A first taste of 12,000 Francs, SoHo, where the art of preservation is taken to new heights

The team behind Madam Sixty-Ate have a new venture, where the focus is on preserving methods – fermenting, salting, smoking and curing. Not all the dishes succeed but overall it’s an interesting idea, well executed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 December, 2016, 5:15pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 December, 2016, 5:06pm

Madam Sixty-Ate in Wan Chai may have closed, but restaurateurs Bronwyn Cheung and Chris Woodyard have another curious dining establishment they recently unveiled, this time in SoHo – 12,000 Francs.

It is named after the amount Napoleon said he would reward the person who figured out how to preserve food to feed his armies – a prize won by confectioner Nicolas Francois Appert. In honour of that,12,000 Francs features preserving techniques such as fermenting, salting, and smoking and curing.

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The restaurant has a relatively dark interior, which made it hard for us to appreciate the decor, but because we sat by the kitchen, we could watch the chefs plating the dishes.

We started with home-made malted sourdough bread (HK$40) that came with salted butter. The crusty bread came in handy to help us finish the foie gras parfait (HK$170) that was served in a glass jar and topped with chicken liver, pickled jalapeños and fried duck skin. The parfait wasn’t heavy and the interesting pickled and spicy flavours from the jalapeño cut through the richness of the foie gras, while the crunchy duck skin added texture. We’ve since heard that diners are clamouring for this dish to be available for takeaway and we’re not surprised.

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Next came the beetroot salad with smoked eel (HK$180). The thick, meaty slab of red beetroot, along with wedges of yellow-orange beet, was served with a few pieces of smoked eel and two generous spoonfuls of whipped mascarpone that didn’t add much to the dish.

The ricotta and persimmon (HK$140) is an intriguing dish. The fruit is presented fresh, pickled, dried and fermented, and served with creamy ricotta and air-dried beef.

The hot rib-eye pastrami (HK$300 for two, HK$450 for four) looked promising: thick slices of meat on top of the bone, with sauerkraut on one side and pea shoots with barley on the other. Unfortunately, it was tough and chewy. We told our server and he reported another table had the same complaint and offered to take it off the bill, which we greatly appreciated.

The kitchen recovered quickly with Better than Nutella (HK$98), featuring bread pudding with warm chocolate hazelnut mousse and milk sorbet. Heavenly.

12,000 Francs, 43A Elgin Street, SoHo. Book online at 12000francs.com.hk

Other SoHo restaurants we’ve tried recently

Restaurant review: Dub – Concept by Saam in Soho serves modern bistro-style dishes

Newly opened Soul Food Hong Kong, SoHo – Thai-inspired food, casual setting

Belon in SoHo – home of the HK$348 chicken wing