Newly opened A.O.C. in Wan Chai: the cheapest oysters in town?
This tiny French cafe is amazing value for money: where else in Hong Kong can you order six oysters and a dish of foie gras and get change from HK$200?
Le Café Winebeast in Wan Chai recently had a makeover and got a new name. It is now called A.O.C, which stands for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, a French certification of location and authenticity for agricultural products such as wine, cheese and butter.
The tiny cafe crams in customers, with the prime seats being three tables of two, while the rest is bar seating. It’s not the place where you’d want to talk about anything confidential, as diners at nearby tables will easily overhear your conversation.
When staff called to reconfirm our reservation, we were told we need to give back the table in two hours. Despite the strict time limit, the atmosphere here is laid back, with happy hour drinks available until 7pm.
The food is a pleasant surprise, not only in quality but price too. The most popular dish that evening were six freshly-shucked oysters that were briny, refreshing and very reasonably priced at HK$88.
Another enjoyable starter was the house-made marinated salmon (HK$78), its flavour enhanced with pickled onions. But the blinis that came with them were more like mini crumpets.
We were eager to try the black pudding skewer (HK$78). While we enjoyed its rustic flavour paired with confit apple wedges and more pickled onions, the black pudding fell apart when we tried to slice it into bite-sized pieces.
The house-made duck foie gras terrine from southwest France (HK$88) was a generous portion (so much we couldn’t finish it), and smooth and decadent on toasted rye bread.
The main course of duck confit (HK$198) was disappointing; although the meat was tender, the skin was not crisp enough.It came with cubed potatoes and pears. The neighbouring table’s 250g griddle-grilled beef sirloin steak (HK$168) looked tempting: a large portion of meat that was sliced then served with a side of green beans.
We asked about the millefeuille about 15 minutes before our time was up, but were told that the table had to be given back soon, so we skipped dessert.
We hope to come back again soon for more oysters and the juicy steak.
A.O.C, 15 McGregor Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2479 6833
Other recently opened Wan Chai restaurants we’ve written about