This week my friend and I had the pleasure visiting this newly established little restaurant hidden within the design/hipster side of Wan Chai. Hidden just off St Francis Street in Wan Chai, is FRANCIS – an intimate little restaurant bringing the best of Middle Eastern cuisine to the internationally diverse city that is Hong Kong.
Coming from a city like Melbourne, Australia where we really have great access to authentic international cuisine, sometimes I do find it a bit of a challenge to find comparable food (worth the price) in Hong Kong (especially when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine).
FRANCIS seats around 30 people but has a really intimate and social vibe to the place. It’s perfect for a dinner to catch up with a small group of friends (a bit noisy for first dates) but with the exterior layout almost like a window/bar/dining table, though you’re often seated next to total strangers where you might even find your conversations overlapping, it gives a unique kind of community feel, where it’s almost as if you’re dining with your extended family over a mega thanksgiving feast.
The menu is pretty simple, and there’s a variety of both smaller appetizers & mains to share. If you’re going a-la-carte, the team recommend you opt for around 3-4 appetizers and then 1-2 mains. As there were only two of us, we opted to go for the tasting menu which consisted of 10 dishes (including dessert) for HKD$360 per person!
This was pretty amazing value especially since we were able to get a taste of different dishes as they were tailored around a smaller serving size.
We started off with some appetizers, including the eggplant dip (must order!) and the hummus accompanied with some pita bread. On the side you have some pickled veggies too.
Other starters included the falafel (front left), and some kind of beef rolls (back right).
Kafta dish was really good too (I believe it was beef).
The baked halloumi with pomegranate was amazing. The pomegranate added a vibrant and refreshing burst of flavours when accompanied with the baked halloumi.
Lamb short ribs were absolutely melting off the bone. I really loved this dish and it didn’t have a very strong “lamb” smell.
The clams were cooked in a tomato-ey kind of base/broth.
The sweet potato dish was also really nice.
The highlight of the night definitely was the eggplant dip, lamb ribs (totally melt off the bone) and the baked halloumi with pomegranate.
HKD$360 for a tasting menu (subject to change depending on the chef’s wishes) which also included dessert (tonight we had a baklava-esque dish – almost shaped like a bird’s nest!) was really amazing value. And especially since it was our first time it was the perfect opportunity to try their key highlights (then at least when we return next time we will know what we want to order)!
Overall, our bill came to just under HKD$500 per head (including a glass of wine each) which was really amazing for all the different dishes we were able to have. For the quality of food I do definitely think the prices are very reasonable & tasty!
I’ve heard they do great lunch set menus too which would definitely be worth checking out and great if you work/live in the Wan Chai area!
Comment below to let me know your favourite Middle Eastern restaurant or your favourite Middle Eastern dish in Hong Kong or check our Klook for other activities/ideas to try out while in Hong Kong.