Philippe Orrico’s newly opened Picnic – heaven in a handbasket for Hongkongers

Diners at French chef’s Kennedy Town venture get a basket of deli fare, and for a small deposit you can take away the basket. You can also order mains such as roast free-range chicken

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 December, 2015, 12:37pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 December, 2015, 12:39pm

Philippe Orrico, chef-owner of restaurants On Dining, Upper Modern Bistro and Tartine, has expanded into Kennedy Town with Picnic On Forbes, just steps away from the Kennedy Town MTR station. The high-ceilinged space is airy and unpretentious, with green tiling and light wood inside, giving it a casual bistro vibe. The bar at the entrance has a mirror behind it, reflecting the open kitchen across the room.

Orrico recognised us soon after we sat down, and we hope other diners will receive the same standard of food and attentive, friendly service that we did.

Picnic’s concept is based around a picnic basket, lined with light blue and white checkered cloth, that comes in three price ranges (HK$298, HK$488, $688). If you want your picnic for takeaway, the restaurant gives diners the option of taking the basket with them for an HK$80 deposit that will be returned when you bring it back.

We sampled the HK$298 basket, large enough for two, and containing several small jars.There was delicious, smooth, house-made pork rillettes,marinated olives, scrambled eggs with pungent black truffle shavings in plastic, eggshell-shaped containers, baby radishes in anchovy sauce, a glass bottle of green pea and mint gazpacho poured into two mini teacups, avocado mousse with small cubes of smoked salmon, quinoa salad with edamame, and a fluffy light mushroom custard with bacon emulsion. Only the foie gras custard got the thumbs down: it didn’t work with the smoked eel and teriyaki sauce.

Another dish worth trying is the roast French chicken (HK$168 for one quarter). We were told that because these chickens – from the Loire Valley – were free-range, the meat was tougher, so Orrico cooks them sous vide before roasting them briefly, giving the meat a pink colour.

We ordered a quarter serving of chicken thigh. The meat was tender and juicy, but would have been better hot.

A side dish of pearl barley risotto with aged Comte cheese (HK$128) was a nice accompaniment to the chicken.

For dessert, the lemon tart (HK$88) is sliced table-side on a dish garnished with raspberries, a scoop of yogurt ice cream and a small meringue disc. The lemon custard was creamy and not too tart, and had bits of lime rind on top. Divine.

Picnic on Forbes, 38 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town, tel: 2855 0810