52A Peel Street, Central
Tel: 3114 6320
The vibe: low-key and utterly French, judging from the iconic posters and bistro classics written on the mirror wall and the accents of several patrons filling the long albeit quite narrow venue. On weekends, this spot is packed with patrons spilling out onto the sloped street with a glass of wine in hand. Occasionally, the wine bar transforms into a jazz spot when it hosts live performances but on regular nights, rock classics combined with the intimate red velvet cushioned interior make this a casual spot for wine and conversation.
The drinks: an excellent wine list, as you'd expect from a bar opened by a wine geek from France. He sources bottles directly from wineries, which explains the very reasonable prices. The selection is entirely French, packed with boutique wineries from various regions. A must-sip is the incredibly vibrant and sweet gew?rztraminer from Vallee Noble Seppi Landmann 2010 (HK$70), or if you prefer something drier, grenache blanc from Mas des Tannes 2010 (HK$65) is wonderfully crisp. The by-the-glass options are plentiful, including a lovely cherry-like pinot noir by La Forge Estate 2010 (HK$55) from the Languedoc region. Unfortunately, the bar has a tendency to run out of stock (when we visited it had sold out of muscat and reisling). But the warm vibe and knowledgeable staff made up for this. A short food menu lists bistro classics with pairing suggestions which reflects the venue's strong wine leanings. For non-wine drinkers, there are draft beers and a small list of typical spirits.
The verdict: ideal for anyone who is seeking a casual evening in not-too-loud surroundings for wine and conversation. Also perfect for wine lovers after something a little different to the usual mainstream labels.