Wine expert Pierre Legrandois' favourite Hong Kong restaurants
A find in Stanley, favourite hangouts for a Frenchman in the city, and three cheers for The Chinnery at the Mandarin Oriental
I have been in hospitality for more than 14 years as a sommelier at Michelin two star, Gerard Vie, in Versailles, then under Alain Ducasse's team at Le Louis XV in Monaco. I started my adventure with Pierre Gagnaire in London opening Sketch in 2001, then came to Hong Kong for his Pierre in 2006. Later, I joined wine distributor Links Concept which specialises in family-owned wineries.
But I am rather easy when it comes to food. I am a strong believer that good food is from great ingredients and made by people who love their jobs.
One of my favourite weekend hangouts is Spices (109 Repulse Bay Road, Repulse Bay, tel: 2292 2821). It's located in such a historical building with a beautiful sea view, and my favourite dishes include the curry and the lemon grass sea bass. The flavours are authentic and we can really taste the freshness of all the ingredients. The service is also impeccable.
We entertain a lot in our business. It had always been a challenge to surprise our clients until we found chef Stanley Wong's Aberdeen private kitchen CulinArt (22B Kwai Bo Industrial Building, 40 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Aberdeen, tel: 2580 0919). Stanley is definitely at the top of his game with his creativity and unique background offering cuisine without any frontiers.
In my neighbourhood the newly opened Jules Bistro (King Inn Mansion, 13-15 Yik Yam Street, Happy Valley, tel: 2838 1115) serves classic French food such as boeuf bourguignon, cheese fondue, and confit de canard. The energetic chef Laurent makes you feel at home.
On Dining (28-29/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2174 8100) has probably the best French cheese selection in town. My old friend, chef Philippe Orrico, makes delicious pies, too. He is surrounded by a trio of fun and knowledgeable managers ensuring the excellence you come to expect of a restaurant in Central.
I would also like to mention Olivier Elzer, from Seasons by Olivier E (shop 308, 3/F, Phase 2, Lee Garden, 2-38 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2505 6228), whom I had the privilege of working with years ago. He is definitely among the top French chefs in town. Bravo, mon ami.
I love nature and the beauty of Hong Kong is the water and mountains surrounding it. At the end of the Dragon's Back hike to Shek O beach is Cococabana (Shek O Beach Building, tel: 2812 2226) which is a nice spot for lunch.
Having worked at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, everyone knows how great their restaurants are. However many people overlook The Chinnery (1/F, 5 Connaught Road Central, tel: 2825 4009). I think it's the finest "pub-style" bar in the city. The manager has been there for decades and will entertain you with his stories while you enjoy British classics such as bangers and mash or fish pie.