Hong Kong's Hidden Gem, Le Pan
Why haven’t I been to Le Pan, despite having been here since Dec 2015? Good question.
It’s not that I haven’t heard of it (being a food snob after all) but rather it’s located quite far away in Kowloon Bay and not easily accessible by public transport. For a lot of spoiled Hong Kongers such as myself, it takes some convincing to drag them all the way out.
However when they reached out to do some potential wine dinner with a colleague, I jumped at the chance to visit. It’s hard to talk about Le Pan without mentioning its owner, Pan Sutong. After making his billions on the mainland, he has relocated to Hong Kong, all the while owning plethora of wine, horse and food ventures. However Le Pan is not a mere billionaire’s plaything. Hailing from Singapore, chef Edward Voon has been steadily making refined French cuisine but always with a twist. His execution has not been gone unnoticed and has attracted a list of A list celebrities that adore its more hidden location and generous private rooms.
Not one to rest on this laurels, Voon continues to push the envelope of what can be done, starting with his bang buster 33 course epicurean masterpiece earlier this year. I didn’t go myself, but knowing someone who had, it was completely worth throughout the five hours it took to eat through it all. There is no denying Voon’s skill and talent, with the way he subtly infuses Asian “touches” on French cuisine that really is not noticeable unless you really stop and think through each bite. As he says himself, it’s difficult to be an Asian chef to add flavours from his own background without being slapped with the horrible “Fusion” label.
The wine list is pretty thorough, spanning all the classic regions and upcoming areas. The price points are also agreeable, which is always hard to find in a city like Hong Kong. You see it upon arrival but there is much bigger cellar beneath that hold Mr Pan’s own trophies. We picked Raphaël et Vincent Bérèche Montagne Grand Cru Brut 2002, that is to be the next champagne by the glass. Thinking to only start with it, we eventually stuck with the bottle for then entire lunch, completely and utterly blown away how it evolved over our lunch. Magically, it’s dry, lightly toasted and casually oxidative profile made it a great pairing across each dish. The acidity and freshness of the great 2002 vintage is there but it holds complex mineral savouriness and salinity that does incredibly well with the umami of seafood to the main dishes. With some age, it take little effort to open up and preform stunningly. One for the books.
Le Pan, Goldin Financial Global Centre, 17 Kai Cheung Road, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong. Tel: 3188 2355. http://www.lepan.com.hk/