Header image courtesy of Tirpse
When it comes to cuisines with towering reputations, it’s hard to beat French gastronomy and its influence on fine dining. In our opinion, the best French food outside of France can be found in Japan, where skilled chefs combine Japanese and European techniques, ingredients, and flavour pairings to create something unique and wonderful in its own right. Given Hongkongers’ appetite for both Japanese and French food, there are excellent representatives for this fusion cuisine in our city, from Michelin-starred fine-dining eateries to homey bistros. For where to sample this exemplary culinary combo, read on to discover the best French-Japanese fusion restaurants in Hong Kong.
This Michelin-starred restaurant in The Pottinger wears its dual influences proudly in its name—“ta vie” means “your life” in French, but “旅” means “journey” in Japanese. In keeping with its name, Ta Vie (旅) aims to bring diners on a journey of culinary discovery, interpreting Asian ingredients and products through a French haute cuisine lens. Relax in the colonial-inspired interiors as you relish seasonal regional produce that has been prepared in a way to showcase its natural taste. Currently, the seasonal tasting menu ($2,580) features ingredients like cuttlefish, seaweed, porcini, and muscat grapes from China and Japan. The drinks menu is similarly inspired by Asian heritage, with a strong collection of niche, artisan sakes, as well as bottled teas made in-house and craft cocktails made from fresh Asian fruit, herbs, and vegetables.
Ta Vie 旅, 2/F, The Pottinger Hong Kong, 74 Queen’s Road Central
Tucked away in a quiet residential area of Wan Chai, this one Michelin-starred eatery takes the principle of omakase dining and applies it to haute French-Japanese cuisine. The petite restaurant accommodates just 12 diners around its chef’s counter, which offers first-row seats to the open kitchen where Mori—who cut his teeth at the esteemed Château Restaurant Joël Robuchon and Mandarin Oriental in Tokyo—works his magic. There is just one choice to make—whether to get the wine pairing—since Takumi only serves a multi-course seasonal tasting menu ($1,980). Though the seasonal menu is (by definition) dictated by seasonality, a few recurring signatures include the caviar tin, akamutsu barley risotto, and charcoal-grilled Wagyu tenderloin.
Takumi by Daisuke Mori, Shop 1, G/F, The Oakhill, 16 Wood Road, Wan Chai | (+852) 5599 8133
Perched on top of a commercial building in Central, Zest by Konishi is a one Michelin-starred restaurant and bar from acclaimed chef Mitsuru Konishi, occupying a two-storey space with a dining room and terrace bar with sweeping views of the city centre. For a succinct way to experience Chef Konishi’s personal, adventurous take on French-Japanese haute cuisine, try the set lunch (starting from $480), which offers light-yet-satisfying dishes such as the Green Garden salad and Ezo abalone and French barley risotto. Also available (at an additional $1,180 cost) is the signature Ping Yuen chicken in lotus foie gras rice—which is up there with Bâtard, Louise, and Neighbourhood’s versions as one of the most coveted high-end chicken-and-rice dishes in town—that comes presented in a large wooden “treasure box” for the ultimate showstopper.
For the full Zest by Konishi experience, come at dinnertime for the degustation menu ($1,880 per person) featuring courses upon courses of exquisite seasonal dishes like the crispy sea eel with basil pesto in green gazpacho and Racan pigeon with five-spice Viennoise and fig chutney. To best impress your dining companion, reserve the acclaimed whole Hokkaido kinki fish with langoustine and clams in bouillabaisse sauce, which is only available upon prior request.
Zest by Konishi, 28 & 29/F, 18 On Lan Street, Central | (+852) 2715 0878
Located in K11 Musea, this creative French-Japanese restaurant bills itself as “artistic Japanese-French cuisine with Japanese spirit.” A spin-off of the restaurant of the same name in Tokyo—which holds the title as the fastest restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star, having received the coveted award just two months after opening—the Tirpse Tokyo team opened the Hong Kong outpost to ensure it would meet the same exacting standards.
The simple, three-ingredient naming format on their set menus (starting from $498) gives little indication of the elegant dishes that arrive at the table—amaebi (spot prawn), tomato, and smoked paprika arrives as a fresher-than-fresh produce swimming in clear consommé and dotted with pops of ikura, butter-poached Brittany lobster is served alongside amaebi jelly and a lime zest-dusted quenelle of roasted eggplant cream. When it comes to dessert, patisserie chef Horiuchi Rin brings out the big guns with inventive sweets like the signature raspberry- and lychee-filled cloud cake and the boundary-pushing crisp sansho pepper meringue filled with condensed milk espuma, rhubarb jam, and coconut and citrus custard.
Tirpse, Shop 219, 2/F, K11 Musea, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2333 0031
Helmed by veteran chef Ishiba Masaki—previously of La Bombance—this fine-dining restaurant is something of an anomaly in an otherwise quiet part of North Point. Inside, a warm, elegant space awaits, with an intimate 10-seater chef’s counter as well as seated tables. Although its menu has taken a few different forms recently due to the pandemic—with takeaway ramen and omakase dinners featuring caviar-topped chicken wings served within the last year—the restaurant has returned to its roots recently by offering refined French-Japanese cuisine.
At lunch, the two- to four-course set lunch (starting from $580) includes signatures like the gratinéed French onion soup en cocotte, Spanish red prawn linguine, Wagyu steak sando, and crème caramel. Come night-time, the five-course dinner menu ($980) offers many of Le Bec Fin’s greatest hits—like the sea urchin pasta or prawn linguine—as well as more Japanese-style dishes, like the Wagyu sukiyaki and melon blancmange.
Le Bec Fin, Shop 8, G/F, China United Centre, 28 Marble Road, North Point | (+852) 2217 8889
The brainchild of five food-loving friends, Le Rêve is the culmination of their dreams—a cosy spot serving Michelin star-quality cuisine in the heart of Hong Kong. Following a refresh of sorts last year, the Causeway Bay eatery hired chef Ken Kwok, who has over 15 years of experience in Japanese, French, and Italian fine-dining restaurants—including Wagyu Takumi. Both tasting menus—the six-course “6 Shades of Flavour” ($980) menu and eight-course signature menu ($1,280)—offer the highly recommended caviar “secret” as an add-on, which presents carefully layered seasonal ingredients and fine French caviar inside a round caviar tin. Though the menu changes regularly based on the seasonal availability of produce, there is a consistent playfulness in the presentation that is balanced by reverence to both French and Japanese culinary traditions.
Le Rêve, 10/F, Zing!, 38 Yiu Wa Street, Causeway Bay | (+852) 2866 1010
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Located at the bottom of a leafy ladder street, this two-storey bistro is a charming sight with its buttercup-yellow awning and French doors. While Figaro was originally a fine-dining French restaurant, it was taken over by a Hong Kong-Japanese husband-and-wife team in 2017, who transformed it into a casual bistro serving yōshoku (洋食; Japanese-style Western cuisine) fare.
Besides the signature roasted Satsuma Akadori chicken thigh ($128)—which comes drizzled with honey mustard in a sizzling skillet—the yōshoku-style ramens are also popular at lunchtime, with options like crab tomato ramen with mozzarella ($128) and ramen in clear seafood broth with Iberico pork and white truffle oil (starting from $98) showcasing the restaurant’s fusion chops. Keep in mind that the wait for mains (especially roasted items) can often reach about 30 minutes, so don’t expect a breezy business lunch—instead, take inspiration from the French and take it slow with a cup of coffee or glass of wine on the patio.
Figaro, LG/F, 2 Shin Hing Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2985 9969