Cosy up with your beau for a date night to remember.
The baby sitter’s booked and the calendar’s cleared – now all you need is the perfect date night address. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back evening or a grand affair, a trip to one of these intimate restaurants and bars will ensure a night to remember.
Oenophiles with an adventurous palette will feel right at home inside 12,000 Francs. The charming 50-seat bistro moved to Elgin Street at the end of 2016, bringing with it noteworthy varieties from boutique vineyards and a drool-worthy east-meets-west menu from Chef Conor Beach, formerly of TRi and Bibo.
You might notice a subtle French vibe at this little bistro, and that is not a coincidence. The name 12,000 France is a nod to Napoleon Bonaparte, specifically the cash prize that he offered his soldiers as an incentive to devise methods of preserving food.
The menu at 12,000 Francs follows suit, harnessing preservation techniques of all kinds – from salting and curing to smoking and fermentation – all while using locally sourced ingredients from an organic farm in Tuen Mun. The result? A lineup of complex and adventurous dishes that will sate cravings and spark conversations.
43 A Elgin Street, Elgin Building, Central, 2529-3100, www.12000francs.com.hk
Le Bistro WinebeastA hidden gem in Wan Chai, Le Bistro Winebeast is one of the most authentic French bistros in town. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a family-run restaurant – husband, Chef Johan Ducroquet, looks after the French menu while wife, sommelier Cristina Carranco Ducroquet, keeps the wine flowing.
The warm and welcoming space is enhanced by the traditional French fare, with signatures such as foie gras with black truffle, terrine, duck confit and roasted guinea fowl. As expected, the bistro specializes in French wine, featuring more than 600 wines at the eponymous WineBeast wine store, where guests are welcome to stop in and purchase wine to BYOB with no corkage fee.
G-1/F, Tai Yip Building, 141 Thomson Road, Wan Chai, 2782-6689, www.wine-beast.com
Tucked away on Duddell Street under the guise of Fox Umbrellas shop, Foxglove offers the best of both worlds – a classy jazz bar and decadent French dinners. Kick things off with a tipple from the old-world martini cart that’s channeling an Orient Express railway experience, before moving on to a mix of classic French bites, such as mussels Marinière, French onion soup, stuffed quail, rabbit ragout, coq au vin.
Ladies and gents alike will appreciate the dashing 1950s-inspired surrounds. The main room recalls a vintage airplane cabin – complete with leather booths, antique furniture and even a replica 1940s Gloster jet engine – and there are several secret hideouts scattered about the restaurant that are worth seeking out. There might be live jazz every night, but the menu completely changes every three or four months – transporting diners around the world with new flavours and presentations.
18 Ice House Street or 6 Duddell Street, Central, 2116-8949, foxglovehk.com
VEA Restaurant & Lounge
Two great Hong Kong talents come together at VEA – short for Vicky et Antonio Lai. Having just won his first Michelin star in November, Chef Vicky Cheng has developed a French-Chinese menu that’s designed to perfectly pair with specially crafted cocktails from Antonio Lai, who you might know from Quinary, Ori-Gin and The Envoy.
Spring for the ultra-sophisticated tasting menu in the main dining room or enjoy an epic cocktail experience just downstairs. From inventive bar bites to fanciful cocktails – picture the signature Cleopatra Formosa served in a smoking golden pineapple – this will be a date night to remember.
29-30/F, The Wellington, 198 Wellington Street, Central, www.vea.hk
Esteemed Swedish chef and restaurateur Björn Frantzén just touched down in Hong Kong, opening an intimate restaurant in PoHo. His first restaurant outside of Sweden takes the form of a modern bistro, keeping things cosy with just 36 seats in minimalistic surrounds and a soothing neutral colour palette.
The menu serves up a mix of Asian and Nordic influences, such as “Swedish sushi” served with foie gras, poached oysters, Norwegian salmon sashimi, roasted Swedish pork belly, and sticky beetroot for dessert. Sit at the counter by the open kitchen or snag a window seat to watch the stylish passersby wander through Tai Ping Shan. No matter where you sit, you’re guaranteed a gastronomical adventure to remember.
11 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan, 2559 8508, www.frantzenskitchen.com
ARCANEA contemporary European restaurant featuring a romantic outdoor terrace, ARCANE feels like a home away from home in Hong Kong. Award-winning chef Shane Osborn headed up Pied-a-Terre in London before moving to Hong Kong, where he has stayed true to his passion for seasonal, local and traceable ingredients. Osborn may stock a premium pantry, but he aims to create a fine dining experience without all the European pomp and pageantry.
Instead of painstakingly planned, hours-long set menus, ARCANE offers a more casual and laid-back approach, best experienced from a perch at the Kitchen Counter where you can watch the action. No matter how many times you visit, the menu keeps you guessing, thanks to an ever-changing lineup of superlative meats, al dente pastas, and next-level comfort foods.
3/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, 27280178, www.arcane.hk