Musings of a bon vivant in Hong Kong

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Lunch in Chocolate Hévin

I am a chocolate window shopper. I let my eyes lovingly take in pretty displays of truffles, pralines and cocoa balls, and drink in my calories that way! Jean-Paul Hévin is one such chocolatier whose window-front on Lyndhurst Terrace is a visual pleasure whenever I walk past. Although I count myself lucky that I am not a chocolate junkie like Rach, I have demolished their chocolates before with gusto – I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there are more than just these delicacies on offer.

Jean-Paul Hévin chocolate cake!

Jean-Paul Hévin chocolate cake!

Who would have thought that behind those rows of tasty treats, there is also a proper feast to be had? Aside from Jean-Paul Hévin’s chocolates, or ‘black pearls’ as he calls them (as each piece is created from the highest-quality ingredients), the ‘Boutique et Bar à Chocolat’ has now launched a two-course set lunch. The set lunch comprises a soup or salad plus a main course of the day (which alternates between fish, meat and vegetarian pasta or risotto dishes) for a very reasonably priced $108 – and if you need to end on a sweet note, you can indulge in a slice of one of Jean-Paul Hévin’s six signature chocolate cakes for an additional $40.

When Rach and I stepped into the chocolate zone, our noses were immediately assailed by delicious wafts of cocoa – and sadly, our ears were also assaulted by the grating construction noises out on Lyndhurst Terrace! With our seats by the window (and outside din notwithstanding), the environment was relaxing and the meal quite delicious, making it a nice little spot for your lunch break if you work nearby.Jean-Paul Hevin Chocolatier - Lyndhurst Terrace - Second Floor 2

With a choice of either the green pea soup or celeriac remoulade to start, Rach and I decided to get one of each so we could try a bit of both (sharing is caring, after all!). The celeriac remoulade, a lovely mildly piquant celeriac mash, was a scrumptious start to the lunch, going well with the green apple and Parma ham. Rach’s green pea soup was creamy and satisfying but importantly not overly heavy, paving the way for our mains.

Celeriac remoulade

Celeriac remoulade

Green pea soup

Green pea soup

For mains that day, there was a sweetcorn risotto, a garlic herb roasted chicken thigh and a crispy sole fillet on offer. The meat and fish dishes were calling to us, with Rach going for the sole fillet, while I opted for the chicken.

It wasn’t that I necessarily went to Jean-Paul Hévin with low expectations, but as their forte is clearly chocolate, I did wonder how their savoury offerings would fare. After the starters, I was looking forward to the mains, and I was quietly impressed. My garlic roasted chicken was excellent – the meat succulent and the skin nice and crispy. The accompanying soft polenta and mushroom ratatouille was also good and I cleaned my plate with relish. Rach’s sole fillet was pleasing to the eye and equally well executed, with a delightful lemon chilli remoulade to give the fillet a bit of zest. The accompanying buttered new potatoes were also a hit.

Garlic-roasted chicken

Garlic-roasted chicken

Sole fillet

Sole fillet

But one cannot leave a chocolatier without some chocolate, so Rach and I each ordered their signature ‘Chocolat chaud Parisien’, classic Parisien hot chocolate made using cocoa from Central America. I loved it – a happy medium of rich but not sickening, sweet but with the perfect amount of cocoa to prevent it from being just a cup of melted chocolate. The cocoa really shone through and I was surprised that I could actually detect some of the spicy tones alluded to on the menu.

Chocolat chaud Parisien

Chocolat chaud Parisien

The ultimate sweet ending was our gâteaux au chocolat, and at an additional $40 to your set-lunch, it’s a very good deal indeed, especially if you are a chocoholic. I adore praline chocolate so I immediately jumped to attention when I saw their hazelnut Quinola Gâteaux, whilst Rach went for the classic Guayaquil, a densely layered chocolate almond dream.

Guayaquil gateaux

Guayaquil gateaux

I was an utter glutton and finished the lot. My Quinola was divine and I could easily become a total chocoholic if I were to live or work anywhere near Jean-Paul Hévin!

I was pleasantly surprised by Jean-Paul Hévin’s set lunch and I am glad to see that they have made the leap from patisserie and chocolatier to small restaurant. Their dishes were well prepared, very enjoyable and at $108 for two-courses, extremely reasonable for the standard. Jean-Paul Hévin already makes for a sweet addition to Lyndhurst Terrace, but their lunch offerings ensure that they’re more than just a candy-coated shop front.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5 (That chocolate gateaux completely won me over)

The set lunch costs $108 (with an additional $40 for dessert) and is served Monday-Friday, 12-2pm.


