RESTAURANT REVIEW – Bon Bon Brasserie
Looking for a new European dining concept in Hong Kong? Denis Fahy recommends you try Margo…
An intimate brasserie-style modern European dining concept situated inside the Galleria in Central, Margo has impeccable credentials. The kitchen is helmed by talented chef Mario Paecke, former chef de cuisine of SOMM and sous chef of two-Michelin-starred Amber. Chef Mario strives to serve quintessential dishes that are light and fresh on the palate. By enhancing the natural flavours of high-quality ingredients, the restaurant offers contemporary European cuisine with German influences from Chef Mario’s native origins. Conveniently situated at street level, entry to Margo is easy and welcoming. Sitting by the window warming up with an aperitif (a house red in this case, the 2019 Faiveley Mercurey Vieilles Vignes) is a great way to prime your gastric juices for the feast that awaits.
The meal begins with freshly baked crispy onion bread rolls and herb butter. Digging in, I cast my eye over the restaurant and take in this contemporary, well-designed space: I particularly love the white Terrazo marble dining tables and coral pink banquettes. Elsewhere in the dining room, chef Mario puts his stamp on the space with his personal travel photographs on display throughout the restaurant, a cool touch that shines a light on chef’s personality. Dinner continues with häppchen or German snacks, which was inspired by Paecke’s East German upbringing. First up is an octopus terrine with artichoke, preserved Sicilian lemon and Ardoino olive, a sublime combination of Mediterranean flavours. This is followed by another häppchen, truffle croquettes with Alexandre Polmard beef carpaccio and truffle crème, which are gorgeously decadent. Then we’re onto the starters: a glorious seasonal salad with Reine Claude plum and Belper Knolle cheese. We also like the sound of the rainbow trout confit, which is served with potato salad, grilled leek and pickled radish.
Chef Mario’s German influences continue to abound with the mains: I sample the Königsberger Klopse, German meatballs in a creamy caper sauce originating from northern Germany. The chef recreates this beloved national dish with his mother’s pig and beef meatballs recipe, and pairs it with Bavarian potatoes, Norwegian langoustine tails, and creamy caper sauce. As the Hong Kong dining crowds adore steak and chips, Margo has cleverly included their take on this on the menu. The Ozaki rump steak frites uses a renowned Wagyu beef from Japan’s Miyazaki prefecture and is already becoming a firm crowd favourite.
Margo’s desserts and pastries are overseen by talented local pastry chef, Eane Wong, who combines traditional French techniques with Japanese-influenced artisanal Viennoiserie. Made with flour sourced from Yokohama, her signature sweets include Apple Vanilla Tatin, which rounds out the meal perfectly with its melt in the mouth pastry. We’re hoping to come back and sample both the caramel banana meringue and white peach and jasmine tea crumble with yogurt sorbet.
I grilled chef Mario on life as executive chef at Margo, and he patiently explained the process of preparation which begins painfully early each morning, and how he makes slight tweaks to dishes to keep Margo’s regular diners sweet. Want to chat with this charismatic chef? Then book in for the Chef’s Counter experience. Seating four guests at a time, it provides the opportunity to enjoy front-row seats to a highly interactive tasting menu curated by chef Mario: expect oysters, Hokkaido scallops and Wiener Schnitzel from this set menu, which bows out with a cheese platter with organic honey.
Having spent a pleasant evening in this classy new joint, we think that it’s not just the amazing produce but also Mario’s personality that’s the driving force behind Margo. We predict that this cosy spot will become a firm favourite for those seeking an authentic brasserie experience in the city. margohk.com