Monday, April 17, 2017

Bizou American Brasserie (Hong Kong, CHINA) ★★☆☆☆

The parade of new restaurants never seem to end at Pacific Place, with Dim Sum Library and Hon 10 recently joining the party but first, we have Bizou to check off our list this afternoon.

Bizou is an American brasserie brought to us by Dining Concepts. You can think of it as the American interpretation of a traditional French brasserie. The food menu has been designed by consultant chef Magnus Hansson, a master baker and well traveled chef who is known for his focus on healthy, organic and vegetarian dishes (who happens to be a vegan himself). He's been recently doing a lot of work as partner of Jean Georges and with Bizou, he will re-visit the restaurant a couple of times per year and review the menu periodically. But for the time being, the kitchen is actually led by Head Chef Todd Williams, who's been with DC for a couple of years already. He's just been back after a stint as the opening executive chef for Porterhouse by David Laris.

Bizou have big shoes to fill taking over the space previously occupied by Grappa's Ristorante, a legend which has been around for 26 years but it looks like they are ready for the challenge. One of the nicest thing about Bizou is its intimate and cozy dining space highlighted by all the wooden panels and black leather. It makes us feel right at home.

We asked for a bit more space where we could park our little one's pram next to our table and the staff was kind enough to offer us their private room. That was the kind of service which we didn't expect from a Dining Concepts restaurant (sorry!).

But is the food as comforting as the service? Let's find out.....

Classic Caesar Salad ($108) - The same timeless combination of chopped romaine, parmesan and garlic croutons. That was just OK. Comparing to the same thing we had at ALTO Bar & Grill, another Dining Concept restaurant a couple of months ago, I thought it was a little disappointing especially the chopped romaine lettuce which wasn't particularly crisp. Not so-good start.

Boston Style Crab Cake, Breaded and Pan fried ($188) - Things got back on the right track with this nice piece of pan-fried crab cake.

It was stuffed full with fresh crab meat and almost nothing else (some places used an excessive amount of potato to make it look BIG but not right here) which was nice. The roasted pepper sauce was a nice touch too.

Swedish dill cured gravlax ($138) - This looked really small even for a starter. Underneath the thin slices of salmon gravlax was a toasted brioche and they had mustard dill sauce sprinkled all over them. Average at best.

Organic herb roasted chicken (Half - $184) - Apart from steaks, the selection of main dish was very limited (comparing to starters).

The roasted chicken was generously portioned and the meat was surprisingly tender. I like the intensity of the sauce too giving the chicken very good depth of flavors.

Oven Roasted Norwegian Salmon ($218) - Supposed to be one of the signature dishes here I was told but it was drawing mixed reviews from the four of us.

Personally, I thought the warm cucumber nage was a little bland. The roasted salmon itself was fine but there wasn't enough support from the rest of the ingredients.

Linguini and clams with chili, garlic and white wine butter sauce ($198) - Have I been eating too much salt and pepper lately coz this tasted very bland again. The sauce was a bit buttery as we all expected and it failed to bring out the best from the linguini.

This turns out to be an up-and-down affair with more downs (linguini and a few others) than ups (crab cake, roast chicken). I'm not entirely sure if I'd be back for another visit.

Food Rating: 4/10
Price: $$$
Address: Shop 132, 1/F, Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Closest Metro Station: Admiralty
Tel: +852 2871-0775

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