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Bibo Opens in Hong Kong: Street Art meets French Fine Dining

April 19, 2014 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

French fine dining is brought to street level in Hong Kong at Bibo.

Bibo – Restaurant, Lounge & Bar

Bibo – Restaurant, Lounge & Bar

Serving up a modern take on classic French cuisine, wines of merit and back-to-the-roots cocktails, Bibo is a passion project that gives a nod to bohemian lifestyle. It is a concept that redefines understated luxury. Located on Hong Kong’s Hollywood Road, Bibo is now open for dinner and drinks, with lunch starting in May. 

Bibo is an international first that sees a collaboration of the world’s most renowned contemporary and street artists together in one space. From installations by Vhils, Invader, JonOne, Stohead, Kaws, JR, Mr Brainwash, Ella & Pitr, Mist, MadC to hangings and works by Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Daniel Arsham, Jeff Koons, King of Kowloon, Shepard Fairey, Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama to name a few, this pioneering project is set to open minds to a new way of eating and of seeing art. An ongoing and ever changing project; like contemporary art itself, it is a process in transition, forever updating and reinventing.

Bibo – Restaurant

Bibo – Restaurant

Heading the culinary team is Executive Chef Mutaro Balde, whose three Michelin star background includes Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee Paris and L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, London. Chef Mutaro brings passion and creativity to each dish, paying homage to the traditions of French cuisine by reinterpreting classic French dishes. Chef Mutaro’s cuisine at Bibo is French “gastronomie gourmande”, and everything is home-made, from the bread to the ice cream. “Generosity and happiness are the key to a successful restaurant; making an emotional connection, that is the art of good cooking,” says Chef Mutaro.

Bibo – Lounge

Bibo – Lounge

The menu, crafted by Chef Mutaro and Chef de Cuisine, Conor Beach, is comprised of small plates, mains and desserts. Diners can start off their culinary journey at Bibo with the signature the Foie Gras Poêlé, pan seared foie gras coupled with grenadine-poached rhubarb, or L’oursin, Hokkaido sea urchin and royale with baeri caviar. For a lighter option, try the Carpaccio, an arrangement of hamachi carpaccio topped with lemon, French aromatic herbs, espelette chili and Japanese shiso, or the Salade Végétarienne topped with burrata and black truffle vinaigrette. Move on to the mains with a selection of lobster, sole, chicken, pork, lamb or beef. The Saint Jacques, seared scallops that are served with corn prepared in three ways and herb pistou, is delicate in texture yet has powerful contrast of sweetness and saltiness, while Le Poulet, a Coucou de Rennes poached chicken is crisped in charcoal oven and served with pommes bohemes, adding an extra layer of flavour and texture to the dish.

Bibo – Bar

Bibo – Bar

As a meal is never complete without desserts, dive right into the Baba, made with spiced rhum sponge cake, Madagascar vanilla chantilly, strawberry and rhubarb sorbet or the Pomme, a layered calvados compote, apple caramel and poached granny smith sorbet. 

Behind the bar, renowned mixologist Alexandre Chatté creates a dynamic menu of handcrafted cocktails from the forgotten classics of the 1930s. He plays with unusual and complex ingredients, and prepares everything in-house using tools and equipment not traditionally applied to the modern bar setting. Guests may indulge in the signature 5 Spice Powder, served in a miso cup, and made with sake infused shiso, St. Germain liqueur, lemon juice, five spice melon juice, cherry bitters and topped with soda water.

Bibo – Le Foie Gras Poêlé

Bibo – Le Foie Gras Poêlé

Midnight Diamond, a mix of Boomsma Jonge Genever Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, truffle infused absinthe, lime juice and sugar, will take cocktail lovers on a trip back to the old apothecary days where absinthe cocktails ruled. As Hong Kongers love to share, friends can order the Coffin Varnish that serves four, and is a combination of tonka beans infused calvados, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, lemon juice, homemade honey syrup, Earl Grey Imperial and Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne. The bar at Bibo also offers one of the most impressive selections of rare and exceptional spirits and cognac in Hong Kong, with choices ranging from rare and fine Macallan to Dalmore Constellation that even guests with the most discerning palates would relish. 

Bibo – La Saint Jacques

Bibo – La Saint Jacques

“Bibo is reinventing the Bohemian lifestyle of Paris in the 1930s through art, design, food and cocktails. Imagine back in the 30s, an old French tramway company, La Compagnie Générale Française de Tramway in Hong Kong, which once used to occupy this space. The luxurious Hong Kong headquarters of the company had long been abandoned, it’s started decaying, modern artists moved in to use the venue as a studio where they can share their own vision, and are allowed to build on their own creativity. Perhaps it is fate, or maybe just irony, that absinthe-fueled street artists who often start their careers defacing trains and trams now find themselves in the former office of a tramway company,” says Restaurant Manager Arturo Sims, explaining the creative storyline behind the project.

Bibo – Midnight Diamond

Bibo – Midnight Diamond

The interiors, designed by agency Substance, led by Creative Director Maxime Dautresme, are based on Art Deco French. The space features basic hues of Prussian blue walls and tiles, brass pipes, parquet and French oak floors that are over a hundred years old. “The raw presentation is of a space with aged wallpaper and carelessly stacked carser grey stones, reminiscent of a squat, where artists hangout and reside. However, if you look closely, intricate brass details and finishes portray the opulence of the 1930’s. For street art and fine-dining to coexist in harmony, we created a duality of heritage and minimalism,” says Maxime.

The discrete Hollywood Road entrance starts the Bibo journey with a sense of mystery. Step downstairs into a buzzing bar with stacked marble used as the bar-top for pre- and post-dinner cocktails. Walk past the dimly-lit library, complete with fireplace, comfortable sofas, books, carpets and candles, to the main dining area where the art speaks for itself and vintage windows make the Ladder Street scene a part of the design. Here, guests can enjoy a unique fine dining experience that breaks the laws of what luxury French dining is. Each room is built with many layers that tell Bibo’s story and creates a façade for guests to enjoy decadence. 

Bibo – Coffin Varnish

Bibo – Coffin Varnish

Behind the project is Bibo, a discrete person, who, like most in the street art scene, wishes to remain out of the limelight. “Just as street or contemporary art breaks the law and the structures of traditional on-canvas art, Bibo breaks the laws of what fine dining is supposed to be and the structure of what a traditional white-tablecloth, subtle-music, fine dining restaurant is,” says Bibo.

Artists heard about Bibo’s idea and became part of it as it allows them to work together and showcase their art in a space that encourages their own creativity. For many of the artists, this is the only off-of-the-street setting that they have participated in – it’s an Artists in Residence project. Several private collectors have also contributed to the project by providing museum quality pieces to the space.

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