"The reluctant Francophile..."

My husband Jack has always wanted to live in Paris and learn French. I thought it would be good for him to achieve his life time dream. Hence, we moved to Paris in 2008. My first year was difficult. I started "missives" to relieve some stress and chronicle my life so friends back in the US could read what I am experiencing. I currently write about my food and travel experiences, which is my passion.

It is definitely a challenge to live here, but each year it gets easier, and quite enjoyable, in large part because I value friendships over locale. I have a love/hate relationship with Paris as do most Parisians, mais La vie est belle (but life is good)!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Grive -- Restaurant Review

18 Rue Breguet, 75011 Paris Phone: 01 43 55 53 93
Closed Saturdays and Sundays
Metro 11 (Bastille)

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

3.75 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 3 - Bell

Our good friend J and his wife Colette are back in town and invited us to try their favorite restaurant of 2018 which J along with his French television food personality friend gave rave reviews. The restaurant is named after an indigenous bird of France. It's a very small restaurant, about 22-seats  in the front, and in back a table for 4 by the kitchen.

We pursued the menu and found it to be a nice varied, uncomplicated menu with a nice selection of meat, fowl and seafood.


Salade de Coque (Cockle salad). J and Colette ordered this salad. It's really hard to cook cockles and make them tender, oftentimes, the cockles for many taste like miniature "balled" rubber bands. And, you need a little toothpick like tool to get it out of the shell. These were served "shelled".  This was a really good dish. The cockles were cooked perfectly and not at all rubbery. Light, refreshing with a nice mild vinaigrette was on point.

Rillette de maqueraux (Mackerel rillette).  Jack ordered this dish. Imagine a tuna salad made with a light mayonnaise, but instead with mackerel. Mackerel has a very strong distinct fish flavor, especially when smoked. This mackerel was mild and was actually good. Didn't have that overwhelmingly strong taste, but it wasn't my favorite dish but Jack quite liked it.

Asperges vertes & sauce mousseline (Green asparagus and mousse sauce). I ordered this dish. I liked this dish because of its simplicity. Normally, the French don't like their vegetables too raw, unless e.g., asparagus is shaved thinly and used as a salad. Most of the time, especially white asparagus, for my taste are always overcooked. In this case the asparagus was cooked, very al-dente, perfect for me, but might be too raw for most French. It was "french cut" (bottom outer skin layer removed) so you could eat even the toughest part of the stem. The accompanying sauce was good. The chef let the freshness of the asparagus speak for themselves.

6 huîtres naturelles de pleine mer de Saint Vaast La Hogue. (6 natural oysters of open sea of Saint Vaast La Hogue). J decided rather than have a main, he wanted another entrée. I've stopped eating oysters after reading several articles of diseases they can carry (it's the hypochondriac in me). But I was told they were very fresh and delicious.


Lieu jaune de ligne, poireaux & ail des ours (Pollock with leeks & wild garlic).  Jack and Colette ordered this dish. The fish was very fresh. I had a little taste of it, and it was damn moist. Perfectly cooked.  However in concert with the chef's approach to more simple, natural presentations, the fish was not seasoned at all and while moist and beautifully cooked it was somewhat bland.

Côte de cochon de Bayeux au foin (Bayeux Pig).  I ordered this dish. My first thought, wow, this is one huge chunk of pork. This pork could easily have served two people. For me the pork was cooked perfectly. I like the outside of my pork to be a little crispy and crunchy and the middle to be well cooked regardless whether it's attached to the skin or not, but also moist. And, it delivered. The sprinkling of salt was a nice touch since some of the other dishes could've used more. This was your basic meat and potato dish with beets. A very good hearty meal.


Note: I don't eat desserts, so according to the group:

Tarlette et noisettes de Sicile (Coffee and hazelnut tart from Sicily). The tartlette was very good and not too sweet.

Creme brulee a la flouve (Crème brûlée with the) flouve (plant used for flavoring). A classic but the twist was adding the flouve known for its sweet scent.

Overall, nothing out of the ordinary, but good desserts.


The restaurant had a nice selection of wines.

Vin d’ Alsace, Edelzwicker Bergheim 2015. This is a dry white wine from the Alsace region of France. I especially enjoyed it because it had a nice clean, crisp taste and since I don't drink red wine for health reasons, it went well with my pork dish.

