Restaurant review: Frantzen’s Kitchen, Sheung Wan – simply amazing in every way
Every single dish we tasted was an absolute winner at this small, popular Scandinavian restaurant, so book a table as soon as you can
Before reviewing restaurants, I try as much as possible to avoid reading the opinions of others because too much hype in favour of the place is hard to live up to, while negative comments might prejudice me. But I couldn’t avoid seeing the enthusiastic praise my friends were bestowing upon Frantzen’s Kitchen on their Instagram and Facebook accounts. In this case, the restaurant deserves the praise, and more.
Our waitress told us that the right amount of food would be a couple of “snacks” and five of the larger dishes. It turned out to be a little too much food, but there wasn’t one dish we were regretted ordering.
Apple and lingonberry macaron with foie gras parfait (HK$55) was ethereal – it just disappeared on the tongue, leaving behind a richness from the liver and sweet-tart flavours of apple and lingonberry. The waitress said the “French toast” with winter truffles, balsamic vinegar and aged cheese (HK$125) was big enough to share, but she was wrong: as soon as I bit into it, I realised I should have ordered a whole one for myself.
Take the best cheese toastie you can imagine, add truffles, and somehow, it’s even better than that. The rich cheese was balanced by the sweetness of stewed onions and a few drops of aged balsamic vinegar.
White asparagus with fermented gooseberry sauce, split peas, morels and pine nuts (HK$175) was spring on a plate. Composed of white asparagus stalks cut into pieces, shaved green asparagus and edible flower petals, it was a pretty and light but flavourful.
The fish in our next dish was changed from skrei [Norwegian Arctic cod ] to white cod. Served with beurre blanc, anchovy juice, vendace roe, caramelised onion and tiny discs of crisp potatoes (HK$230) it was one of the most delicious fish dishes we’ve tasted in recent memory. Just as good was the tartare of Swedish dairy cow (HK$195) that had been aged for 100 days, and served with smoked eel, a heaping helping of herring caviar and raw mushrooms.
I was prepared to be disappointed with the roasted Swedish pork belly (HK$195) – it looked dry – but turned out to be tender and succulent, and served with a silky-smooth pumpkin purée. Veal cheeks cooked for 24 hours with sweetbreads (HK$245) could have used more sweetbreads, but the meat was soft and moist.
We could manage only one dessert. The smoked ice cream (HK$105) came as a bronze-dusted half-sphere of chocolate. The waiter poured over some warm salted fudge to melt the chocolate, which collapsed inward to reveal the other ingredients that included tar syrup and toasted nuts. It was inventive and delicious, with a good mix of textures.
The restaurant is quite small and is very popular. I had to book (online only) three weeks in advance, and the wait seems to be even longer now. Book seats as soon as you can, either at the counter around the open kitchen (which seems to be the more desirable) or at one of the tables: the wait is worth it.
Frantzen’s Kitchen, 11 Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan. Book online at frantzenskitchen.com. About HK$700 without drinks or the service charge.
While you’ re in the area: