Today’s French dining room isn’t the white tableclothed, heavy-curtained ideal of the mid-20th-century culinary stage. Restaurants are moving towards a trendier picture of the archetypal French restaurant, and if there was a face of that movement in Hong Kong, it would have to be Philippe Orrico – Hong Kong’s resident Gallic master and one of the city’s strongest standard-bearers for modern French cooking.
Entering the culinary world at age 24, Philippe graduated from chef de partie to sous chef in just a few short years under the legendary Pierre Gagnaire. After helping Gagnaire to open the acclaimed Pierre restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Philippe branched out with two highly lauded venues of his own, Upper Modern Bistro and ON Dining Kitchen & Lounge – both of which have attracted Michelin recognition.
Split over two levels, ON Dining is an open, airy venue oscillating between white and fuchsia tones with a dominant palette of metal, wood and glass. On the 29th floor, you’ll find ON Bistro & Bar, a casual space where guests can enjoy light bites while soaking in the 180-degree views from the outdoor terrace. One floor below, the main dining room is a more sophisticated affair with a large open kitchen.
Get ready to plump out your waistline with butter- and cream-reinforced dishes that pay homage to classical French cooking. From the appetisers’ selection, the foie gras creme brulee is pure indulgence, with its golden caramelised crust cracking to reveal a velvety smooth, liver-enriched custard. The same silky texture is present in the creamy lobster bisque, the oceanic flavour boosted from the juices of giant Spanish prawns.
For mains, dig into the sweet and succulent blue lobster, tender and flaky wild sea bass or roasted pigeon bearing a satisfyingly crispy skin. These pair well with a side of carbs – try the homemade tagliatelle: supple ribbons of sunshine-yellow pasta tossed with creamy sea urchin in a lobster ragu; or the risotto, which is creamy and decadent with a liberal shower of shaved Tasmanian black truffle.
Of course, you’ll want to save room for the cheese selection, prepared as a dessert course in the French style of dining. ON Dining’s selection is sensational, ranging from complex, aged comte to ripened roquefort with its pungent, distinct tang. Finally, a meal isn’t complete without wine pairings. Their sommelier will help you navigate the extensive wine list of over 500 labels, which includes big names as well as niche pours and carefully selected rising stars.
Striking a balance that’s rare to find in Hong Kong, ON Dining ticks off one box after the next: an elegant setting, forward-leaning food, polished service and one of the best wine and cheese cellars in town. Add to that the gorgeous views of the harbour and it’s easy to see why this critically acclaimed bistro has become one of the most sought-after French dining spots in the city.