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A Parisian Bistro in Hong Kong

Submitted by on April 17, 2011 – 12:28 amNo Comment

Who knew that there was a demand for Parisian bistro dining in the Soho district of Hong Kong? Yet, Road Trips Foodies, that lacuna has been filled with La Marmite. (No, not THAT marmite!)

Intended to be unpretentious, informal and affordable, La Marmite is named after the cast-iron cooking pot (like the one pictured) that’s long been used in France to serve up hearty dishes and is inspired by the back-to-basics trend that has swept the Paris restaurant scene in the wake of the financial crisis.

Bistro dining is now à la mode with ‘Menus Crises’ (menus for the crisis) offering French cuisine at prices that suit harder times. La Marmite’s classic bistrot dishes are rotated weekly on a blackboard menu. There are daily specials depending on what produce is in season and fresh that day, such as Steak tartare au couteau accompagné de frites “maison” et de salade, Cabillaud poché en grand Aïoli and Boudin aux pommes.

The à la carte menu includes Légumes en Bagna Cauda, Merlan, beurre au capres et écrasé de pommes nouvelles à la ciboulette, Tourte de lapin et foie gras au vieux porto et mesclun and ‘Bavette à l’échalotte et pommes sautées.

Classic desserts include Tarte Tatin au Calvados et glace vanille, Pain Perdu et glace au Pastis et caramel au beurre salé and Paris-Brest, a choux pastry with flaked almonds that was first served in 1910 by Chef Louis Durand for the bicycle race between Paris and Brest. As you’d expect at a Parisian bistro, La Marmite has an extensive all-French selection of cheeses. Wines are predominantly French (bien sûr!).

La Marmite’s food comes courtesy of an all-French team. Born and raised in the South of France in a village called Valbonne close to Antibes, Head Chef Renaud Marin started to cook from the age of 15, His first professional experience was in the Michelin-starred restaurant at ‘La Bastide St Antoine’. Since then, he’s worked for a number of restaurants including Le Bristol in Paris before moving to London to work for restaurants such as L’Oranger, Kilo Kitchen & Bar and Oxo Tower Restaurant.

Behind Renaud stands a full French team including Michelin-star Chef Philippe Orrico, protégé of Pierre Gagnaire and Pastry Chef Alexis Watrin who previously honed his skills at The Dorchester in London. Completing the team of Four Musketeers, in the front of house is David Noblet, Maitre d’ for La Marmite.

The Parisian atmosphere is evoked by an eclectic collection of 1930s and 1940s posters on the walls — the star attraction is an original black and white ‘French Connection’ poster from 1971.

La Marmite, is part of the Aqua Restaurant Group. It’s open for lunch and dinner 46 Staunton Street, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong.

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