8 Apr 2023 By May Ng

Launching in May, the bold dining concept advances vegetal cuisine with French refinement and creative flair

French chef David Toutain, the celebrated culinary talent whose eponymous Paris restaurant earned two Michelin stars, is bringing his daring vision, innate creativity and mastery of flavours to Hong Kong with the launch of Feuille (pronounced ‘feuy’ and French for ‘foliage’). Located at 5/F, 198 Wellington Street, Central, Feuille is chef Toutain’s first restaurant outside his native France and is a collaboration with Hong Kong-based ZS Hospitality Group – the company behind the one Michelin-starred Hansik Goo, Whey and  the two Michelin-starred Ying Jee Club. Working in collaboration with executive chef Joris Rousseau, Feuille will showcase Toutain’s refined cooking techniques, culinary inspirations and sophisticated style

Feuille’s vegetable-driven menu celebrates seasonality and fully explores the possibilities of local ingredients. Committed to sustainable practices and ethical sourcing, in 2020 Toutain’s Paris restaurant received a coveted Michelin Green Star in recognition of the chef’s dedicated protection of biodiversity. Continuing his eco-friendly initiatives in Hong Kong, chef Toutain has been resolute in sourcing ingredients from local producers and organic farms.

Toutain developed a respect for nature from an early age. Growing up in Flors, south Normandy, he spent his summer vacations visiting his grandparents’ farm. “Meals would begin with crudités from their garden,” Toutain recalls. “The purity of those tastes became a compass point for me.”  Pursuing his passion for culinary arts, by the age of 21 Toutain was sous chef to French master Alain Passard at Arpège. He further honed his skills under the tutelage of some of the world’s finest chefs, including Pierre Gagnaire and Bernard Pacaud at L’Ambroisie. But it was while working alongside chef Marc Veyrat, a pioneer in cooking with mountain herbs and flowers, that he shaped his bold culinary philosophy.

In 2014, Toutain opened his Paris restaurant and quickly earned plaudits from international critics and gourmands. The New York Times raved about Toutain’s “earthy but ethereal cooking” adding that “his cooking awes with its originality.”

Feuille’s executive chef Joris Rousseau shares Toutain’s expertise and in-depth knowledge of French cuisine. Prior to partnering with Toutain, Rousseau developed his culinary style alongside celebrated French chef Yannick Alléno. Rousseau first worked as a sous chef at Alléno’s Cheval Blanc Courchevel, then at the iconic Pavillon Ledoyen. Representing French cooking at the highest order, both restaurants are ranked with three Michelin stars.  While at Le Pavyllon in Paris, Rousseau was promoted to Chef de Cuisine and the restaurant received its first Michelin star. He later took up residence at Restaurant Christophe Bacquié, another restaurant with the coveted three-star Michelin rating.

Feuille: A celebration of pure flavours   

With the opening of Feuille, Toutain intends to bring his inspired translations of nature to Hong Kong. Addressing diners’ changing expectations and desire for healthy eating, Feuille’s tasting menus reflect Toutain’s inventive approach, inviting diners to appreciate flavours in their purest form.

Passionate about sourcing sustainably grown local ingredients and supporting Hong Kong farmers, Toutain creates a unique dining experience that introduces guests to the versatility of local vegetables, pairing these ingredients with sustainably sourced meat and seafood.

The multi-course tasting menu highlights Toutain’s attention to detail and French cooking techniques. With each impeccably plated dish, the vegetables take centre stage, subtly revealing intricate layers and clean flavours. Celebrating the versatility of locally sourced organic products, the multi-course tasting menu shows Toutain’s respect for local ingredients while his meticulous combinations underline his distinctive understanding of flavour combinations.

In addition, a vegetarian menu will observe seasonality by making full creative use of every aspect of the vegetables, from the seeds, stems and roots to the flowers and leaves.