2015 Tango Atlantico, Noella Morantin.  This is a red wine from the Loire region of France. Known for its tasting notes of red fruits, cocoa, cinnamon, prune.


Overall, the execution of their dishes was very good. Did the dishes wow me, no. Was it above average, yes. Was the service good, it was excellent. Would I return, absolutely. Some of the dishes like my asparagus were very under-seasoned, but that was quickly recommended by adding salt.

For 4 people: 5-entrées, 3-plats, 2-desserts, 2-bottles of wine and 3-espressos and a tea our bill came to €213.50 or €53.38 a person.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Automne -- Restaurant Review

11 Rue Richard Lenoir
75011 Paris
Reservations: 01 40 09 03 70
Website: http://www.automne-akishige.com/
Check website for opening hours 

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

3.5 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

Well, I just got back into town. I needed about a week to recuperate from jet lag, but afterwards I went off and running trying different new restaurants. My good friend, Liz is also in town and had recommended this restaurant. It's a Japanese owned and run restaurant with Nobuyuki AKISHIGE at the helm. Aside from him in the kitchen, he had one kitchen helper. So it's quite a small operation.

The interior is quite small and has sort of an L-shape layout. The kitchen is visible through a glass partition. My guess is the restaurant can squeeze in about 24-people.

They had an a-la-carte menu, but we opted to have the lunch specials "prix-fixe" lunch. There wasn't a big selection, but it was enough to satisfy our wants. So, if you want larger portions or other dishes, you'll need to order from the a-la-carte menu.

Note: I'm only reviewing the dishes that I had.

Boudin noir fait maison — purée de pomme vert — cresson.  (Homemade black pudding - green apple puree - watercress).  This is normally a sausage, but the chef created a "squared" off pudding without the casing. It was actually quite delicious and had the familiar iron taste of, for lack of better word, blood (boudin noir/black pudding is a blood sausage). Paired with the sourness of the apples which I think may have had a touch of yuzu, it brought a nice acid, along with the cresson, to cut into some of the richness and fat of the boudin. I thought it was a very good combination and a good dish. The menu indicated the boudin is made on premises.

Cuisse de Pintade a la moutarde — racine de persil — pousse de moutarde. (Guinea fowl leg with mustard - parsley root - mustard shoots). For my plat I had the guinea fowl. I assumed the skin would have been crispy, but it was actually not. It was quite soft and upon tasting it, it did melt in your mouth. The flesh was extremely moist and the accompanying sauce of mustard and parsley was a nice combination. I wish there had been a little more vegetables than the shredded mustard greens for garnish. But the guinea portion was a nice portion and it was very satisfying.

Desserts: Two had desserts and said they liked it. a chocolate mousse and a Muenster cheese.


Overall, I thought it was a very good restaurant. It was definitely above average, and the price point was good. But did it wow me, I'd have to say no, but I would definitely go back. As for the service, the staff were very attentive; however, since it is a one man show, it can be quite slow based on American standards.

For 5-people, three had the entrée/plat, and two had the entrée/plat/dessert; 2-glasses of their house pinot noir, 4-sodas, and 2-coffees our bill came to 165€ or 33€ per person.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Years — 2018

New Years 2018

I guess you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’m in the US to spend the holidays with my family. I want to wis you all a HAPPY NEW YEARS. 

Let us celebrate all that connects us to one another
Célébrons tout ce qui nous lie les uns aux autres
Celebremos todo aquello que nos conecta uno al otro

I wish you a Happy New Year 2018, full of success, joy and health for you and your family.
Je vous souhaite une bonne année 2018, plein de success, de joie et de santé à vous et votre famille.
Ich wünsche Ihnen und Ihrer Familie ein frohes neues Jahr 2018, Gesundheit und

I hope you will check out my review when I return to Paris in mid-March. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

L'HOTEL -- Restaurant Review

13 Rue des Beaux Arts, 75006
Tel:  01 44 41 99 00
Bus: 95/39 (Jacob)
Metro: Line 4 (Saint-Germain de Prés)
website: http://www.l-hotel.com

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4.80 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 1 - Bell

Last night was a special treat. It was our 40th anniversary and I thought let's do something special. So I made a list of restaurants that we've been wanting to try in Paris. We both selected L'Hotel, primarily because we live in Paris, we don't really care so much for the view when dining as we do about he food and ambiance. So, I made reservations, (Note: you must reconfirm a day before). The hotel has been around a long time and the restaurant has a Michelin star. I'm not impressed by Michelin stars, because I personally think there's a lot of politics that are involved, but that's another story altogether.

