If his new venture in Hong Kong proves successful, the French maestro is not ruling out the possibility

Amid the buzz surrounding Odette’s historic placing at the top of this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list on Tuesday, news of its owner and head chef Julien Royer opening another restaurant has got many fans curious, particularly because it will be in Hong Kong.

A partnership between Royer, The Lo & Behold Group and Yenn Wong of Hong Kong’s Jia Group, the restaurant, dubbed Louise, will take over the space where Aberdeen Street Social currently resides (at PMQ in Central) after it closes on April 1; celebrated designer Andre Fu has been tasked with the design. “We have six to seven weeks of renovation, so it’s difficult to give an exact date, but we are looking to open sometime during the beginning of June,” Royer tells us.

But while Odette is known for its creative approach to fine dining, showcasing refined French fare with Asian inflections, Lousie will specialise in French comfort food, mostly from the region the Auvergne-born chef is from, with a few modern touches—to make it more attractive, he shares. The menu, he explains, will feature 50 per cent classic dishes prepared with his “touch” while the other half will showcase his take on “contemporary bistronomy fare”.

The name Louise, he expounds, was also chosen because it reflects a more casual locale, and the restaurant’s informal offerings. Coincidentally, while Odette is named after his maternal grandmother, his grandmother on his father’s side is named Jeanne Louise.

Royer admits that he has always wanted to explore running a casual restaurant, one that serves good yet affordable fare; a place where diners can visit several times a week if they want, he adds. And, if it proves a success, he seems keen to open more outlets. “If it works in Hong Kong, why not open one in Singapore?” he posits. We can only hope it does.

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