About

"The evolving 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, 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.


ENTRÉE

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.



PLATS 

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.


DESSERTS 

"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.












"MIGNARDISE" 

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.



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



SUMMARY

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.


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