One word to describe the interior "romantic." As you enter you see a beautiful, well stocked bar tucked into an alcove. As you reach the restaurants you see big comfortable chairs, nicely spaced and there was a cute enclosed little courtyard as the main feature, very zen. It brought me back to fond memories of "Fleur de Lis" in San Francisco, at one time rated one the most romantic restaurants in the world. L'Hotel has been rated as one of the most romantic restaurants in Paris by several publications.

Notice how squished I am in the corner table with the wall to the side of me.
I turned for this picture, but my head was literally hitting the oddly placed lamp.
DO NOT get this table. Ask to move, if it is given to you.

I am very particular about where I sit at a restaurant, in my personal opinion, we got the worst table in the restaurant. I wanted to move, but Jack was comfortable and wanted to stay put. I was pushed back into a corner, next to this lamp that was more of an obstacle and I hit my head on it a couple of times, so I moved the table a tad. And, next to me was an oddly placed service table. Yet, later to find out the restaurant was not full, it did not start off well for me. And, this is the second time wherein we went to a Michelin starred restaurant and we got the worst table in the house? What's up with that? But I made the best of it.

AMUSE BOUCHE.  We started with a glass of champagne and Jack had a martini on the rocks, French martini, which is more like a vermouth. We were given some amuse bouches and I have to say, what a nice combinations of different flavors from savory, sweet, sour, so every sense in your mouth was literally tickled. A great start.

They had a prix-fixe dinner tasting menu, chef's choice of either 5-courses (110€ or 155€ with 3-wines) or 7-courses (135€ or 190€ with 4-wines), and they had an option without meat or fish for 75€, which I assume is a vegetarian option. As most know, I'm not a big eater, so to keep the timing in sync for both of us we opted for the 5-course with 3-accompanying wines chosen by the sommelier. NOTE: They will ask if you are allergic to anything, so they can make adjustments to the menu.

1ST COURSE. Onion cold souflée. They weren't joking when they said it was onion. You could definitely taste the onion, but it wasn't overpowering. The anchovies were mild and the crisp shaved fried onion gave it a nice crunch. We both enjoyed it a lot. A simple refined light start dish.

2ND COURSE.  Loctudy crab – Yuzu mousse Sweet mustard, avocado. This was a beautifully presented dish. Atop the crab sat the thinnest most delicate sugar wafer you can imagine.  The sweetness actually brought the dish to the next level when paired with the sourness of the yuzu and made it a little more refined and sophisticated.  The crab meat was perfect and the dotted avocado with the yuzu was such a nice accompaniment. A+ for this dish.

3RD COURSE. Saint Pierre fish (John Dory) with spinach rolls. Another beautifully presented refined dish. The fish was perfectly cooked, very moist and the potato cannelles were actually cooked al-dente which gave it some firmness. I liked it cooked like that since it gave the dish some texture, was making a clear statement, and it was not mashed potatoes. The spinach was beautifully rolled into a cannelle shape. I'm not big on sour, but the potatoes were topped with a single pickled sour onion that Jack loved. Another well composed dish.

4TH COURSE. Ris de veau with butternut squash.  Loved the way the ris de veau was cooked. It was nice and crispy on the outside and the  interior was smooth and buttery. The accompanying "jus" (demi-glace) really complimented the dish. Underneath all of this there was a surprise. I thought it was a black grain of some sort, so I asked our wait-person and he said they were various mushrooms "riced". It was delicious and a great accompaniment.  Surprisingly the squash was raw, but thinly sliced. It was a great combination. Beautiful, executed well, and lots of different complimenting flavors.

PALETTE CLEANSER. Foam grape juice with Thai basil. Once the foam settled you got more of the grape juice flavor. To be honest, I really didn't taste the Thai basil, but the grape juice itself was a nice palette cleaners and a nice change from the more common lemon glace. So, it was a nice refreshing interlude.

