Austin Rd W, 1, West Kowloon, Hong Kong
+852 2977 5266
From a rooftop in Paris’ Golden Triangle to the peak of the tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong, Le 39V has brought a slice of Parisian fine dining to the 852, offering a stunning birds-eye view of the city and critically acclaimed fare. The Michelin-star import from award-winning chef, Fr.d.ric Vardon, landed in Hong Kong in June 2017 and is a sumptuous addition to Hong Kong’s fine dining arsenal.
From the sleek and elegant decor to the reputable pedigree of the kitchen team, Le 39V certainly knows how to impress. At the helm is a well-known name in the world of French gastronomy, Fr.d.ric Vardon. The decorated chef previously studied under Jean-Pierre Marot-Gaudry and Alain Dutournier, before serving as corporate chef for Alain Ducasse for 14 years in restaurants such as Benoit Tokyo and SPOON by Alain Ducasse in Hong Kong. Under his own company CORFOU, Fr.d.ric has opened several restaurants in France, with the Michelin-star Le 39V representing the crown jewel, providing a swanky destination for Parisians on 39 Avenue George V.
Now Fr.d.ric has brought Le 39V to Hong Kong’s ICC tower. The award-winning chef has rounded up a team of Paris-trained professionals to inject the same measured discipline and seasoned service into the first overseas outlet for the group. Leading the kitchen in Hong Kong is Executive Chef de Cuisine, Nicolas Raynal, a fine dining restaurant veteran who also trained at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athenee. He is assisted by Chef Lai Yi-Hsuan and together they ensure that the kitchen operates with the same finesse and exemplary technique as its European sibling.
While classical French technique guides the kitchen, the food at Le 39V feels less contrived, with a heartier and rustic take on the cuisine. The fare is respectful of, but unrestricted by, the old rules and conventions of haute French cooking. Most dishes are a replica of the Parisian originals with a focus on seasonal ingredients and fresh produce.
Start your journey on a high note and go straight for the Kristal Gold Caviar, served classically with garnish and toast or with smoky eel and tiny potatoes in a luxurious velvety herb sauce. Follow this with the mushrooms ‘royale’, featuring a slow-cooked egg and little fingers of toasted bread to scoop up the lava-like yolk. Both dishes are novel in their compositions and feel rich and luxurious without being pretentious. When in season, white asparagus is served simply with a mustard gribiche sauce that allows the revered spears to shine.
For seafood options, the John Dory – sourced from Brittany – is a classic, paired simply with artichokes (when they’re in season) and a vibrant parsley juice. Line-caught maigre, a European sea bass, is a delicious match with green asparagus and lemon-thyme. Another standout is the lobster ravioli, with plump squares of pasta swimming delicately in a light bisque concentrated with the flavours of the sea.
Not a shellfish fan? The roasted farmhouse veal, rack of lamb with sweet capsicum and bulgur or beef tenderloin with croquette potatoes should satisfy any cravings. Each dish is beautifully prepared and supplemented by equally exciting veggies and sides.
Every item on the menu is a celebration of the season, which means peas can easily be swapped for asparagus, or beets for bell peppers, depending on the time of year. This ensures that all dishes are at the peak of freshness – a quality that’s essential to the elegant simplicity of French cooking.
The desserts are not to be passed over either – they shine distinctly in their own category with artful presentations and complex techniques. Once again seasonal produce is highlighted with the use of fruit sorbets throughout the dessert menu. Try the Grand Marnier souffle, light as air with its signature puffy top; or the chocolate religieuse made with sea salt chocolate shortbread and caramelised hazelnuts; or perhaps the Paris- Brest, crowned with a golden praline dome that shatters at the touch of a fork.
If you’re thirsty, a wine list of over 180 bottles featuring a wide selection of regional French wines pairs gracefully with the menu, referencing mostly French and Italian producers. The sophisticated menu is reflected in the tasteful decor, with sleek materials incorporated in the interiors from top to bottom. A textured panel of copper-gold flakes decorates the main dining room, with floor-to-ceiling windows and designer sofas from France, outfitted in burnt-orange leather. The overlapping, LED-lit ceiling highlights the open kitchen and Cristal Champagne Bar, inviting guests to settle in for a drink.
Le 39V is undoubtedly in a class of its own – a polished French institution that’s managed to maintain its reputable standards despite a journey across borders. The institution is an iconic dining destination in Paris and well on its way to being the same for Hong Kong, adding a noticeable sparkle to Kowloon’s stable of fine dining gems.
With finely orchestrated gastronomy served at an altitude of 465 metres, this is one pilgrimage every Francophile in the city should make.