[HK] Frites Belgium on Tap - Wanchai

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Frites restaurant at Wanchai is the latest addition to the family, paying homage to authentic Belgian style with beers poured in the age-old traditional way. With a well-rounded selection of delights to suit palate of all levels, Frites promises haute cuisine sticking to time-honoured traditions in Belgium.

Chicken salad with watermelon (part of express lunch set)

This was a perfect appetizer to kickstart one's lunch. Robust with flavours from the sweet and crunchy watermelon, it complemented the soft and tender chicken breast slices. The accompanying sauce tasted of tamarind, which infused an appropriate amount of acidity to the dish. Coupled with some balsamic vinegar sauce, it rounded up the entrée perfectly, with just the right balance in flavours and texture.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Flemish onion soup

This was a rich onion and leek soup, with croutons and melted gruyere. It was a dish with strong, dominating flavour to begin with owed to the pungent aroma of the onions. This was enhanced by the melted gruyere cheese, giving the soup a rich and creamy taste to savour. Depending on the individual, it might be too strong an entrée to awaken the taste buds, but if you are in the mood for something savoury, this would certainly fit the bill.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Frites House Mussels

This pot of mussels made me reminisced the finest pot of mussels tried by the coast in Wales earlier this summer. It came served with a supplementary empty bowl for the purpose of containing the empty shells. It was largely similar, with diced tomatoes, garlic, onions, light cream and fresh chives, allowing the mussels to give off the natural sweetness. The light cream sauce which formed the base for this dish was luscious and milky, making it a perfect dip for the toasted slices. The sauce was enough to delight our palate, stopping just shy of satiating our appetite with its creaminess.

It was hard to stop reaching out for the second and subsequently third mussel after trying the first. My concern was the inconsistency in the sizes of the mussels. For any forms of fine dining, consistency is key, and that element was left exposed in this dish.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Salade Nicoise

This was another tantalising appetizer, with seared tuna, olives, anchovies, runner beans, baby potatoes, lettuce and sliced boiled eggs. The tuna was cooked to sheer perfection, with a seared layer on the surface yet maintaining a pinkish rawness in the mid-section of the meat. The dressing was rich with cream being the underlying sauce. There was a lot going on in terms of flavours and textures with each mouthful, coming from the crisp texture of the lettuce, the tenderness of the seared tuna and crunchiness of the beans. It might look like a simple salad, but the fine cooking and attentive balancing of textures made it not too pedestrian.

Verdict: 8.0/10

Schnitzel and frites

Schnitzel is actually a breaded cutlet dish, made with boneless meat and thinned out with a hammer and subsequently coated in bread crumbs and deep fried. This was a crumbed pork loin, fried to golden brown crispy, accompanied with a portion of 'frites' and a crispy apple slaw. The one flaw with most deep fried dishes was that the meat underneath the layer of breadcrumbs coating tended to be too dry and stiff. This was unfortunately the case. As the meat was flattened out to a really thin layer, the increased surface area allowed the meat to be cooked readily. With the exterior coating carrying a golden brown crisp, it would be inevitable that the meat was slightly overcooked.

The crisp batter was excellent and crunched with each mouthful, which went well with the apple slaw, which tasted fresh crisp. The chef had attempted to sprinkle salt crystals onto the meat, perhaps to retain some of the much desired moisture in the cutlet, though it was scarcely successful.

Verdict: 6.5/10

Steak and frites

This was a grilled prime rib, served with hand cut steak 'frites' and completed with some greens and truffle mushroom compote butter. While I must admit that I did not personally try this dish, opinions were henceforth that of my friend's. There was enough moisture left in the grilled steak to give it a succulent bite, partly owed to the juicy fats from the red meat itself. It was served medium rare and was indeed how it should have been. The truffle mushroom compote butter was complimentary to enhance the flavours of the juicy meat. It was what it suggested, a rich and sinful indulgence and when melted on the warm steak, it was almost divine. The perfect testament was perhaps the emptying of the plate.

Verdict: 7.5/10

Spinach balls in curry, served with basmati rice (part of express lunch set)

The curry was mild and nowhere close to being what I would regard as spicy. In fact, it carried a tinge of mild sweetness in the aftertaste, but what made it appealing was the rich and creamy taste. The vegetarian spinach balls were packed dense, and was certainly full of nutrients. This was a relatively heavy dish given it being vegetarian, but certainly suited my palate and those at the table.

Verdict: 7.5/10

What better way than to wash all food down with a pint of beer.

As a side note, all sauces were prepared in a tray and available on each table. 

With the choice of either indoor or outdoor seating, it bore an uncanny resemblance to the European pubs. In general, the customer service was excellent and attentive to our requests. The food was certainly above average and would be close to the haute cuisine it promised to serve. One might perhaps experience better ambience during the evenings or perhaps when it was not a rushed lunch!

Frites Belgium on Tap
Shop 6, 1/F, Causeway Centre (Brim 28)
Harbour Road
Wan Chai
Tel: 2877 2422

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