Jean-Paul Hévin Boutique and Chocolate Bar, No. 13, Lyndhurst Terrace, Central, Hong Kong, 2851 0633

You can also read this review on Sassy.

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Fuelling the Appetite at AMMO

It’s not often that a new restaurant finds a unique setting in Hong Kong. But new kid on the block AMMO has found a fiery site at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, formerly an explosives magazine compound created by the British Army in the mid-19th century.
Nestled against a bountiful backdrop of greenery and foliage, AMMO’s floor-to-ceiling glass construction looks like a very classy greenhouse with copper embellishments: spiral staircases cleverly suspended as chandeliers, a huge copper mural on the wall and a bunker-like ceiling. Overall, the modern sleek design beautifully represents the site’s former use.

Given the location, look and feel of the place, one would expect the cuisine to be on the steep side, but Chefs Tony Cheng and Roland Schuller (the man behind The Drawing Room in Causeway Bay) have created a focused menu for diners that is elegant but affordable. One can enjoy all the trappings of a fine dining restaurant but without the pretension. The a la carte menu has a lovely selection of starters and scrumptious pastas, some of which have Asian flavours and elements infused, thus reflecting Chef Tony Cheng’s aim of a cross-cultural offering (there is a tapas bar menu too).

A big attraction is the delicious 3-course set lunch menu, which has an attractive price ($188 +10% per person) and is changed on a weekly basis. Our lovely host Lauren thankfully chose a selection of dishes both a la carte and set menu for’s Resham, Rach and I to feast on, which saved us from the agony of trying to pick dishes as frankly, we wanted to eat everything!

We sampled the light and refreshing sweet Japanese prawn with cherry gazpacho from the set menu, swiftly followed by some excellent grilled scallops with ginger, chives and Japanese pumpkin (an a la carte appetiser). The scallops were plump, delicately seasoned and perfected cooked and were complimented by the pumpkin puree.

A standout starter and an AMMO favourite is the slow cooked egg with toro, sea urchin and zucchini sauce. It was extremely satisfying breaking the egg and seeing the gorgeous runny yolk ooze and mix in with the rest of the ingredients on the plate. The freshness of the toro and the urchin plus the egg was like a party in my mouth!

We gleefully tucked into four pasta dishes for mains. Rach commented that sometimes pasta portions are so huge that you can’t fully appreciate the flavours, instead spending time wrestling with a mound of carbs; however at AMMO, the portions were well controlled, the homemade pasta (made with chicken eggs) nicely al dente and the sauce allowed to do the talking.

The tuna tartar taglioni had a piquant yoghurt sauce that added a wonderful depth to the pasta. For a pasta dish, it’s relatively light and I would recommend it (should it appear again in the future), if you are seeking something a little less heavy going at lunch.

The angel hair with uni, tomatoes and garlic chips was a solid dish and again, perfectly seasoned. If you’re a fan of uni, you’ll enjoy mixing the creamy sea urchin into the angel hair and tasting that rich, slightly sweet flavour of the sea.

I loved the pappardelle with veal and pork meatballs; I could’ve eaten a whole plate of the meatballs alone, they were that tasty. I enjoyed the egginess of the pappardelle, which soaked up the superb tomato sauce and makes you hanker for more.

But the real triumph of the pasta mains was the Burrata cheese ravioli with Peking duck ragout. It was hard work sharing this dish, and if you’re as much of a cheese fanatic as I am, this is the piece de resistance! Everything about this dish was sublime, from the creaminess of the cheese, to the soft yet firm and chewy bounce of the ravioli, down to the salty meatiness of the duck ragout. I was in pasta heaven.

Last, but definitely not least, were the desserts. We had the mochi with fresh berry from the set menu and the pan-fried brioche and vanilla panna cotta from the a la carte. I love it when panna cotta has lots of visible vanilla seeds, and AMMO’s was delectable and surprisingly light. 

The brioche was fabulous and very reminiscent of the kind of French toast you’d make for yourself as a naughty treat – beautiful and crisp on the outside, soft and rich on the inside. The mochi were bite-sized fruity delights and made for a great palate cleanser.

Asia Society Hong Kong Centre has hit the right note by establishing AMMO and bridging the gap between casual affordable cuisine and fine dining. The location is fantastic, though a little out of the way, and on the two occasions I’ve been, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the food, the decor and the ambience. Service is smooth and friendly, and it feels as if you’re dining somewhere quite swish. And the best part is that your wallet doesn’t tremble at the sight of the bill when it arrives.

Chopstixfix rating: 4/5


AMMO, Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong, 2537 9888

You can also read the review on Sassy.