With a striking design persona and innovative menu, 12,000 Francs has opened at the heart of Hong Kong’s vibrant Soho precinct, offering business travellers an ideal venue for corporate entertaining and intimate, wallet-friendly catch ups.
The newest creation of Wolly Pig Concepts’ Chris Woodyard and Bronwyn Cheung, the creative duo behind acclaimed Wan Chai restaurant Madam Sixty Ate and Elements’ Madam S’ate, 12,000 Francs is a cutting-edge, ingredient-driven eatery dedicated to timeless preservation methods, global gastronomy, and a boutique wine experience.
Serving an inspired menu by former Bibo and TRI chef Conner Beach that’s punctuated with elegant European comfort dishes laced with the finest locally and internationally-sourced ingredients, 12,000 Francs takes its name from the prize money offered by Napoleon Bonaparte to anyone who could devise a method of preserving food for his conquering armies. Consequently, Beach uses both ancient and modern preservation techniques, from salting, curing and fermenting, to smoking, sugaring and vacuuming, to create intriguing, unashamedly contemporary dishes.
“The key is to present the best of the world’s greatest culinary scenes, from California and the Mediterranean, to Mexico and Asia, without delving into ‘fusion confusion’,” says Beach. “We draw on the influences of Indonesia and France, Morocco and Turkey; wherever we find innovation and the best possible ingredients. At the end of the day I want to have fun while cooking and of course the food needs to be delicious, playful and balanced. Our menus are eclectic, intriguing and inspiring, which is what we think the Hong Kong dining scene needs.”
Highlights of the season-driven menu include smoked coral trout and tiger prawn rillettes; homemade merguez sausage with onion; short rib pastrami with barley and rye; Cote De Bouef with mustard pan sauce; and a signature suckling pig shoulder, served in the pan.
To help Beach source the freshest ingredients, 12,000 Francs has teamed up with the Hong Kong Seed Bank, an organic farm located in Tuen Mun operated by 27-year old former Madam s’Ate bar manager-turned-organic horticulturalist Cheryl Leung. The farm will grow ingredients specific to 12,000 Francs’ ever-changing menus, ensuring the freshest organic produce can be sourced locally while helping bolster the city’s fledging organic farming movement.
Diners can enjoy a culinary experience that transcends time amidst sophisticated interiors by award-winning Australian designer Emma Maxwell that harp to the French Imperial era, including readdressed traditional French wallpaper stylized tile work, Paire de Porcs wine buckets, and Josephine Bar stools. Elegant decor, paired with a strategic table layout and intuitive lighting, allows 12,000 francs to evolve through the night from a wine bar to a modern kitchen, to a vibrant nightspot.
The restaurant’s crowd-friendly menu of appetite-sating sharing plates are also complemented by a series of cask-aged cocktails and an 80-label strong curated wine list that’s packed with attractively-priced boutique and hard-to-source wines, with many available by the glass. By working directly with producers and boutique importers, the restaurant prides itself on offering significantly better wine value than many other restaurants in Central.
“When people are spending $600 on a bottle of wine, they’re often not getting $600 in value,” says 12,000 Franc’s resident wine expert Greg Buttars. “At 12,000 Francs, we strive to offer a great wine collection at very reasonable prices so every guest can enjoy a great glass or two with their meal.”
43A Elgin Street, Elgin Building Ground Floor, SoHo, Central, Hong Kong; + (852) 2529 3100; www.12000francs.com.hk