Restaurant review: Atelier Vivanda is a meat lover's dream
Vegetarians stay away - this Wan Chai establishment serves a variety of beef, duck, chicken, pork and veal cuts, with all-you-can-eat sides
Cuisine: French steakhouse
Price: HK$488 for a starter, main course with accompaniments and dessert, without drinks or service charge. There's a supplement on some of the premium meats.
Ambience: comfortable, well-designed and airy, with an open kitchen.
Recommended dishes: the duck leg terrine was rich, dense and meaty, with great flavour. Beetroot risotto was light in texture, with a subtle flavour from smoked haddock. The main course meats include several cuts of beef, along with duck, chicken, pork and veal. For HK$198 extra we had the XL black angus rib-eye, a delicious piece of meat — the "eye" portion was tender, and the cap was even better. The meat course comes with salad (which we barely touched) and all-you-can-eat sides. The gratin dauphinois was rich and creamy, but could have been hotter. We liked the lighter pommes darphin, which had grated potatoes, and the hot, puffy and nutmeg-spiced pommes dauphines. For dessert, the moelleux was gooey and not too sweet, and the lime zest added a zing to the richness of the chocolate.
Pros: the service was warm and attentive.
Cons: the menu listed only two red wines by the glass. Vegetarians should go elsewhere. The Iberian pork rib, cooked medium, was a little too dense — we should have requested medium-rare. The caramel profitoclaire with chocolate tonka lacked any caramel intensity.
What else? Akrame Benallal, the chef behind Restaurant Akrame, also on Ship Street, is the brainchild of Atelier Vivanda, which has three branches in Paris.
Atelier Vivanda, 9 Ship Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2109 1768. Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm