Sunday, 11 October 2015

La Vache - steak frites Parisian style

There has been a long standing battle for the ownership of a national cuisine!  No, I'm not talking about the stoush between Australia and New Zealand over the beloved pavlova, I'm talking about something much more serious.

Steak-frites is a very common and popular dish served in brasseries throughout Europe, most notably in Belgium and France, where both lay claim as its birthplace.  Simply translated, it is a combination of steak and fries and in reality, many countries could probably lay claim to the dish.  Typically using entrecôte, French for the premium cut or rib eye, the fatty steak is usually cooked medium rare and served with golden fries and topped with a béarnaise sauce.

It's somewhat surprising to learn that Hong Kong has adopted the steak-frites revolution, with a serious number of players in the space.  In fact, SoHo in the Midlevels has more steak-frites restaurant than you can count, with Peel Street housing three within sight of each other!  I'd been eyeing off many of these brasseries and decided it was high time to check on out! 

With so many to choose from, I simply picked one that had the coolest name and best looking web site.  Conveniently located in Peel Street, stepping into La Vache was like being transported to Paris, the staff and the fit-out screamed chic Parisian charm.  We didn't have a reservation, but were informed that there was a table available, as long as we were out by 8pm - not a problem we assured our maitre 'd.

Funky murals depicting Parisian daily life adorned the walls, comfy looking booths decked out in traditional red and walls lined with empty wine bottles added to the illusion that we'd left HK behind. Even funkier placemats in the styling of the restaurant sat on the table, listing out the very simple menu. You see, the charm of a steak-frites restaurant is that here is only one item on the menu - no prizes for guessing.  

Our waitress came across with a crusty baguette and a simple question, how would we like our steaks cooked?  My request was for medium rare while the girl went for medium.  Out came a red maker and our preferences were written on the table!

Before our steak and fries came out, the simple and traditional green salad with walnuts and sliced radish for colour was delivered, I guess as a pretence that the meal would at least have one healthy element.  With a simple dressing, the salad was OK, I mean, how wrong can you go with something so simple?  The addition of walnuts added some sweetness and crunch to the salad.

It wasn't long before our salad plates were cleared and a table stand with a candle was placed between us and a silver tray with our steaks delivered.  The steak was already sliced into strips and our waitress placed a couple of pieces on each of our plates before piling on a stack of freshly cooked french fries.

The eye fillet was in credibly tender, I mean unbelievably tender!  I found my medium rare to be just a little bloody given the fat content of the meat, and while full of flavour, I think medium would have been better.  SC's medium had the fat rendered just a little bit more, which gave deepened the flavour with a slight caramelisation - and boy was it superb!  There was a 'secret recipe' béarnaise sauce that came with the steaks, which helped make them even yummier!  The béarnaise was excellent too, slightly sweet and not too acidic.

The fries were very traditional, golden in colour and very crunchy.  They weren't the best fries I've had but they were very good and very more(ish), which was just as well that they were all-you-can-eat!  We had several top-ups during our dinner but eventually reached a point where we'd had enough (I know, who'd have thunk it!)

We didn't stick around for dessert, we'd already consumed way more than we'd intended and were feeling sated and happy.

Service was excellent on our visit, with a regular check on how we were and any time the pile of fries looked like getting low, a waitress was there to offer more.  What was best about the La Vache meal was the price!  In a city where a steak often sets you back  HK $500+ or more, paying HK $278 seemed like a bargain, especially considering the salad and all you can eat fries!

We loved our visit to La Vache and now plan to check out a few more of the steak-frites places in town, but one thing we agreed, it would be hard going to get a better deal.  We've now added La Vache to our small list of places for a quick bite on our way home from work.

As for that pesky question, France or Belgium?  Well, the table next to us on the night was filled with some Frenchies looking quite at home - so let's run with that!

The house red - simple choices for wine too!
MR = Medium Rare - the only note our waitress made!
There were lots of mirrors
And murals around the walls
Bar dining - just like in France

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...