A cosy and chic bistro in the heart of Central, Belon is a welcome slice of Paris in one of the city’s most vibrant areas. The pared-down SoHo space aims to strip away the stuffiness and formality of fine dining, creating a relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a long, unhurried dinner with friends.
Belon was created by Christopher Mark and Syed Asim Hussain, marking another notch in their belt of restaurants under the Black Sheep group. A native Canadian, Christopher started his career as a teenager in some of Canada’s best kitchens. From there, he ventured south, first working in Australia and then Hong Kong. After three years at venues like La Bodega, he embarked on a worldwide adventure, eventually returning to Hong Kong in 2005. In 2011 he left his role as Executive Chef and Partner at Dining Concepts to create Black Sheep Restaurants with partner, Syed Asim Hussain.
In contrast, Asim came to the business from a front of house perspective, having turned his back on a career in finance to embrace the atmosphere of the dining room. Together, the pair makes an unbeatable team, with over 13 restaurants under the Black Sheep name.
While the ambience is laid-back and easygoing, the food is anything but simple. Head Chef, Daniel Calvert, is a man with a mission, bringing together years of experience at top restaurants including The Ivy, Pied a Terre, Per Se and Epicure at Le Bristol, to wow and impress with his elegant, French-rooted creations featuring the best local and international produce.
Whether it’s seafood or meat, Daniel handles the ingredients with the utmost respect, letting the quality of the ingredients shine, using sauces that enhance and not overpower the natural flavours of the produce. Meanwhile, everything is made in-house from scratch, such as the house-leavened country bread served with salted Normandy butter.
You may find yourself starting the meal with a bowl of fire-roasted leeks with mussels splashed with Noilly Prat vermouth, before digging into a bowl of perfectly formed chestnut tortellini sprinkled with sharp pecorino sardo cheese.
Nose-to-tail butchery is also a key component of the kitchen’s mantra, as evidenced by the piece de resistance from the restaurant’s meat offerings: a yellow chicken sourced from a farm in Hong Kong’s New Territories, which comes to the table fully intact bearing a glorious herb bouquet before being carved back in the kitchen. The skin is crispy and golden brown, while the meat is tender and well seasoned, drizzled in its own jus.
A leisurely meal is best paired with a bottle from the restaurant’s French-focused selection of wines with natural and biodynamic pours starring front-and-centre. The curated drops are a reflection of the kitchen’s attention-to-detail, and Belon’s sommeliers are well equipped to recommend the best wine to pair with your food.
It is hard to find a restaurant in SoHo that doesn’t try to rush you out the door the minute you’re done, but Belon is just that – a place focused on bringing back the leisurely pace of dining, where you can enjoy the warm glow of the bistro long after the last bite of dessert is gone.