Kennedy Town is one step closer towards becoming a Little Paris with the addition of the adorably named, casual dining spot Picnic on Forbes by chef Philippe Orrico (he of the Michelin-starred On Dining and Upper Modern Bistro). Conveniently located only steps away from the local MTR station, Picnic offers up a chic, yet unpretentious atmosphere. Its modern décor mimics the great outdoors, coloured in forest green and lined with wood and marble.
The menu sticks to tried and tested French comfort foods – the signature being the rotisserie chicken – complemented by sharing plates such as tartars and salads, pizzas and a handsome selection of cheeses. In order to sample everything though, the best option is to order – you guessed it – the picnic basket (starting at $298), which is carefully curated and packaged with about eight to nine items (also available for takeout).
A few of the highlights from our spread include the refreshing chilled mint pea soup. Neither too creamy nor too watery, it’s just the right consistency for you to enjoy and fully savour the delicately sweet taste. A second delight are the baby radishes, still with their stems, dipped in squid ink. They prove a great little snack, with a subtle sharp kick that blends well with the smooth, creamy sauce. An interesting twist comes in the form of marinated tuna and mussels. It’s an unusual pairing but, surprisingly, the dish isn’t excessively fishy, and the contrasting textures make for a pleasing bite. All in all, the picnic basket is a delectable bento box-style set up, with cooked dishes, raw dishes and pickled dishes. The only drawback is the heaviness of the experience. There are one too many creamy dishes and the basket could really do away with the underwhelming, paste-like foie gras custard. To top things off, we try a quarter French chicken ($168) to see if it matches the hype. Sadly, it doesn’t – at least not quite yet.
However, taken as a whole, if you’re looking for a chill Sunday afternoon café with a handsome spread of French favorites, if a bit on the pricey side, Picnic on Forbes can more than satisfy your need for weekend indulgence. Arthur Tam
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Shop C&D, 38 Forbes St, Kennedy Town