Note: The wait-person did ask if we wanted a cheese course, at this point I was really, really full, so we opted not to.

5TH COURSE-DESSERT. Italian chocolate with ginger. As a general rule, I don't eat dessert, but I made an exception since our wait-person said it was very light and not overly sweet. He was right. It was one of the lightest, refined desserts I've ever had.

The chocolate was on the bottom and the ginger cream was sandwiched between a thin cookie wafer with a hard chocolate center at the bottom. The top was one of the thinnest cookie sugar wafers I've ever had. This was a hit, and may make me want to go back to eating sugar.

WINES: For the 3-main courses, the sommelier selected our wines.

1. Chablis Jean-Marc Brocard 2015. Jack doesn't typically like white wines, so it surprised me he liked this wine. This was served with our first courses. It's known for its tasting notes of spice, with mint and citrus fruit aromas.

2. Viognier Les Galets 2015. Another white that I liked, but Jack was not as impressed when compared to the first one. This wine is known for tasting notes of herbs, with aromas of chamomile, lavender, thyme and even a hint of pine.

3. Chapelle de Potens medoc 2011.  Jack loves medocs. Typically they're known for their assertiveness with very strong notes, but this particular vintage was much lighter. Typical tasting notes are black cherry and black chocolate; some oak, but this particular vintage was much lighter (as Jack assumed, and confirmed by the waiter, this cepage has a higher percentage of cabernet franc than other Medocs). We both enjoyed it a lot.

To end the meal, we had a degustif of grappa and calvados.

A parting gift of small wafer cookies.


If you're looking for a small romantic, cozy restaurant then this is the restaurant for you. This restaurant sits maybe 30 people. The plushness and the interior design harkens back to the days when elegant dining was about the meal and ambiance, and the view secondary.  If I could describe the food in one word, it would be 'REFINED'. The food was beautifully presented and the simplicity as well as complex flavors was an exploration of the various tasting buds woken up in the mouth. The service was impeccable. I would've given this restaurant a perfect 5 rating, but my one big complaint was our table. I did not like being squashed in the corner with an oddly placed lamp and side service table (see photo). It felt cramped. They need to rethink using this table or redesigning that corner. Would we go back, IN A HEARTBEAT, but I will definitely ask for a nicer table.

For two people, 5-course meal with 3-accompanying wines, a bottle of water, 2-cocktails, 2-degustifs our bill came to 359€ or $418.

NOTE: A little history trivia: Oscar Wilde died in this hotel in 1900 and the room where he was a resident still exists. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

LE PETIT MARIUS -- Restaurant Review

6 Avenue George V 75008
 Tel: 01 40 70 11 76
Metro:  Line 9, 1 (Alma Marceau)
Open Daily

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

1.75 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 4 - Bell

Our good friend Jay recommended we try Le Marius, since it recently changed hands. This restaurant is located in the 8eme, a known posh area and has been around a long time. Le Marius specializes in seafood, so if you're looking for a steak or pork chops, you're out of luck. As I mentioned,  the restaurant has been around a long time, and the reviews have been all over the board, but mostly average and/or not very favorable so we were curious.

The interior is nautically oriented and actually quite comfortable. It did get noisy as it filled up, to the point it became almost impossible to hear. In fact Jay's decibel reading registered 87, which is quite high and can be equated to an alarm clock going off or a disposal running.

As we pursued the specials of the day and their standard fare, we were given a tuna rillettes with toast, pas mal (not bad).

 The menu had a nice selection, but since I was having stomach issues I wanted nothing raw, and selected from their a-la-carte menu, Jack and Jay followed suit. Note, they did a lunch special of 27€ for 2-courses.


Note: Jack decided not to have an entrée

Poached egg in a cocotte. When it was first delivered I asked if I had ordered it, cause it didn't look like eggs at all, but I was reassured it was what I ordered.

I don't even know where to begin. The bowl looked like a bowl of cream with swirly potatoes. As I scooped my spoon into it I felt something hot and something cold, plus salt, lots of salt. It was so extremely salty that I thought maybe I just bit into a salty patch. As I continued it got saltier, but I did find the eggs. They were poached nicely, and there were mushrooms at the bottom. Basically half the dish had a covering of hardened egg whites topped with cream. I honestly could not finish the dish because it was so salty. And, I have a high tolerance to salt. So I just tried eating the yolk with bread.

