First impressions of Le 39V in Kowloon – French fine dining with a view
Perched on the 101st floor of the ICC, Le 39V shows a lot of promise – though what might seem exotic in Paris might not always work for Hong Kong palates
French fine dining in Hong Kong has reached new heights with Le 39V – situationally at least. Named after the address of the original Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris, 39 Avenue George V, you can find it on the 101st floor of the International Commerce Centre above Kowloon station.
The restaurant has taken over part of the space of its neighbour and sister restaurant, Inakaya, and has fantastic views of Hong Kong Island. Maybe that’s what the restaurant wants diners to focus on, as the décor isn’t very inspiring, save for a feature wall covered in what look like goldfish scales.
Visiting during the soft opening period, we were offered a set menu for HK$1,600 each, though each of the dishes is also available à la carte. By the end of the meal, it felt like we’d dined across several countries in just one evening.
After an amuse-bouche of green pea panna cotta that was on the runny side, we had the appetiser of seared beef with French melon (HK$360). The beef came in thick rectangular slices, accompanied with sweet chunks of cantaloupe and some chopped melon mixed with minced ginger. The meat was seasoned with soy sauce, ginger and coriander – a concoction that is normally used to finish Cantonese-style steamed fish. For us in Hong Kong, this combination might seem rather odd, but perhaps in Paris it’s considered exotic. We were given more of the sauce on the side, but the beef didn’t need more flavouring.
Next came the highlight of the meal – blue lobster ravioli and herbs in a foamy bisque broth (HK$680). The bisque was intensely flavoured and the fresh lobster medallion was perfectly cooked. Underneath the light foam were several hearty, flavourful ravioli.
The farmhouse lamb (HK$590) had a kind of Mediterranean flavour. Half of the dish featured juicy pieces of roasted lamb rack, while a tender confit of the lamb shoulder, accompanied by a sweet pepper stuffed with apricot, cardamom and bulgur, had a tagine-like taste.
The dinner ended on a light note with a delicately presented mixed fruit salad (HK$210) – a refreshing dessert of passion fruit jelly with strawberries, papaya, dragon fruit and thin swirls of coconut.
Le 39V, Shop A, 101/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, tel: 2977 5266
While you’re in the area: