After years of eating somewhat average meals in Hong Kong, it's so great to see the F&B standard here rising to international levels, and A.O.C. Eat & Drink is a gem that you won't want to miss out on
Whether it’s cheap and cheerful street food, long weekend hotel brunches or the best fine dining restaurants in town, we’re all about great food here at Honeycombers Hong Kong. Recently, we went over to Wan Chai to discover A.O.C. Eat & Drink, a little French restaurant with a load of heart. Find out why it was love at first glass of Champagne.
A.O.C. Eat & Drink
It’s not that often in Hong Kong that you stumble on a restaurant that completely blows your mind, yet you’ve never heard of. A.O.C. Eat & Drink was that very restaurant for me, a complete curve ball that I contemplated keeping to myself (as it’s kind of tiny, and I don’t ever want to miss out on getting a table in the future!) However, this intimate little French gem in Wan Chai made me a very happy person, so it’s only fair to share the love.
If you are wondering about that mouthful of a name, the term A.O.C. – appellation d’origine contrôlée – actually refers to the French designation of certain geographic indications for wine, cheese, dairy and agricultural products, which is based on the concept of terroir: geographic environment, traditional practices, artisan craftsmanship and so on.
Yet, rather than offering a cloistered over-the-top fine dining atmosphere, A.O.C. Eat & Drink actually creates simple dishes that they refer to as French street food, and the jazzy French soundtrack accompanied by lovely wait staff, just add to this relaxed and inviting vibe.
So, what’s the food like?
The food is quite simply – exquisite, and while you may like to order the wine suggestions from the menu, I quite happily indulged in a Champagne Blanc de Blancs for every course.
We started with the Homemade Marinated Salmon and Blinis, which I really wasn’t expecting much from, but the freshness of the salmon and the love that obviously went into the blinis was a great start to the meal, after a very long day at work.
Next up was the Tuna Tartare with mango, green apple and coriander. I’ve never had tuna tartare like this before, but the mix of the tender fish with the crunch of the apple and zest of the mango meant that we polished it off in no time (even though my dining companion doesn’t usually like tuna tartare – enough said.)
What followed was dish after dish of delights. The Pissaladière, Provence-Style Pizza, Sardine, Confit Onion, Goat Cheese with Mint Condiment was divine, with the fresh sardines and goat cheese pairing adding a bit of Moroccan flair.
While I opted for the Grilled Cod, Parmesan and Breadcrumb Crust, Spinach, Confit Lemon and Mushroom (heaven!), I spent a lot of time stealing the chickpeas and tabbouleh salad from my companion’s Grilled French Lamb Cutlet & Confit Lamb Shoulder. Apparently, both of the lamb dishes tasted phenomenal, and the fact that we both completely cleared our plates is a testament to Chef Stéphane Guillas’ skills in the kitchen.
Even though we were both well and truly stuffed, our love for cheese saw us make easy work of the Cheese Platter from Les Frères Marchand, before we rolled out the door – two very happy punters.
If you go to A.O.C. Eat & Drink, I guarantee that you will have some of the best food you’ve had in Hong Kong; the perfect remedy for a taxing day at the office.
A.O.C. Eat & Drink, G/F, 15 McGregor Street, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, p. 2479 6833, 灣仔麥加力歌街15號地下