Sautéed mushrooms with poached eggs. Jay ordered this dish, unfortunately, the picture did not come out, but it looked like it sounds. The dish was OK, nothing special, but one thing noteworthy, it was NOT salty. There were lots of mushrooms and 1-poached egg sat atop. From the looks of it, the egg was slightly over-cooked, so not as creamy as one would expect.


Langoustine ravioli.  OK, I've heard of badly composed dishes, if I could give prizes to the worst composed dishes (presentation and taste), this dish would win. Where do I start? Let's start with the ravioli, ravioli skins were rubbery, the langoustine themselves were fine though, but what made this dish horrendous was the sauce.

The sauce was heavy, creamy, spicy, overly sweet. It hit every sensation all it once and not in a good way. Nothing was refined about it. It was like someone slapped you. One thing I will say, it wasn't salty.

Then to add garnishes of peas and cubed potatoes, what is this chef thinking. This dish was so busy and just so badly composed, the flavors were just not complimentary. I have to say in all my years in Paris, this wins as the worst dish I've ever had. It felt and looked like I threw up an Indian curry meal. Maybe it could be a Jackson Pollock painting.

Sole. Jay ordered the sole. And, I have to say this was pretty good. The skin was crispy and it actually had some flavor. It wasn't salty, a simple dish that was cooked perfectly. Although there were no accompanying vegetables, it did come with mashed potatoes that were pretty good.

Yellow Pollock (Lieu jaune basquaise).  Jack ordered this fish dish. The fish was nicely presented and, although perfectly cooked, the fish did have a "fishy" smell, hmm, I wonder how fresh it was. The sauce was mustardy which was a nice accompaniment to the dish. And, what was nice about the dish it came with lots of different vegetables. Jack thought it was a very good dish, and he would definitely have it again.


Baked apple. I was afraid to order anything else and opted not to have my usual cheese. The two decided to share this dessert, topped with a raspberry sherbet with quince. It was good, nothing out of the ordinary; however, the quince flavor was undetectable.


A redemption for the meal I had, the wines were good.

Laroche La Chevaliere Chardonnay 2016 -- Known to have tasting notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. I really enjoyed this wine, and it does pair excellently with fish.

Laroche La Chevaliere Pinot Noir 2016 -- It was served quite chilled. I'm not a red wine person, but I have do say I do like a good pinot noir because of its lightness when compared to other red wines. And, this particular wine from Languedoc-Roussillon has some excellent pinot noir.  Known to have tasting notes of roses, fruits, black cherry, berry, and currant.


Wow, this restaurant is all over the map. Out of the 5-savory dishes we had, two were absolutely horrendous and inedible, and guess who had them, yours truly, moi. The remaining three-dishes one was average, one above average and the other was excellent. We really gave this restaurant high hopes since it has new owners and a new chef. But we left very disappointed. I will say the one dish which I will never forget, and not in a good way, was my dish of langoustine ravioli. It looked like I threw up Indian curry, and some artists may think it looks like a Jackson Pollock painting. Would we return, ABSOLUTELY NOT!

For 2-entrees, 3-plats, 1-dessert, 2-bottles of wine, 2-coffees our bill came to 160€ or 53.33€ per person.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

LE ROCH RESTAURANT & BAR -- Restaurant Review

28 Rue Saint-Roch, 75001 Paris
Tel:  01 70 83 00 00
Metro: Line 1 Tuilleries
website: https://www.leroch-hotel.com/en/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

3.50 - Star......................................................€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

My good French friend invited me to lunch since we have not caught up since I left for Malaysia 3-weeks earlier. He selected the restaurant, but it was the first time for both of us. He too is very much into food and will soon be embarking in a career in the food industry.

The Restaurant is part of the "Le Roch Hotel & Spa" which is a boutique hotel located in the 1er arrondissement. As you entered it had a really homey comfortable feel. In fact, it was pretty much in full view of the waiting area and part of the hotel reception, but it didn't feel out of place. They had outside seating and a large sunroof with a terrace surrounding the sunroof with tables for al-fresco dining in the warmer months.

