Food + Beverage
A Parisian style cafe in Hong Kong's New Territories launches a Matcha (green tea) Menu for our long hot summer. Included are three savoury main courses and two decadent desserts. Is it worth the trip to Shatin?
A mounting body of scientific evidence suggests that the consumption of green tea can offer significant health benefits.
Green tea can help lower cholesterol, protect against several types of cancer, control blood sugar levels, and boost the metabolism. Drinking green tea might even help prevent dental cavities.
Most people drink green tea, of course, because they think it takes good. Some people like the taste so much, in fact, that it is used to flavor various other kinds of products: cakes, crackers, cookies, chewing gum, and potato chips.
This is especially true in Japan, where the products flavoured with green tea compete for shelf space with products featuring Hello Kitty. In China, I’ve been to bars where whiskey is served over ice – and iced green tea.
I’ve even seen green tea mouth wash and – heaven forbid – I once accidentally bought green tea flavoured toothpaste. I cannot tell a lie. I thought the taste was disgusting.
There are basically three types of tea leaves in the world: black, oolong, and green. Matcha is a finely ground powder made from specially grown and processed green tea.
Matcha fans maintain that it has even more health benefits than regular green tea. According to MatchaSource, one cup of matcha tea has the equivalent nutritional value of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea.
Is this true or marketing hype? I’m no nutritional expert. I’ll let you be the judge.
Fauchon Paris le Café in Hong Kong's Shatin district added matcha dishes and two green tree desserts to its menu a few weeks back, and they will remain on the menu at least through 31 August 2017.
If they prove popular, who knows? Perhaps the dishes will remain on the menu a bit longer. Perhaps they will become permanent. Let the market decide!
The three savoury matcha dishes were developed by Sai Hsu, Executive Chef at Fauchon Paris le Café, and Frank Law (pictured with me above) came up with matcha pastries.
Green Tea Panna Cotta
Scallop Carpaccio, Green Tea Panna Cotta, Toast Baguette (HK$118): the doughy scallop keeps it nuanced and balanced with fragile toasted baguette, balanced with an acidic sauce.
Smoked Salmon Muille Fuille
Green Tea Smoked Salmon Muille Fuille (HK$98) is paired with crumbly hazelnut and pumpkin seed topping to create strong crispy texture, which is matched with a slightly sweet paste made from smoked salmon and green tea.
Pan Fried Cod Fillet
Stuffed with asparagus, which is known to have antioxidant properties, the Pan Fried Cod Fillet (HK$158) is torched to bring out the fish’s natural oil, which is balanced with a green tea flavoured hollandaise sauce.
Mont Fuji (HK$55), the strawberry yuzu compote, white sesame almond biscuit, yuzu cream on a white chocolate square filled with a meringue and covered with a matcha whipped cream for a fresh, complex yet well balanced note.
Green Tea Éclair
Served with matcha cream, azuki bean (red bean) paste, and chocolate glaze, the Green Tea Éclair (HK$48) balances a soft, strong flavour with a crispy texture.
After sampling the three dishes and two desserts, the conversation turned to - not surprisingly - green tea.
I mentioned that I loved green tea but wasn't fond of green tea flavoured products. One thing led to another, and I was asked if I’d like to try a Green Tea Latte, which I was assured was "highly popular".
Within minutes, I was presented with a very impressive looking glass of green tea latte. Would it change my opinion about green tea flavoured products?
Fauchon Paris le Cafe is an upscale boutique selling pastries, teas, candies, cakes and gifts. It also serves lights meals, desserts, and pastries.
The restaurant is actually divided into two sections. Situated in the middle of the concourse (pictured above), is a very chic dining space decorated in deep chocolate tones with golden accents.
A more casual dining and retail space (pictured below) is where the media tasting event was held.
The cafe is located in an upscale shopping mall with both designer boutiques and mass-market brands.
I am sure the cafe is a popular destination for taitais that shop, a spot to cool their high heels while taking a break from retail therapy.
As soon as I walked inside the cafe, I took one look and said, "This place looks fattening!"
There were candies and desserts all over the place, and the gorgeous packaging only made them look all the more tempting.
The three dishes that I tried, however, were surprisingly light. The fact that green tea was used in their preparation was not really obvious. And - if I can believe the blurbs on the menu - they actually did have some health benefits!
I loved the Pan Fried Cod Fillet and the Scallop Carpaccio, Green Tea Panna Cotta, Toast Baguette. Both were perfectly balanced and light. Very yummy summer entrees.
The Green Tea Smoked Salmon Muille Fuille fascinated me. It was very crunchy, and the pastry was flaky - just the way I like it.
Perhaps it could have done with a little less hazelnut and pumpkin seed topping. I found the taste a bit overwhelming.
I'm not a big fan of desserts, but I must say, I LOVED the Mont Fuji and the Green Tea Eclair. Pure Gallic decadence.
I've never understood the attraction of Green Tea Ice Cream, so it's not surprising that I was underwhelmed by the Green Tea Latte.
As far as I'm concerned, dairy products just don't go green tea. I think a nice strong Italian espresso would have been the perfect match for those rich, creamy desserts.
Having said that, I know that many (most?) people DO like green tea ice cream, and I am sure that anyone that DOES like green tea ice cream would absolutely LOVE that green tea latte!
Fauchon Paris le Café 101
Founded by Auguste Fauchon in Paris in 1886, Fauchon Paris le Café has a reputation for innovation.
It was the first brand, for example, to create teas with different flavours of fruits and flowers.
There are currently Fauchon shops in 44 countries worldwide, including the one I visited in Hong Kong. The company plans to open more outlets throughout Asia.
Fauchon Paris Le Café, Shop 408 and 410, Level 4, New Town Plaza Phase 1, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong. (852) 2237-1515.
The cafe is a five minute walk through New Town Plaza from the Shatin MTR station on the East Rail Line. The entire route is air-conditioned.