Bar review: Les Pucelles - some real finds at French wine bar
Explore some lesser known appellations at this bistro-style Tai Hang bar, which does a surprisingly good job of making you feel like you're in France
Les Pucelles is a small, friendly place where you can sample something different, have an aperitif before dinner in Tai Hang, or take a bottle with you for the dinner.
The vibe: small and intimate, with red walls, traditional bistro-style tables and chairs and shelves full of wine. Les Pucelles does a surprisingly good job of making you feel like you're in France. It's casual, comfortable and, while packed on weekends, when drinkers spill out onto the pavement, on a week night it's relaxed with nobody pushing you to drink up or drink more.
The drinks: the extensive wine list focuses on France, with a nod to Italy, Spain and the New World, and offers some real discoveries. The friendly young French sommelier is happy to make recommendations and to let you taste before you decide what to order. The curse of the bottle that's been open too long is avoided by using the Coravin system (a nifty invention which makes a minuscule hole in the cork to pour the wine, then pumps argon gas into the bottle to stop oxygen getting in). This means many wines listed by the bottle can also be ordered by the glass, if you ask.
Bottle prices start around HK$400, by the glass at HK$75. We tried the crisp, elegant Domaine de Malandes Chablis at HK$95 per glass and the rich, smooth Château La Grave d'Arzac 2009 at HK$100, which were fine examples of their appellations. Food is limited to cheese or charcuterie platters to nibble, although there's a special champagne and caviar menu if you want to splurge.
The verdict: if you're into wine and want to explore some lesser known French appellations — or just enjoy the classics — this is the place for you. Chill out with friends or have an aperitif before heading to one of the many restaurants in this corner of Tai Hang — you can even take a bottle with you.
Les Pucelles, 26 School Street, Tai Hang Tel: 2346 9855 Open: Monday to Saturday 6pm-2am