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Restaurant review: Belon, SoHo – home of the HK$348 chicken wing

A word of warning about Belon – it’s expensive. A whole roast chicken is HK$578 (although if you want to add Australian black truffles, you can pay an extra HK$400), a stuffed chicken wing (not a typo – it’s chicken wing, singular) is HK$348. To be fair, the wing has matsutake mushrooms and tiny cubes of foie gras, but still – it’s one wing.

Another warning: I hope you like dill, because it’s used lavishly – three of our dishes had the herb.

Those warnings out of the way, though, the food can be delicious. You know this from the minute you bite into the amuse bouche of gougere with a warm core of melted comte cheese: it was the best gougere, by far, that I’ve ever eaten. If a restaurant is going to charge for bread, as they do (HK$48), it better be good bread – and this is fantastic: house-made, naturally leavened and served with Normandy butter, it has an excellent crust and tender crumb.

The pain perdu with small mussels and pickled cucumbers (HK$58 each) was a succulent two-bite starter, and the dill on top wasn’t overwhelming. Hokkaido scallop with seaweed butter (HK$168 each) was perfectly cooked, and the thin slices of daikon on top provided a light contrast to the richness of the other elements in the dish.

And that chicken wing? Admittedly, it was delicious; in addition to the matsutake and foie gras, the filling also had rice, and the sauce was so good we mopped it up with the bread. I still think it’s too expensive, though.

And about all that dill … the whole turbot served off the bone with citrus beurre blanc (HK$308) didn’t need it: we pushed the herb off the fish. The turbot was tender and we loved the buttery emulsified sauce that was studded with small pieces of kombu (dried kelp). The dill actually irritated me when it topped the Japanese tomato salad with fresh curds and walnuts (HK$168) – why in the world was it there? The tomatoes were so sweet that the dill and other herbs (including tarragon, basil and chervil) overwhelmed. I removed almost the entire herb salad from the dish.

Apricot tart (HK$148) had an excellent, buttery and crumbly crust, and the kernel ice cream (it tastes like bitter almonds) was silky smooth.

Belon, 41 Elgin Street, SoHo, tel: 2152 2872. About HK$800 without drinks or the service charge