Set on the lush grounds of Dempsey Hill, Claudine is chef-owner Julien Royer’s third concept amongst three-Michelin-starred Odette and one-Michelin-starred Louise in Hong Kong. Endearingly named after his mother, the restaurant serves up a classic range of comfort French cooking inspired by the flavours that the chef grew up with.
At first glance, Claudine is a ritzy affair where plush velvet banquettes in lush sage green and soft guava pink stand out against the swanky backdrop of a brass-backed bar. But once you settle in over the irresistible sourdough with Iberico butter, there’s an inviting warmth from the earthy red-clad walls tastefully balanced with botanicals showcasing locally foraged wild grasses encased within clear glass panels.
Forget about the heavily starched white table cloths – though the menu sees inklings of Royer’s contemporary fine-dining prints – Claudine is much more approachable. Dining here feels like an invite into Royer’s home where he shares his favourite quintessential French dishes with close friends and family.
Expect crowd favourites such as the classic Vol-Au-Vent – creamy veal sweetbreads and woody morel mushrooms in buttery puff pastry drenched over with an addictively moreish cognac cream sauce – and the Claudine Bouillabaisse – a hearty Provençal fish stew – featuring the use of carabinero prawns that feeds up to four.
With lunch hour, Claudine takes accessibility up a notch with the choice to savour a rotating series of lighter seasonal fare and favourite classics of the dinner menu. Depending on your level of appetite, you can choose between the two-course ($62) and three-course ($78) lunch where dishes highlight the likes of elegant eggplant caviar touched by smoke from the gently charred nasu; the refreshingly clean Niçoise salad; inimitable Vol-Au-Vent; fruity nutty cherry clafoutis; a vivacious strawberry gariguette and more.
“Claudine has been a long time in the making. It was inspired by my mother's cooking that I have held close to my heart for a long time,” shares Julien. Indeed worthy of all occasions – think conviviality such as a leisurely lunch in groups to intimate date night and special celebrations – Claudine should be on your bucket list.