|VOLUME XII No. 78||W E D N E S D A Y||April 28, 2010|
RESTAURANTS OF HONGKONG ...
AND THE WORST !
|Name of Restaurant||The French Window|
|Address of Restaurant||Room 3101, Podium Level 3, IFC Mall, Central, Hongkong|
|Date of Visit||Thursday, April 15, 2010|
|Attentiveness to Customers’ Needs||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Product Expertise of Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Speed of Service||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Cleanliness of Uniform and Serving Staff||Excellent||Acceptable||Poor|
|Storage of Wine||Good||Poor||Unknown|
|Expertise of Sommelier||Excellent||Acceptable||None|
|Total Cost of Meal|
|Moderately Expensive||Very Reasonably Priced|
|Name of Director of Food and Beverage||Mr Romain Chan|
|Name of Executive Chef||Mr Michaer Le Calvez|
There is absolutely nothing wrong with The French Window – provided somebody replaces the existing chef, post-haste.
This restaurant badly needs a decent European chef because Mr Mickaer Le Chalvez is approaching, if he has not yet totally become, a fat deadbeat of a cook.
This is the opinion of TARGET (泰達財經) after visiting this restaurant.
TARGET visited The French Window on Thursday, April 15, 2010, at about 7 p.m.
The restaurant is elegant and, if first impressions are deemed to be lasting ones, then, the first impression of The French Window should have stayed with TARGET to this day.
But the picture that this medium will always recall of this restaurant is that of a very fat man, dressed in a chef’s uniform, doing his level best to avoid, being pigeon-holed by anybody should there be a complaint about the food, being dished up.
And complaints about the food were plentiful.
After surveying the menu and the wine list, TARGET selected the following:
With Wine Pairing配搭餐酒 $HK1,400
TARTARE DE THON DU PACIFIC,
COURGETTE MARINEE ET KETCHUP BASQUE
Blue Fin Tuna Tartar, Marinated Zucchini and Basque Ketchup
Shaw and Smith Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Adelaide Hills, Australia
ST JACQUES DE
Pan Seared Scallops, Green Cabbage, Black Truffle Sauce
Domaine Ostertag Riesling Grand Cru Muenchberg 2006 Alsace, France
POLENTA CREMEUSE AU CEPE, BEURRE DE PERSIL
Creamy Polenta, Cep Mushrooms and Parsley Butter
Chateau de Mercey 1er cru En Sazenay 2005 Mercurey, Burgundy, France
JOUE DE BOEUF WAGYU A LA BOURGUIGNONE,
CAROTTE CONFITE ET SAUCE VIN ROUGE
Wagyu Beef Cheek a la Bourguignone Carrot Confit, Red Wine Sauce
Chateau Lalande de Borie 2005 St Julien, Bordeaux, France
Domaine du Bablut Coteaux de I’Aubance Selection 2005 Loire Valley, France
CAFÉ OU THE
Coffee or Tea
From the a la carte menu, TARGET chose the following dishes:
CARPACCIO DE BOEUF SUPER PRIME ROSSIGNY,
FOIE GRAS ET TRUFFE NOIRE
Angus Super Prime Beef Carpaccio Rossigny, Black Truffle
RAVIOLE DU CRABE ROUGE DE KAMCHATKA,
Kamchatka Red King Crab Ravioli, Curry Vinaigrette
BAR DE LIGNE POELE, LEGUMES DU MOMENT,
SAUCE AU THYM
Pan Seared Sea Bass, Seasonal Vegetables, Thyme Sauce
CANARD DE CHALLANS AU SANG
DE CHEZ MADAME BURGOS ROTI,
Roasted Challans Duck, Bigarade Sauce
With the meal, TARGET selected a Portuguese wine from the Douro Valley.
This wine, made of Syrah (Shiraz) grapes, is powerful, 14.50 percent by volume, and tasted of almonds and vanilla.
Its name: Cortes de Cima.
The cost: $HK680 per bottle.
It was money well spent.
Before passing on to the food, it is well worth commenting that the service at The French Window was, on this medium’s visit, quite remarkable.
Many of the serving staff had, clearly, been poached from fine-dining outlets of a number of 5-star hotels, TARGET was able to confirm.
The staff, however, is being let down, badly, by the kitchen staff – sadly.
The Degustation Menu is reasonably priced, but the pairing of the wines was, simply, ludicrous.
The first course, the blue fin tuna tartar, was not a tartar, at all, but pieces of fish meat, cut into chunks, measuring about 3 millimetres square, with the chunks, tasting like nothing this reviewer had ever eaten before.
And, hopefully, will never be tasted again.
