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Tuesday 20 November 2012

Keeping it in the Family: Les Fils à Maman

In Hong Kong a lot of us expat brats are miles and miles away from any family, meaning that we're effectively a pack of orphans roaming around a foreign city. No Dads to come and put up shelves when we move into a new shoebox flat, no baby nieces and nephews to use as an excuse for going to see Madagascar 3 and no Mums to tell us that we look like we need a good meal (even if we don't) and then cook us up a hearty, home-cooked, waistband-busting feast. 

But listen up all expat orphans (and those who have culinary challenged Mums in Hong Kong) - today the Hong Kong outpost of Le Fils à Maman officially opens which means that we can all now get a plate of home-cooked goodness any time we need a pep up. It may not be cooked up in our own homes by our own Mums but it's definitely the next best thing.

The Concept: Four childhood friends decided to open up a restaurant in Paris serving up their childhood favourites cooked just as their mothers used to make them. In the boys own words, the dishes they cooked would be "both scrumptious and simple but most importantly, wholesome... and not lacking in the key ingredient, love." And the nostalgia didn't end there, the restaurant would also be a little eighties time warp harking back to the boys' childhood days of Tintin and Asterix, casette players and etch-a-sketches. Following a runaway success in Paris and with two further European outposts (in Brussels and Lyon) under their belts, Les Fils à Maman looked East and decided to bring us Hong Kongers a little taste of their Mothers' cooking.  

The Decor
Cosy and warm, the little space tucked down a narrow alleyway just off Hollywood Road manages to be modern and retro in equal parts. Chunky, scrubbed wooden tables, red leather booths and slate grey walls sit alongside shelves crammed with eighties books and memorabilia and corners wallpapered with cartoon decoupage. One part French farmhouse one part chi chi bistro with a generous sprinkling of cool kids' bedroom circa 1983.   

The Food: We popped in to to sample Les Fils à Maman on a mid-week school night for a casual, healthy supper (read lots of protein, minimal carbs and no dessert). We ordered a hodge podge of what we fancied - salmon tartare, the charcuterie board and one of the daily specials from the menu chalked up on the blackboard - poussin with apples and berries.

Simple, hearty, homely fare - each dish was just what we fancied and was gobbled up in record time. The poussin was particularly good - served in a miniature le Creuset casserole pot, the chicken was juicy and sweet and the fruits were the perfect tangy, autumnal accompaniment.    

Despite managing to stick to relatively healthy picks, we eyed the naughtier dishes on the menu greedily and will definitely be returning on a less calorie-controlled evening for burgers, deep-fried baby bells and decadently sinful desserts. 

Les Fils à Maman delivers in its mission to cook simple but scrumptious, wholesome grub. This is delicious comfort food with a little French twist - surely destined to become an expat orphan institution. We say go often with empty tummies and return back to your shoebox flat feeling a little more loved.

Les Fils à Maman
LG/F 75 Hollywood Road
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2871 0045

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