A lot of restaurants in Hong Kong have the right idea about how to please their customers yet lack the means to actually achieve success. For Le Chéri, tucked away towards the top of Centre Street, this couldn’t be closer to the truth. Terence Leung and his partners from Yu Lung Group set up Le Chéri through a sheer passion for European food. The cuisine is classed as Italian-French fusion, served alongside a raw oyster bar. The décor, however, certainly does not reflect the choice of cuisine: red velvet and fake leather chairs, black glittery walls with one rather tacky, glitzy mosaic wall. All that was missing were some over the top chandeliers to give it that oh-so-classy Chinese restaurant décor we all know and love.
After being told that our first choice of white wine was sold out, our second choice was served at an insipid room temperature after we had already received our starters. Alarm bells were already going off in our heads. Moving on to the appetisers, our baked pumpkin cannelloni with pesto ($58), which sounded so promising, was an utter disappointment: a tiny portion of chewy pasta with a tasteless filling. I say ‘our’ first starter because, although we had each ordered our own starter and our own main, à la Chinese, every dish was put in the centre of the table, one at a time, to be shared. The second starter, Italian style broccoli calamari salad ($58), brought our hopes back up. A very simple dish, yet very fresh, drizzled with a light lemon vinaigrette which was rather pleasing.
The pan-fried black cod fillet with eggplant cream sauce pasta ($198), although lacking a little seasoning, was surprisingly good. The pan-fried Netherland veal tenderloin with zucchini and bacon ($198) could have been incredible but was a touch overcooked. Nevertheless, it had a great flavour, served in a shallot cream sauce with creamy mashed potato to soak it up.
The one dessert option, crème brulée ($40), although cold, was tasty. We ordered one to split, but were given an extra one on the house, which was ideal as it was a little too small to share.
Le Chéri has all the right ideas (apart from the décor) to succeed, but is still getting a lot of fundamental things wrong. We’d really like to see it do well, but they first need to iron out a few kinks before there’s a good chance of us returning. Ale Wilkinson
Shop 6-7, G/F, Wah Fai Court, 1-6 Ying Wa Tce, Sai Ying Pun, 3480 0717; www.lecherihk.com. Tue-Sun 11am-2.30pm & 6.30pm-11pm. Dinner for two: around $550.
|Venue name:||Le Cheri Fusion Villa (Closed)|
Shop 6-7, G/F, Wah Fai Court, 1-6 Ying Wa Tce, Sai Ying Pun