We perused the menu, it was a simple menu, but a nice variety. This hotel is also known for their cocktails, but I'm always leery of cocktails in Paris, since they're not known for making good cocktails and have a tendency to be outrageously expensive. Although they did not have "dirty martini" on their menu, I asked our server if they can make it. He said yes, and if I didn't like it I could return it. So I had a dirty martini and my friend had a margarita.

We waited and waited for our cocktails, but they never came, so we just ignored it. Then our server came and took our order, still no drinks. Finally when the entrée was served we got our cocktails, and also not  too much later than that we ordered our wine to go with our meal. So, not a great start. When the drinks arrived, I asked our waiter why there weren't any olives in my martini, he explained that the olives had large pits and could not be skewered, so he gave me a small bowl of them instead. Despite the rough start, I do have to say the dirty martini was one of the best I've had in Paris to date.


Slow cooked egg. I love eggs, especially poached eggs. The egg was perfectly poached and sat atop a puree of pumpkin, and for added flavoring had shaved parmesan cheese. And, for texture it also had some croutons. In its simplicity it was a simple good start.

Smoked beef filet carpaccio. My friend had the carpaccio.  Another favorite dish that I love because of its simplicity. However, I had never seen carpaccio served with hazelnuts. It was different, but I kind of liked the added texture. I expected the meat to be pretty smoky and cooked, but it was perfect. It was smoked enough where it didn't cook the meat, but also imparted a subtle smokiness. It was a delicious starter. I thought the only thing they could've added was some lemon wedges.


Bonito Fish. Bonito fish is usually known as a flavoring agent such as by-product bonito flakes because of its distinct fish flavor. So the whole fish is not for everyone since it has a strong distinct flavor. I happen to like it. I thought the fish was perfectly cooked and very tasty. It's an oily fish, so that helped with the moisture. I usually think of adding pickled vegetables to rich or very "greasy" food like in BBQ, to cut down on the fat, but not to fish, strangely enough. I did, however, like the pickled cauliflower and broccoli served with the fish. It was a good dish.

Chicken. My friend had the young farm chicken. I took a taste of the chicken, and I do have to say the chicken was perfectly cooked. It was extremely moist and delicious. The accompanying fall vegetables was a nice accompaniment and the different flavored "jus" added a nice flavoring without the added fats. Overall a very good dish.

Wines: We had the house wines, which I'm not really sure what they were, but I had a glass of white and my friend a glass of red.

DESSERTS: We opted not to have desserts, since I, in particular, was sugared out from the day before from my friend's birthday party.


Overall, I thought it was a very good restaurant, definitely above average. The atmosphere and location was perfect. I actually don't mind slow service because I like long leisurely meals, but the timing of when we got our cocktails and our entrée at the same time was definitely a miss. Therefore, I knocked down a few points from my rating. Otherwise, with the exception of the cocktails mishap, the service that followed was excellent. As for the food, nothing out of the ordinary, but the execution and flavors were very good. Would we go back, ABSOLUTELY. Can't wait to go in warmer weather and be able to dine al-fresco.

With 1 prixe-fix lunch at 31€, an entrée/plat ordered a-la-carte, a bottle of water, 2-cocktails, 2-glasses of wine, and one coffee our bill came to 156€ or 78€.

Friday, October 27, 2017

LA BAUHINIA, Shangri-La -- Restaurant Review

10 Avenue d'Iéna, 75116 Paris
Phone: 01 53 67 19 98
Metro 6 & 9 Trocadero
website: http://www.shangri-la.com/paris/shangrila/dining/restaurants/la-bauhinia/

Rating Standards: 5-Stars = Extraordinary; 4-Stars = Excellent; 3-Stars = Average; 2-Stars = Fair; 1-Star = Poor
€ = Inexpensive: 30€ and under; €€ = Moderate: 31€-49€; €€€ = Expensive: €50 -75; €€€€ = Very Expensive: more than €76 (prices based on minimum 2-courses)
1-Bell = Pleasantly quiet (less than 65 decibels); 2-Bells = Can talk easily (65-70); 3-Bells = Talking normally gets difficult (70-80); 4-Bells = Can talk only in raised voices (75-90); BOMB = Too noisy for normal conversation (90+)

4.50 - Star......................................................€€€€......................................................... 2 - Bell

Note: In the above € rating, it would've been €€€ without alcohol.

