La Bistronomie has also closed it’s doors in Shanghai.
La Bistronomie is a French restaurant located slightly away from the Jing’an center, at 800 Show.
While they have a decent range of starters and entrees, their signature dish is the L’entrecote cafe de paris, named and modelled after the legendary steak en frites dish in France.
Formerly known as Indulge Brasserie, the restaurant was reconceptualized in December 2014 as La Bistronomie. The concept was to introduce classic French dishes executed with modern gastronomy techniques. In order to do this, the restaurant owner employed new head chef Benoit Leloup, who is a native of the Loire region of France with over 20 years of professional experience in the kitchen.
The restaurants has a large outdoor terrace area, which I gather will be superb for spring weekends under the sun. The actual location of the restaurant is quite hidden within the inner corner of 800 Show, and might be favourable to people seeking more privacy.
The interior of the restaurant is clean and contemporary. It’s not a rustic french bistro setting, nor is it like a restaurant on the Bund. I would say it is a comfortable place to dine with friends and family. Authentic and delightful French food at a comfortable setting.
One of the common ways critics use to judge a restaurant’s cleanliness is to visit the restroom of the restaurant. It is said that the cleanliness of the restroom would usually reflect the cleanliness of the kitchen.
I did both, but instead of showing you a photo of the restroom, I will show you the kitchen instead, which is impeccably clean and organised. Very nice. As some of you might know, I recently opened a restaurant of my own, and looking at the size and organisation of their kitchen made me really envious. (My kitchen is shoebox sized)
As with most of my invited tastings, I will give the restaurant an unbiased score of 7/10. La Bistronomie started their new concept in mid December 2014, and are currently tweaking all aspects of the restaurant. However during my visit, our servers were quite attentive and cleared our un-needed plates promptly without us feeling disrupted. 7/10
Menu came in the form of a digital iPad app. At least its not a photo gallery. However I really dislike the use of digital tablets as menus, especially when the experience does not differ much from having a paper printed menu. Having a printed menu with natural progression from starters to entrees flows more naturally for me, as opposed to tapping here and there.
We ordered a few dishes while the restaurant recommended some others. Without further ado, I present to you, the food of La Bistronomie.
House bread and butter.
Bread is freshly baked, crust is light and crispy, flesh is soft and hot to the touch. Butter has been nicely curled as opposed to just a frozen block. Nice.
It’s winter, so it’s the perfect season for soup. We tried both the soups available, the fish soup and next up is the pumpkin soup. The fish soup comes with a side fish pate with some toast. I’m told by my Dutch companion that this is the way fish soup is often served in Europe. You have the soup, and a side of the umami seafood, which you can dip with toast and then into the soup, or eaten in other creative ways.
The soup had a robust shellfish flavour but was balanced so it wasn’t too overpowering, and perfectly seasoned. The fish pate in comparison was much stronger, and served as a counterpoint to the mild but savoury soup. Eaten together, it was an explosion of flavours, which is then coaxed by the comforting soup. Very good. 8.5/10
This was served in a cooler glass. Presentation wise, absolutely stunning. Croutons atop, with some mystery semi-crispy shreds, which I later found out were deep fried sweet potato floss. Very interesting, because I had initially thought it could be some mini fish fry, like krill or something. The soup was a little cold at the top because of the foam and cream, however it was still warm below. Nice usual sweet and creamy flavours. Nothing out of the ordinary in terms of taste, but perfectly executed. 8/10
Next up was a surprise dish, a ceviche which is usually a South American staple. This dish was a little lacking, because at first taste, it was salty — The wrong flavour of a ceviche. Ceviche should be bright and acidic; A palate opener. This tasted a little rich and salty, and consisted primarily of mango and salmon chunks, and more of that recycled sweet potato floss. I felt myself getting full after the second spoonful, and decided to stop. 7/10
Scallop gratin with mushroom sauce
Possibly, the ugliest looking dish on the menu, but one of the tastiest starters. The mushroom sauce was rich and bursting with flavours, paired with the delicate albeit slightly overcooked scallops, was a beautiful harmonious blend of flavours. It’s a pity the dish didn’t look as great as it tasted, but based on the taste alone, it gets an 8.5/10
Foie Gras with Mango Sorbet and Chutney
This was a Duck Foie Gras. Duck liver is lighter and not as rich as gooses’. Both my Dutch companion and I enjoyed the foie a lot, and thought it was very palatable and not too heavy. Paired together with the house-made sorbet and chutney was a perfect meltdown in the mouth. 8/10
Entrecote de cafe paris
Le pièce de résistance. L’entrecote is a classic and iconic dish in France and now, several cities across the world, including Hong Kong. The original version of this dish was from a little bistro in Geneva called Café de Paris, which had been serving steak-frites and only this dish since the early 1940s. It was only until 1959 when Paul Gineste de Saurs purchased an Italian restaurant in Paris, and then subsequently decided to model the restaurant after the original Café de Paris, serving only Steak-Frites with the legendary Café de Paris sauce.
