A restaurant review of Louise
Taking over the space which previously housed Aberdeen Street Social, Louise made its debut in 2019 and has already gained the likes of many—plus it’s already got a Michelin star to its name. The French fine dining restaurant is helmed by Chef Julien Royer of Odette, the two-starred Michelin restaurant in Singapore, and pays tribute to home cooked eats and international flavours. Cha Siu Papers Times visited the ambient eatery for a taste of the best dishes on the menu.
The two-story establishment took a glamorous makeover from renowned Hong Kong-designer Andre Fu (also behind The Upper House and Artus K11) and presents a contemporary-chic atmosphere. Another eatery by JIA Group, the space used to be home to Aberdeen Street Social (which was also under the same reign), and is situated in the art hub PMQ. On the ground floor, guests can lounge in the open-air seating area or indoors for a pre-dinner drink with canapés. Head upstairs to the dining area (which opens at 6:30pm) and prepare for decadent French dining within a cosy space.
Although Louise serves fine dining food (with a price and quality to match), the restaurant is in fact completely unpretentious and completely welcoming. Decked in colonial-style interiors—think deep wood and old-school barbershop chairs—the emerald green theme used throughout showcases an inviting atmosphere. After a couple of cocktails in the lounge area, we headed upstairs in time for dinner.
37-year-old French-born Julien Royer is an internationally-acclaimed chef with an impressive story. His Singaporean debut at Odette in 2015 earned two Michelin stars after only nine months of opening, whilst his Hong Kong outpost, Louise, received its first Michelin star within half a year since opening. Pretty impressive, one could say.
Executive Chef at Louise Franckelie Laloum also has a long line of culinary applause. We were fortunate enough to meet Chef Laloum during our visit to Louise and he was nothing short of sweet and helpful throughout the meal—guiding us through each dish. Growing up as the son of bistro owners, Franckelie realised his passion for cooking when he turned 16 and has picked up his skills over the years working in Paris, Shanghai, Tokyo (where he earned the Ritz Carlton’s Azure 45’s first Michelin star), then Hong Kong. Close partners with Royer, the pair made the menu at Louise based on their shared upbringings in countryside France.
We left everything to order in Chef Laloum’s capable hands. Starting with a basket of fresh bread and French butter, we dove into the warm pre-meal starter—it’s so rare to get out-of-the-oven bread these days, after all.
We then had the vegan Chilled Sweet Pea Veloute with Almond Tofu (HK$198) as a cold yet refreshing appetiser.
Next came the Homemade Louise Paté en Croûte (HK$238), a traditional French dish combining chicken, duck and foie gras, pressed together with a golden pastry and subtle hints of olives for a sweet-meets-savoury taste reminiscent of authentic home-cooked regional cuisine.
Another vegetarian dish on the menu, and whilst asparagus was in season at the time, the Pertuis Green Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce and Kampot Pepper (HK$298) was a delight—the sweetness from the asparagus complemented the savoury hollandaise for a satisfying match and tingle to the taste buds.
Now, the main dish which garnered the attention of many—the roast chicken—came next. A whole Roasted Yellow Chicken (HK$958) which must be ordered 50 minutes in advance, was the star of the show—but that shouldn’t come as a total surprise. The dish (which serves 2-4 people, us being a crowd of two) is a full chicken, and a signature meal from the Louise menu. The roast chicken is cut just in front of the open kitchen, where we had front row seats (next to the cooking boards). After it was served fresh in front of us, Chef Laloum came out to express his anticipation for us to try it.
He explained the long cooking process behind the dish, and it’s a spectacular one. First, the chefs brine the chicken for 24 hours, then they sous vide it for three hours, before leaving it for four days to dry out. Next, the chefs roast it in the oven and, quite importantly, the legs are taken off when the breasts are ready to ensure that the tenderness is consistent throughout.
The result? A melt-in-your-mouth chicken experience which elevates probably most, if not all, (for us anyway) of previous traditional roasts. The dish also came with Niigata rice en cocotte (inspired by the Chef’s time in Tokyo) and salad. We had quite a few leftovers which the staff were more than happy for us to take away (and us, ecstatic) as well as the chicken bone which they recommended we make soup from.
For dessert, we tried two of the recommendations from the pastry chefs: the ‘Grand Cru’ Chocolate (HK$148) and the Marinated Strawberries, Madagascar Vanilla Raw Cream, Rhubarb Sorbet, Strawberry Juice, Caramelised Crunchy Puff Pastry (HK$128) which made a light yet fulfilling sweet treat to the meal.
We were also brought a selection of fine chocolates and truffles as a heartwarming gesture from the team.
Upon being seated, we were actually offered a glass of bubbly to settle in which was a lovely surprise. During the meal, I tried a couple of the Louise signature cocktails including the La Bouteille de Suze (HK$108), an update on a classic G&T infused with fruity goodness including elderflower, orange and grapefruit, and the Lesly Smash (HK$108) which was a take on the Hendrick’s G&T with a touch of basil.
Louise pays homage to traditional French cooking with a modern, international update, as influenced by the Chef Royer’s experience gained from working abroad in different cuisines. The restaurant stays true however, to its home cooking-inspired techniques with an intention to welcome its guests with open arms—as if they are in a chic home per se. Service is impeccable at Louise, being super friendly and accommodating throughout the meal. One of the highlights was meeting Executive Chef Franckelie Laloum and discovering his fascinating heritage and cooking inspirations. Dine at Louise for a taste of authentic French fare in a stylish setting.
PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2866 0300, louise.hk