Despite the young Emperor's insistence that the ration of "soup, boiled beef, a roasted joint (not the one you're thinking) and some vegetables; no dessert," was ample, supply lines rarely kept up with the army's progress and troops were forced to forage and pillage as they travelled, which is all well and good when marching through the verdant fields of Belgium but an entirely different proposition in the Egyptian deserts or the frozen steppes of Russia. Hunger and illness claimed countless lives, leading to Napoleon offering a king's ransom to anyone that could devise a method to preserve food so that it might actually make its way to the front.
SoHo's newest culinary innovation, 12,000 Francs takes its inspiration from both the Emperor's prize and the timeless efforts of culinary cultures to preserve the bounty of the seasons. The latest creation of Woolly Pig Concepts' Chris Woodyard and Bronwyn Cheung, the restaurant features elegant teal-meets-gold interiors by designer Emma Maxwell and a contemporary comfort menu by former Bibo chef Conner Beach that's laced with both ancient and contemporary preservation methods - think smoking, fermenting, pickling, sugaring and curing - using the finest local and international ingredients the chef can get his mitts on.
Each dish, from vibrant pickled beets with smoked eel and Pedro Ximenez crème fraiche; and spiced duck confit rillettes with mostarda and grilled homemade sourdough; to lamb and beef merguez sausages with pomegranate and yoghurt, has an element of preservation to it, but you can forget stodgy terrines and over-powering ship's rations; every dish is a symphony of colours and textures, with the various preservation methods coxing out flavours you might not have even known were possible. Even better, dishes are matched with cask-aged cocktails and a surprisingly affordable 80-label strong wine list that's big on boutique producers and hard-to-source drops.
We're sure the little emperor would be impressed.
43 A Elgin Street, Elgin Building Ground Floor, SoHo;
+852 2529 3100;