GF 43A Elgin St, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2529 3100
Hong Kong thrives on novelty and innovation, so when an eatery such as 12,000 Francs comes along, people tend to take notice. With a unique food concept based on preservation, an enviable wine list and a highly decorated chef, 12,000 Francs sets the stage for a notable night out on the town.
To understand 12,000 Francs you have to travel back to 1795, the year Napoléon Bonaparte o ered a sizable cash prize of 12,000 francs to anyone able to devise a method of preserving food for his armies – a feat eventually accomplished by confectioner Nicolas Appert. Since then, smoking, salting and curing have been an essential part of food preservation and preparation; at 12,000 Francs, they represent the cornerstones to a menu that excites at every turn.
The head chef is Conor Beach, whose insistence on making everything from scratch is a crucial component to his kitchen philosophy. His journey in Hong Kong began as the chef de cuisine of the art-centric restaurant, Bibo, before graduating to open contemporary Balinese restaurant, Tri, within the same restaurant group.
At the end of 2016, Conor joined Woolly Pig Concepts Hong Kong – started by husband- and-wife hospitality duo, Chris and Bronwyn Cheung – to launch 12,000 Francs. Here, he has combined his experiences in cooking French, European and Southeast Asian cuisines to create an eclectic menu that is rooted in traditional and contemporary preservation methods and touts the advantages of curing.
You’ll want to start with a few of the house-made charcuterie items, such as smoked rillettes spiced with Thai herbs and pickled
chilli or Kurobuta pork terrine and pickled vegetables with sourdough toast. The latter also arrives by the loaf: a dark, malted baguette boasting a crackling crust and intensely aromatic chewy crumb that comes into its own when slathered in soft cultured butter.
With your appetite whet, move on to creamy burrata with sundried tomato and curry leaf, con t spiced duck, and raw bonito in an aubergine olive oil. All dishes are designed to share, including the mains, such as short rib pastrami that’s brined on the bone, black cod with roasted eggplant puree and farro with cauli ower and pickled mushroom. With each dish, Conor demonstrates the advantages of smoking, salting and pickling to add depth of avour and dimension.
To further calibrate your palate, the 80-label wine list is a gift for any oenophile. Under the direction of Assistant Manager and Sommelier, Robin Samonte, the rare wines have been carefully curated to pair with the unique menu, with a focus on small producers from all over the world.
Meanwhile, eclectic interiors set a distinct sense of time and place: Paire de Porcs wine buckets and Josephine bar stools contribute to an elegant urban design, punctuated with vintage tile patterns, turquoise walls and Napoleonic-era elements.
12,000 Francs becomes even more intimate at night, when the casual eatery transforms into a cosy wine bar where boutique labels share the spotlight with the innovative small plates. Whether you’re a lover of food or wine, your palate will thank you for making the trip to 12,000 Francs, an artisanal spot C that celebrates global gastronomy.