New to the Restaurant Reviews Series? Have a look at the ReReM first.
Where: 1/F The Wellington, Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong
Damages: HK$ 520.– per pax (mains and desserts as described below, 1 glass of wine).
Would I go back? While there is a lot to like about Frites’ ambiance and concept, the plates tend to leave an after-taste of missed opportunities. I might go back to it to catch up with friends and have Western mussels (not so evident to find in HK), but I would not make the trip solely for the food.
Visited & Reviewed: December 2015
I first met with Frites in 2010, when they still had the restaurant in Central near Crawford House (H&M at the time, now Zara) and at which a life-size plastic Trappist monk welcomed the dinners. Then there was (and still is) the Quarry Bay outlet. Now, Frites has four restaurants: in Quarry Bay as mentioned, in Wan Chai, the latest in Causeway Bay and in Central/Sheung Wan – the subject of this review.
Our order was: a 1/2 kg serving of Frites House Mussels, the duck à l’orange, finishing off with a Bailey’s Crème Brulée and a waffle.
The mussels were nice, cooked through and the sauce – a little bitter – called for saucing it with the (provided) garlic bread. Some of them molluscs were not cleaned enough or selected well, giving a taste and texture of sand from time to time. The Frites, after all, the eponym dish of the place, were good and served with homemade mayo. Each table had a little basket/cart with a choice of sauces: ketchup, Worcestershire, mustards, tabasco, etc.
The duck was confit overcooked and not crispy. The piece itself is certainly good duck, adding minutes to the cook does not help and made the meat chewy. The orange sauce was sweet and well done but its over-presence made the skin soaked and not so enjoyable. The dish remained edible and was not sent back.
Desserts were announced to take a little time, probably owing to the waffle being prepared on demand. Which is sort of disappointing because the waffle was spongy and warmish instead of crispy and hot as a Belgian waffle should be.
Throughout our meal the service was ok, nothing too bad worth mentioning. Re-orders of drinks were offered.
Frites failed to send me away to Belgium for the duration of the meal by un-exciting my taste buds. It remains a valuable option for gatherings and catch-up with friends owing to its ambiance. But not for the food and not at that price point.