I have to thank my lucky stars that I met Eat Love Write's ever so clued in author, who brought me to ABC Kitchen, a French food stand in Sheung Wan's Queen St. Market. Prior to this I'd never even known this market existed, let alone that ex-chefs of M on the Fringe (now temporarily closed while they find a new location) had opened an eatery here.
We came at lunchtime when set lunches as well as a short a la carte menu are offered. I was told that they did M's signature suckling pig here and was keen to try it, alas, I found it on the a la carte menu, but was told it would be a 20-minute wait - something I couldn't usually afford at lunch hour (yes, singular 'hour', though at times I do push it, such as for this tweetup at L'Atelier de Robuchon late last year tee hee).
For starters there was French onion soup and a salad (I think)? The former seemed much more interesting, made of a rich bouillon and with quite a bit of thinly-cut, sweet, near-dissolved onion, but not so much that you feel like you're eating onion cooked in bouillon. The bread is baked in house, and while they don't serve bread baskets at lunchtime, there was a slice of grilled bread atop the soup. Speaking of which, I would have liked to see more cheese on that toast... Overall it tasted fine, though quite clear/light - I'd say it's been Hong Kong-ified, which isn't always a bad thing...
There were a couple of mains to choose from, and being the good blogger that I am, I forgot to note them down, or even take a pic of the menu, so I've forgotten. I chose the braised oxtail, served with linguine or risotto, and I chose the latter. The oxtail itself was soft, though not overly so, and in my opinion could have done with a bit more sinew and fat attached (I think they cleaned what they could before braising, and the tail itself might not have had much sinew...), which would have rendered a richer result. Here, the braising liquid was light, like the soup, which was perfectly fine, if not less satisfying than I'd envisioned. That said, we're not mid-winter anymore, so to their credit, perhaps this is a good spring rendition. It's also served with a couple of shards of grilled pumpkin. The risotto was done nicely al dente, though it wasn't the best at soaking up the sauce. Nonetheless the dish was enjoyable, though not unlike having rice in soup - a not-to-heavy comfort food.
The set also comes with a coffee/tea - the coffee seemed to be Japanese-style (siphon? In any case, not espresso), and very decent for a coffee that comes in a set lunch.
It was all very well executed, though I can't help thinking that the dishes have been made much lighter and subtler for Cantonese palates (and perhaps health-conscious office workers). In many ways, I too have a Canto palate, so this wasn't unenjoyable by my standards, so don't go expecting traditional French food of France, or even hearty modern European a la M, and you'll be just fine. And I really love it that proper(ish) western food is being served daipaidong-style in a wet market - why didn't anyone think of it earlier? (Or maybe someone did but I just didn't know...)
1/F Queen St Cooked Food Centre
1 Queen Street
+852 9278 8227
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