As parents of small children we prefer “date lunches” over late nights out, but tracking down restaurants that offer more than a set lunch for business types during the day can be tricky.
Fortunately, we discovered Upper Modern Bistro restaurant. Helmed by French Michelin-starred Chef Philippe Orrico, previously of St George’s at Hullet House, Upper Modern is an oasis of calm and cool on Upper Station Street in Sheung Wan. The interior is very masculine with blonde wood and grey tones, but the effect is immediately relaxing.
We decided to try both the set lunch menu and the à la carte, which varies little from the dinner menu. The wine list is excellent, as you would expect, and the knowledgeable staff were able to assist us with choosing wines to complement our meals.
Once our orders were taken, we were immediately presented with a bag of fresh crusty bread and butter – the bag a nice rustic touch. We then ordered the signature “63-degree egg” served on a bed of spinach, crab meat, mushrooms and Parma ham; this base was surprisingly light, allowing the perfectly cooked egg to be the star of the dish. From the set menu I had the gazpacho, subtle but refreshing. A tomato salad with Italian burrata and red fruits was beautifully presented, with fresh heirloom tomatoes and a burrata that was to die for.
The main from the set lunch was lamb tenderloin with lentils, piquillo peppers, and watercress. The generous serving of lamb was tender, though a little bland. Quail and foie gras pie with lentil sauce and greens was tastier, and not as heavy as one would expect; a side of greens with truffle shavings offered great balance to the rich pie.
For only $40, we got a dessert with the set lunch – delightful little lemon cupcakes with a raspberry sorbet. But we also had to try the “Upper Choc” from the main menu, which, in contrast, was rich and velvety, with high-quality dark chocolate forming the base of the ganache, candies and tempered chocolate wafer, all topped with a decadent dark chocolate ice cream. The hint of bitterness and lime zest, and the combination of textures, make this a must-try dessert.
The staff were attentive, friendly and made excellent recommendations, while the ambience was surprisingly relaxed and unpretentious for a venue of this calibre. However, Upper Modern Bistro still retains an air of fine dining – a delicate balance that is difficult to achieve. We could easily have spent the afternoon drinking wine and eating cheese under the expert guidance of in-house fromagier, Jeremy Evrard, but that will have to wait for next time.
MUST-TRY DISH: Upper Choc
Upper Modern Bistro
G/F, 6-14 Elegance Court,
Upper Station Street, Sheung Wan