The second course, the pan-seared scallops, did not, at first glance, appear to be scallops, but after searching the platter, there, hiding under a piece of cabbage, was half a scallop.
Actually, it tasted as a scallop should taste.
What else can one state?
That was the end of the best part of this meal.
The next course was the polenta with cep mushrooms.
It tasted something like Cream of Wheat, but it did not taste as a polenta should taste.
One did recognise the overpowering butter flavour, however, as well as the pieces of mushroom, floating in the mush.
But one could not taste polenta!
After the mush came the Wagyu beef cheek.
When placed on the table, one found 3, one-inch cubes of meat that were cold, sticky and insipid.
It is just as well that Japan, recently, banned the export of its Wagyu beef due to inspectors, finding that some Japanese cows had contracted Mad Cow Disease – Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) – because, otherwise, who knows who else could come down with the killer sickness that affects cows’ nervous systems.
TARGET could not help but ponder: Could BSE be passed on from cows to human beings?
From The A La Carte Menu
The Degustation Menu was a complete dud so, when TARGET determined to try the dishes from the a la carte menu, it was hoped that there would be a change of pace.
Well, there certainly was a change of pace: The food from the a la carte menu was even worse than the food from the Degustation Menu.
The carpaccio of beef looked appetising, but the beef was arranged in strips, in between which, there were layers of foie gras.
The presentation was far better than the taste because the foie gras overpowered any flavour of the beef, assuming that it had some flavour, initially.
The next course from the a la carte menu was the Kamchatka red king crab ravioli.
When this dish appeared, this reviewer looked and looked and looked for the Italian ravioli.
It was nowhere to be found.
So, picking up a spoon and dipping into the slosh, out came a blob that was a pale white something or other.
On to the next dish.
This was the pan-seared sea bass at $HK400 per 2 ounces or so of fish.
Atop a pile of vegetables sat a thin slice of fish which appeared to be sea bass.
This reviewer could not swear as to the phylum of this piece of fish, but TARGET is quite willing to accept that it was, indeed, sea bass.
Certainly, from the taste, one could not be sure of anything, however.
The last course to be sampled at The French Window was the roasted Challons duck.
When this dish was first ordered, the waiter asked how this reviewer would like the duck cooked.
The answer was ‘well done, please’.
When the duck dish arrived, a piece of crispy pork skin, the type that one eats in a Chinese restaurant when ordering a suckling pig, sat on top of a piece of deboned duck meat.
It looked very appetising, actually.
Looks, only too often, can be deceiving and, on trying to slice through the rectangular piece of duck meat, measuring about 4 inches long, it was discovered that the meat was completely raw.
It was sent packing.
About 5 minutes later, back came the same piece of duck meat – still half raw.
That was about as much as TARGET could take and called for the bill.
The Peripatetic Chef
Some people may have heard of the lost tribe of Israel, members of whom are said, still, to be wandering round the world, looking for a home.
Members of this tribe have been wandering for the past 3,800 years, it has been suggested.
Originally, there were only 12 tribes of Israel, but the 13th tribe is said, today, still to be homeless, lost and forlorn.
It would be nice and a gesture of generosity if a member of this lost tribe, in the vicinity of The French Window, would consider asking Mr Mickaer Le Chalvez whether or not he would like to join the rest of the mob in looking for a home.
This is because, throughout TARGET’s visit to this restaurant, Mr Mickaer Le Chalvez was walking back and forth, looking for something.
It is possible, of course, that he had lost his way and could not find the kitchen.
This restaurant is not small and can cater for about 88 guests in a very large room.
It seems quite possible that Mr Mickaer Le Chalvez had trouble, finding the kitchen, considering the rubbish that was served up on TARGET’s visit to the restaurant.
The restaurant is, after all, only 4 months old.
What was utter madness was that olive oil and balsamic vinegar were placed on the table, along with a completely flat piece of glass, which was supposed to serve as a plate for bread.
If the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar had been put onto this piece of glass, it, without question, would have resulted in part of the tablecloth, turning a brownish-yellowish colour as the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar seeped over the sides of the piece of glass.
This idea may have been cute, but somebody should have told the fat, white-uniformed, peripatetic man, pacing back and forth and round the tables of the restaurant, that the piece of glass, which is supposed to serve as a plate, was impractical.
That piece of glass exemplified what is, clearly, the keynote of The French Window: All show and no substance.
TARGET is not sorry for wasting a little more than $HK3,000 on the experience at The French Window because, otherwise, how else could one learn how horrible can be cooked food when a chef is not up the task, assigned to him.
TARGET makes every attempt to ensure accuracy of all data published,
TARGET cannot be held responsible for any errors and/or omissions.