By: Brooke Chenoweth
A new month and a new restaurant for Hong Kong, here’s our latest review on this bakery-restaurant nestled in Lee Tung Avenue.
For its first foray into casual dining, the team at Dining Concepts has brought the Le Pain Quotidien brand to Hong Kong, in the hopes of encouraging us all to sit down, slow down and eat better.
The first thing you notice when you walk into Le Pain Quotidien isn’t the divine aroma of fresh pastries or the classical music playing overhead, and it’s not the very cool rustic, reclaimed wood décor. It’s the calm that meets you as you step through the doors – which is surprising given it’s on one of the busiest strips of Johnston Road in Wan Chai.
This “little oasis of tranquillity” (as it’s described by global CEO Vincent Herbert) is quite deliberate, and the outdoor patio, with its hanging baskets of flowers, only adds to that vibe.
When Le Pain Quotidien was founded in Brussels by Alain Coumont 25 years ago, its aim was clear: to create a place where people could come to share food that was simple, traditional and wholesome. Today, Vincent Herbert believes it’s a concept that is more relevant than ever. He speaks about the way our hectic lifestyles can leave us feeling isolated – especially as expats without family around. “Big cities can be very busy,” says Vincent, “but it’s easy to be lonely, even when you’re surrounded by lots of people.” The communal table that is a feature at every LPQ restaurant is designed to change that. It’s a space that encourages sharing, allowing strangers and friends to take time out of their busy days to connect over a meal, any time of day.
Of course, the food is also important, and LPQ is known worldwide for being healthy, sustainable and nourishing – for both body and soul. Le Pain Quotidien means “daily bread”, and true to this, the breads and pastries are made fresh every day; wherever possible, the ingredients used are organic. What’s more, the restaurant is carbon-neutral – there’s as big a commitment to the environment as there is to providing really good food. It’s food you can feel good about eating.
“We’re trying to educate people about food,” says Vincent. “There’s a purpose behind our product; we want to encourage people to think about what they’re putting in their bodies, and show them that when you eat well, you feel well.” And eating in a place that invites relaxation and reconnection is going to make you feel even better.
I’m not French, but one bite of the pain au chocolat here and I was instantly transported to the streets of Paris – not an experience you often get in Hong Kong! There’s something familiar and comforting about Le Pain Quotidien, and, wherever you’re from in the world, it’s nice to know that you can find a place that gives you that feeling, right here in Hong Kong.
Le Pain Quotidien is at G/F, The Avenue, Lee Tung Avenue, Wan Chai (enter off Johnston Road).
2520 1801 | lepainquotidien.com.hk
For more ideas on places to eat in Hong Kong take a look at our Wine and Dine page updated weekly.