R’s Rating : 4/5 ☆☆☆☆ : EXCELLENT (Poor / Good / EXCELLENT)
This is my first post in the High Tea & Hot Chocolate series, and already I can tell that there’s a definite bias towards chocolate reviewing. What can I say? I’m a chocoholic! And maybe Hong Kong needs more specialist chocolate reviewers?
So here we go – the absurdly interesting ‘Initiation Menu’ at Jean Paul Hevin, served Mon-Sun from 11:30am-6pm.
A quiet little upstairs cafe perched above the ground floor chocolate shop on Lyndhurst Terrace, this tranquil little restaurant serves lunch sets and chocolatey nibbles all day. Reasonably quiet during lunchtimes, it’s a wonderful place to meet people if you don’t want to be yelling over crowds or rushed out of your seat. Quite tai tai in style, it’s a little bit of a mini ladies luncheon type of place, designed in royal blue and gold tones with a hanging japanese zen terrarium platform facing the street. A perfect place to add to my list of places to chill / meet in A Lady’s Hong Kong!
With a cold mint pea starter topped with cream foam, the set is off to a bizarrely beautiful start. Served in a triangular glass vial with fresh flowers encased underneath, this dish is pretty and pert. And sprinkled with a gentle dusting of cocoa powder upon serving, of course.
The next dish actually had me raise my eyebrows. Foie gras with cacao nibs and dark chocolate sauce? Really? Would that work? Well apparently it did, quite well indeed, because it vanished quite quickly. The perfectly sized portion of soft creamy melt-in-your-mouth foie gras blended exquisitely with the deep richness of the dark chocolate sauce, with the cacao nibs giving a slight tang of bitterness. Yes, yum! Although it certainly doesn’t photograph terribly well, I must admit. (I tried!)
I forgot to photograph the cod.
Next was the cod fillet with black olives crust, saffron and extra bitter dark chocolate sauce with sauteed spinach. This could have gone quite wrong had the sauce not been quite bitter enough, but the cod was fresh and briskly tender and the bitter chocolate sauce was quite warm in flavour and didn’t interfere or overpower the palate too much. The dark chocolate on the sauteed spinach was another surprise, with the dense dark vegetables cajoling with the sauce to create delicious mouthfuls of what could possibly be the healthiest indulgence on the planet.
And after that whole joyful melody of flavour combining, we returned to good old favourites, with dessert arriving as a long mini platter of small chocolate pieces, a chocolate toffee and a pink macaron paired with a small hot chocolate. While the macaron, toffee and chocolates were a little much for me to try at that point since I wanted to retain the flavour of the bitter chocolate sauce on my palate, I simply indulged in the deep warm flavours of the strong and rich hot chocolate. I must say that Jean Paul Hevin does do some of the best proper hot chocolates around – not too sweet, very strong, and available in a number of options. They are less silky smooth than somewhere like Le Gouter Bernadaud, but they have much more flavour and less milk. A true hot chocolate. The hot chocolate menu is quite extensive compared to most places.
I found that the chocolate, rather than fighting with or detracting from the flavours of the foods, instead brought the whole meal together. The cacao theme grew and blossomed from the first gentle sprinkling to the next darker drizzle and the final smoothly bitter sauce, ending with a wash of delights for dessert. Personally I was quite happy without the final chocolate pieces and macaron, but the dessert chocolate was definitely some of the best in town.
With my recent health issues, I’m looking forward to returning to cutting back on most other foods and upping my chocolate intake as I progress with this series. Don’t ask me why this works for me, but it always has, and I’m looking forward to getting back to my roots of chocoholicism and mini portions.
Having said that, I shall definitely be attending the Jean Paul Hevin chocolate master class sessions on Aug 26/27th at their Lyndhurst Terrace chocolate bar.
If you’re interested and love chocolate as much as I do, you can find more info on their instagram @jeanpaulhevinhk or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Fabulously eccentric TV host, curvaceous model and founder of Hong Kong ’s first luxury corset brand, Pearls & Arsenic. I love sharing my passion for all things elegant and live with my Dearest Beloved and a fluffy Angora rabbit named Lord Pemberly III, who is a ridiculous snob. Find me on IG @RavenTao or FB : Raven Tao
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