First impressions of global chain Le Pain Quotidien’s debut Hong Kong venture

Newly opened in Wan Chai, this Belgian outlet – serving healthy food with a few indulgences – is already buzzing

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 March, 2016, 1:13pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 March, 2016, 4:49pm

Le Pain Quotidien, or “daily bread”, which has more than 230 outlets in 18 countries, finally has a branch in Hong Kong, thanks to Dining Concepts. Located in the new The Avenue development in Wan Chai which includes luxury flats and shopping area, the Belgian shop will be in direct competition with Gerard Dubois’ Passion, which is across the street.

Le Pain Quotidien offers fresh and healthy options – including vegetarian and vegan dishes. Customers can either order takeaway meals that are pre-packaged, sit down in the rustic-looking dining area, or dine al fresco on a patio in front.

We came a few days after it opened, and the place was already buzzing. The staff are friendly, but as it’s still so new, service can be a bit slow.

What we had was enjoyable for the most part. The tartine of buffalo mozzarella and aged prosciutto (HK$128) came on a large piece of dark bread spread with olive tapenade and topped with sun-dried tomatoes and more olives.

The buffalo mozzarella was thinly sliced and tasted very fresh, but the prosciutto didn’t have much flavour. Avocado toast (HK$88) tries to justify its price with a gourmet-sounding citrus cumin salt, and by using organic rye bread and a sprinkling of organic chia seedsbut one could easily make this at home.

Quinoa detox salad (HK$118) is a super healthy option for those wanting to eat rabbit food. Presented in a rectangular tin box, it is full of vegetables such as green and red cabbage, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, mint, red onion and parsley, but was missing the tomatoes and avocado promised in the menu description. The salad also comes with a big scoop of white organic quinoa which is quite dry and definitely needs the pesto oil that accompanies the dish, but it’s in a mini jar and we had to ask for another one to add flavour.

For drinks there are some interesting organic cold-pressed juices that are presented in glass jars. Mucho gusto (HK$60) is a thick combination of cashew, banana, hazelnut, coconut water, cacao and maple syrup. It was more like a dessert smoothie than a juice.

For dessert, we were tempted by the red berry pavlova (HK$55), but it took some time for the staff to finally tell us it wasn’t available. We settled for the pain au chocolat (HK$22). It wasn’t heated and was more moist than flaky, but it was still a nice end to the meal.

 

Le Pain Quotidien, shop G41, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue (entrance at Johnston Road), tel: 2520 1801