaurants such as Joel Robuchon and bars like Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour in the Landmark complex. You’ll know it from the cute Paris metro-like front.

But first things first, how does one pronounce terroir correctly?

terroir [ter-wahr; French ter-war]

After some research, it turns out that terroir is a French word (obviously) but one that has been adopted into the English language as is. There is no direct translation, but it means “the environmental conditions, especially soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and that give a wine its unique flavor and aroma” (www.dictionary.com). Basically, Terroir Parisien aims to capture the unique essence of Paris and bring it to Hong Kong via a new bistro.

To understand why a 3-star Michelin chef would want to open a casual, 130 seat French bistro, take a look at his background. Chef Alleno grew up humbly, and started working in bistros when he was 15. What he appreciated about them were that they were neutral places where people from all walks of life could enjoy the same food. Now armed with accolades, he remains down-to-earth and wants to spread bistro culture around the world.

Recently, we had the opportunity to sample a few dishes from the new menu.

Starters


The Charcuteries Artisanales platter ($248) is great for sharing. It presents a variety of the restaurant’s terrines and pates. The pork and chicken liver pate with morels and pig snout jelly terrine with shallots were our favourites for being fresh and full of rich, fatty flavour.


French mustard is one of my favourite sauces. Usually I eat it with grilled meat or french fries, but it was also a wonderful accompaniment to a warm artichoke salad ($135). The dressing wasn’t too strong, and the artichokes were a melt-in-your-mouth texture.


Of course escargot with garlic and butter is a French staple. At Terroir Parisien, they come baked in mushroom caps ($158), a nice twist on the classic. The sauce disappeared a bit quickly which was unfortunate; we would have loved a bit more of it to mop up with our bread.

Mains


The mains were all done really nicely. While the black pudding ($248) was served atop butter-laden mashed potatoes, the whole dish managed to be rich and savoury without overwhelming. Comfort food at its finest.


Another comforting dish was the “Pilafaela” ($288), a French-style pilaf/paella-style dish that has been created exclusively for the Hong Kong market. It was light yet very fragrant; the Japanese rice was cooked to a perfect chew, infused with a gingery broth, and topped with a generous serving of fresh sea scallops.

Desserts


There are a whopping seven desserts on the menu, ranging from a refreshing lemon sorbet and cream served inside a halved lemon to a flourless tarte au chocolat. All of the desserts we tried were good, but our favourites were the Saint-Honore ($88), with the freshest cream and custard, and the Brioche “Nanterre” ($98), with the bread soaked in a vanilla milk and the outer layer bruleed.


Verdict

Terroir Parisien is now open for lunch, dinner and happy hour, and afternoon tea will follow shortly. It succeeds as being a welcoming spot for everyone, though with its location in Price’s building, it’s sure to draw at least a heavy office crowd during the week. The vibe is unpretentious (though not romantic), and prices are reasonable for the quality of the food.

Shop M20-M24, M/F, Prince's Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong, Central, 2522 9990

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