Fast forward to 2015, La Bistronomie in Shanghai is serving their rendition of Entrecote cafe de paris, under the guidance of head chef, Benoit Leloup. To my knowledge, this is the only place in Shanghai currently serving L’entrecote with the Cafe de Paris sauce.
I have not had the pleasure of tasting the original, therefore my review on this dish is purely based on a first timer tasting.
The steak, an Entrecote cut which is usually either a rib-eye or a the tenderloin side of the sirloin — a premium cut. The beef was done beautifully medium rare although I would have liked abit more sear and crust on the surface. The sauce that day was quite foamy, and to be honest, a little ‘broken’. I saw some other photos of the dish on Dianping and noticed other diners had a different experience with a more consistent sauce. That said, I thought the sauce was quite interesting, rich but tart at the same time. It is said that the sauce is primarily composed of chicken livers, cooked and mashed, and then strained into butter and thyme, along with other herbs and seasonings.
It was definitely an interesting experience for me, the beef was of top quality, and at this price range of ¥215, a fantastic deal. The sauted mushroom and potato sides were competently done and well seasoned. All in all, I award this a 8/10 without comparing it to the original.
Pan seared sea bass.
This was topped with spinach and a bed of saluted mushrooms and potatoes recycled from the previous course. This was where I started noticing a trend. There was a lot of recycling of garnishes and plating patterns. Perhaps a little too much recycling. I would have liked the fish on a bed of carrots or pureed something.
That said, the sea bass was as fresh as it could be, and again, perfectly executed by Chef Benoit. Crispy skin, tender slightly flaky flesh. Beautiful. The accompanying sauce went quite well with the fish, though I felt we could have use a little bit more of it. 8/10
Iberico Pork Chop.
This is an Iberico Pork Chop that had been slowly and gently cooked until it is tender, before undergoing a deep searing to achieve the crust. The plating? Gorgeous. The taste? Sublime. Tender yet flavourful pork. Not melt in the mouth, but soft with a slight bite. The area around the ribs were even more flavourful. This is how pork chops should be cooked. 9/10
As you might imagine, we were bursting at the seams at this point. When presented with dessert, I’m often unenthusiastic. However the chef insisted that we try their housemade sorbets, and so we did. Very nice clean flavours, blueberry, coconut, mango, strawberry and the best one — chocolate sorbet. Yes, that’s pure chocolate without cream. Very nice pure chocolate flavour with just a slight tinge of bitterness. I really enjoyed this dessert, for it’s purity and artisanal hand-made value. 8.5/10
La Bistronomie, or Indulge Brasserie as they were previously called really has some very lovely and adventurous dishes on their menu. I have zero doubt about the capabilities of their newly appointed head chef, Benoit Leloup. However, some of the dishes might need some tweaking, whether they want to accomodate the French cuisine connoisseur or the local diner.