Bar review: La Fromagerie in SoHo – great cheese but wine could be a lot better
Two bad wines got the night off to a bad start while a laborious payment process meant it didn’t end brilliantly either, but a beautiful cheese plate and smooth E. Guigal red were saving graces
The vibe: La Fromagerie is a no-frills French wine and cheese bar located in the semi-basement space formerly occupied by Picada on Elgin Street. The layout hasn’t changed, neither has the furniture, while the simple new decor sees bottles of wine arrayed on shelves and wooden wine cases.
Almost empty on a Thursday evening, the only staff on hand was a young lady who, although friendly and authentically French, could have done with a better briefing before being left in charge.
The drinks: The wine list was being reprinted and wasn’t available. Wines by the bottle displayed with prices written on them were mainly good quality French reds, most priced from HK$500. A limited selection by the glass included one white, one red and two rosés from France; one white and one red from California; and a New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
We started with the Minuty rosé from Provence (HK$38 a glass in happy hour, a whopping HK$120 outside it, according to the blackboard) and the Fetzer Chardonnay from California (also HK$38). Both were disappointing. Admittedly Cotes de Provence rosés are mostly very pale, but this one looked like water and didn’t have much more taste or body. Meanwhile the Chardonnay was sickly and cloying.
It was a relief to turn to a smooth, well-balanced red Cotes du Rhone from the ever-reliable E. Guigal, which was good value at HK$85 per glass and went beautifully with a cheese plate (selection of three cheeses, HK$278 for two people). The cheeses were delicious and in perfect condition – the owner flies them in from France and refines them himself.
Sadly, the accompanying house-made bread had way too much salt in it. And in a city where people prefer to pay by card, a better system is needed than a laborious transaction on a tablet and a handwritten receipt.
The verdict: La Fromagerie lives up to its name when it comes to cheese, but needs to deliver more on other fronts.
La Fromagerie, 16 Elgin Street, SoHo. Tel: 5526 2600. Open: 4pm-midnight. Happy hour: 4pm-7.30pm
While you’re in the area: