La Cantoche, G/F, 5 Wa Lane, 227 Hollywood Rd., Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
Nearest Train:Sheung Wan
Opening Hours:Mon-Sat noon-3pm, 7-11pm
Open Since:June, 2012
This off-the-beaten track and comfortable two-story loft definitely has a thing for pop culture. The M&M-colored seats, the retro-style graffiti sprayed over the white-washed brick walls, the jazzy Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop playing from a projector over the stairs (or clips from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” depending on which day you go) and a foosball table at the entrance all set the mood for the modern, unpretentious French food at La Cantoche.
We went for dinner on a Friday and had lunch there the following Monday, and let’s just say that all of the diners were pleasantly stuffed and looking forward to their next visit.
For dinner, we ordered meatballs to start with (which were gobbled up at record speed), a perfectly sized burger with a side of fried potato balls we wish we had more of right now, a lightly seasoned and tender medium-rare minced steak with mash, and an unfussy but well-executed chicken cordon bleu.
Throughout the course of the meal, the owner checked on us, made excellent recommendations and explained to us the reason he opened the restaurant (he really wants people to know there are “cool” French people in the world, much like himself). This is a man who makes you feel welcome, remembers you every time you come back and who really loves his food.
While this restaurant could have been lifted right out of the Lower East Side in Manhattan with its somewhat grainy and hipster vibe, one of the best parts of this place is that it’s hidden down a quiet alley in Sheung Wan.