It was one of my best friend's birthday and I wanted to organize something special.  This restaurant is located in the Shangri-La Hotel, and houses some Michelin starred restaurants such as "Shang Palace" and "L'Abeille." I have several friends tell me skip the two, they're expensive and just not worth the money and go to "La Bauhinia" instead. Good advise.

They have a very eclectic menu, so I was really looking forwarded to trying it. They have a mix of French and Asian dishes. For lunch you can have a special prix-fixe 3-courses for 58€ which was either a set menu of the French dishes, or a choose your own from most of the Asian dishes. The dishes are marked with the following.

These markings were perfect, especially since one of our friends is vegetarian.

Note: I'm only reviewing the dishes that I had.


Laksa, Indonesia.  Although Indonesia was listed next to the soup, I'm assuming the recipe the chef uses is from Indonesia, because Laksa is a soup that originated in Malaysia "Nonya cuisine" which is a melange of Chinese/Malaysian food. Ironically, I just got back from Malaysia not even 3-weeks ago and I was curious to taste Chef Moret's version. Keep in mind there are many types of laksa depending on the region.

Off the bat, the plating of the soup was much more elegant. As for taste, all the basic flavorings of the laksa  were there, but not as aggressive as in Malaysia or other countries that I've had it. And, it had a little kick, I wished it had more, but this is France, so spicy heat would be too aggressive for many French. There were a few bits of rice noodles at the bottom of the bowl, so it was more about the broth then the "bulk."  However, I thought the dish was excellent.


Matsaman curry, Thailand. This is probably one  of my most favorite curries. The name Matsaman actually originated from Muslims in Thailand, it was originally called "Mussulman" which means Muslim. For me the one ingredient that I love the most in this curry are the peanuts, cause I love peanuts.

This was a chicken curry, which was the original protein used and most common. I thought the sauce was excellent. Not as refined in its presentation nor plating as in the laksa soup, but what it had was a lot of flavor. The chef used chayote as a vegetable and some fried shallots to give it a little crunch. Although I could have it hotter (spicier), it was overall a well composed dish.

The accompanying rice I loved. It had a little heat and a little sweetness. I'm pretty sure it was flavored a little bit with annatto, otherwise known as Achiote which imparts a bright orange/yellow color and the flavor profile is mostly "nutty," but primarily it is used as a coloring agent. It was a great accompaniment.


"Exotic fruit." I decided after all the rich flavors, and although the cheese plate, which I would normally order  was offered, I thought it would be offensive to the meal that I just had if I ate cheese, so I ordered the mixed fresh fruit.

I'm not exactly sure why it was considered exotic, but overall I thought the freshness and the little touches of gold leafing was nice.


As I mentioned, this luncheon was for my friend's birthday. I had prearranged for them to make something special and put a candle on top. Well they went above and beyond and gave us the whole kit and caboodle with the mignardise. We had mousses, cakes, fruit, it was such a wonderful collection and variety it was overwhelming. Obviously it was just way too much for us. All delicious.

NOTE: I was so loving the ambience et.al. I forgot to find out what champagnes and wines we had.


I discovered this restaurant from several recommendations from friends.  The Shangri-La hotel is beautiful and houses 2-michelin starred restaurants. But La Bauhinia caught my attention because of their eclectic menu, especially since I had just arrived from Malaysia. The service was beyond reproach. It wasn't one of those stuffy hotel restaurants where the wait-staff are so stiff that if they bent the wrong way they'd crack. We had a wonderful time with our waiter, and more importantly, the atmosphere lent itself to be able to naturally enjoy the food and the setting. However, some of my companions thought the food could've been more assertive/aggressive, which I agree. But then again, look at who their customer base is. Otherwise, overall it was delicious. Would we go back absolutely.

For five people, we ordered 3-course prix-fixe menus, 4-coups de champagne, 1-martini, 1-bottle of white wine, 2-glasses of red wine and a large bottle of water, our bill came to 545€ or 109€ per person, so this was not an inexpensive meal. The prices shot up because the wines are very expensive. Therefore, if you don't drink it would be less expensive. Bottom line, I thought it was worth it.