Thursday, October 7, 2010

à La Maison–♕♕♕♕

A new restaurant venture by former Mr. Hong Kong contestant and French Citizen 黃長興 Stephen Huỳnh, this French Bistrot is found in a quiet segregated side street in Fortress Hill and carries a down-to-earth styled French food theme.   à La Maison’s menu is about simple Parisien staple foods such as Daily soups, Mussels, Meat Stews, Entrecote steaks and Desserts, with no showings of Haute Cuisine stuff present.  Good.  And unlike most annoying pretenders in HK which never clearly distinguishes on their menus the differences between:

    • (1) Charcoal Grill - 炭燒
    • (2) Gas Lava Rock Grill  - 火山石煤氣火燒
    • (3) Flame-Grilled/Broiled - 煤氣火燒
    • (4) Griddle or Pan Grilled - 鐵板燒, 平底鑊燒
    • (5) Other options such as hybrid stoves using Mesquite, alternative Woods, Liquid Smoking, Smoked Salt, etc.

Steaks in this venue are thankfully cooked on (6) a Hybrid Charcoal and Gas Grill (半煤氣爐, 半炭燒).  It doesn’t rely fully on burning charcoals, but is more dependant on gas flames blasting through the layer of charcoal, but at least it imparts some Charcoal flavours.  This kind of hybrid grill can also be found at certain other places like Japanese Ramen & Bar Restaurant 一平安, which uses a similar grill in some of its outlets.

Fairly Cosy and authentic French environment

House French Cabernet Sauvignon ~

Menu -
Awaiting for good things to come..

A Mini Boule imported directly from France arrives piping hot -
its great ~ 8/10

Accompanied by Pre-packed Anchor Butter only ~


Assiette Campagnarde -
Country Sampler of Ham, Salami, Duck Terrine and fried Camembert Cheese, pretty good and presented with artistic flair  ~ 8/10

Soupe a l’oignon -
The soup based was dense in flavour, but ultimately too oily.  The gruyere and toast was a little small in my personal opinion.   Could have been better, but not far off if they learn to improve ~

USA Prime Rib Eye Entrecote (Medium) -
Chips weren’t true Pomme Frites and came pre-seasoned with Steak Fries Seasoning, but they were pretty good nonetheless. Note it says USA here not USDA Prime steak, which is ambiguous.   I don’t normally order Entrecote Rib-Eye steaks for a few personal reasons:   1) Its traditionally served and hammered too thin, which makes it hard to cook perfectly depending on heat intensity;  2) Entrecote also comes pre-sliced from the Kitchen, which loses juice and heat;  3) It comes with a Café de Paris butter, which spoils the meat flavour, and unlike a Bearnaise, often splits when it melts making it super oily, and its not even the proper Café de Paris Sauce made with Chicken Livers;   4) In HK, most Entrecotes are not properly Charcoal Grilled (炭燒), they just outright lie about its cooking method…

The Entrecote here overall was cooked pretty loyal to Medium, as suggested by the shop and I concur with.  Parts of the steak’s left hand side was cooked slightly too Rare, which means it was inevitably tough as certain proteins haven’t even melted ~  well marbled but slightly connective-tissues filled steak cuts such as Rib Eye really ought to be cooked to around Medium or 40-45% cooked before it becomes tender, when everything inside starts melting or hydrolysises properly. Cook it too well-done the otherway however and it loses moisture and the muscle contracts quickly, which also makes it leathery tough.   On the other hand, leaner secondary cuts without gristles/tendons should be cooked rare to be tender. The more worked muscles with gristles however, should always be slow cooked!   I don’t understand why most chefs can’t seem to grasp these simple, proven meat science concepts?!  Whoever said that all Steaks or Meat should be cooked Rare?   Ever tried eating a raw Sirloin or Rib Eye, Poultry meat or a thick cut Lean Raw Fish before?  You won’t be able to chew on it, and you’ll probably get food borne diseases.   Cooking meat is all about Balancing between under-cooking and over-cooking.  This steak was mostly cooked well and carried both meatiness as well as Charcoal flavours.  Great job, even if it’s probably fluked!  ~  8.5/10

Generic French Moutarde and Ketchup Sauce for Steak & Fries -
A little boring, just like the pre-packed butter. But necessary.

They humbly write that they sell Char-grilled Entrecote in English, much like most other shops do... Char-grilling is ambiguous in English and could mean both Charcoal or Naked Flame Grilled in English, as long as the steak’s surface is Charred from Mallaird Browning Reaction and Caramelization, not necessarily Charcoal grilled.  But this doesn’t apply and automatically convert to 炭燒 in Chinese, which requires the presence of real Charcoal.  Fortunately this shop’s usage of the word 炭燒 is at least veritable, as it really carries real charcoal pieces on their grill…

22102010016 Food is executed better than expected -
even probably up to Paris standards…


Price: $225 per person + 10%
Dinner Score:

Opening Hours:
Mon – Sun:  11:00am ~ 23:00am

Address: 天后木星街18號地下F-G舖
(Shop F & G, 18 Jupiter Street, Tin Hau)
Phone:  2510 0123


  1. Great blog! I love how you've got the little ratings... fantastic!


  2. Thanks so much!
    Yeh I thought about not rating anything, as it can be a very subjective matter ~ but I kind of worked out others are going to use external references, such as anyway.

    I mean, its my food blog ! : D

    Kind regards,
    HK Epicurus

  3. Wonderful blog you have! I'm not based in Taiwan, but I visit quite often....and I used to live in HK and left when I was 16, so I miss it a lot. I stay interested by checking out food blogs and see what's going on, it's so much fun. Please keep up the good work!



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