French benefits


  • Eating Out
  • Friday, 02 Aug 2013

Chef Pierre M Chaillou has adopted a ‘less is more’ approach to his cooking so that his dishes are visually pleasing but never overly decorative.

Croisette Café makes waves with its five-star quality French fare at three-star prices.

TUCKED away in a quiet corner of Bangsar, Croisette Café proves that good things do come in small packages.

Opened in August 2011, the modest and cosily furnished Croisette Café’s five-star quality French dishes have provided Francophiles with delicious succour and kept them returning for more thanks to its wallet-friendly three-star prices.

The little eatery is owned by semi-retired French chef Pierre M Chaillou (formerly of Le Bernardin in Changkat Bukit Bintang) and his wife Michelle Soon.

The a la carte menu is by no means scant; its ample selection includes soup, salads, pasta, main courses of fish and meat, individual-sized pizzas, sandwiches, light snacks and dessert. On top of the ever-changing chef’s specials, there is now a three-course set dinner (RM70.40 per person, RM108 inclusive of two glasses of wine or beer) to pique the interest of new and regular customers.

Dinner typically begins with amuse bouche – a petite precursor created to tease the taste buds. You never know what surprise lies in store as it depends on the chef’s mood and the ingredients he has at hand.

Ours was black olive tapenade with capers and a whole semi-dried cherry tomato dotted with balsamic vinegar, a tantalising mélange of muted briny, tangy and sweet notes.

Four options are available for each course of the set dinner so diners can pick a starter, main and dessert of their choice. Chaillou’s “less is more” approach also ensures his dishes are visually pleasing but never fussy or overly decorative, every ingredient on the plate is there for a pragmatic purpose.

The semi-dried tomato and black olive tapenade was the amuse bouche of the day.

Fish enthusiasts will fall hook, line and sinker for the appetising Salmon & Tuna Tartare with Capsicum Brunoise and Cucumber Jelly, a pretty and harmonious composition of textures, flavours and colours. Heart-warming soup for the soul comes in the form of saffron-scented Prawn Bisque with crunchy croutons and rouille (traditional mayonnaise with chilli or cayenne pepper and garlic), its complex, full-bodied goodness guaranteed to warm the cockles of your heart.

Despite their diminutive size, the Baked Mussels stuffed with herbed butter are highly recommended for their inherent sweetness and springy succulence. Yearning for greener pasture? The Nissarde (Nicoise) Salad with Tuna and Anchovies is a reliable, classic French salad that can do no wrong. It’s a refreshing mixture of lettuce leaves, cucumber, tomato, baby radishes and capsicum with black olives, hard-boiled egg wedges, tuna flakes and anchovies.

The main show-stealer here is Duck Confit – a Chaillou signature speciality that’s worth the drive alone to Croisette Café. It will leave you waxing lyrical about the duck’s slightly crisp skin and unctuous, melt-in-the-mouth tenderness after the first mouthful. Paired with tasty potato sarladaise (Périgord-style fried potato with garlic) and mesclun salad, its muted brininess is pleasantly similar to that of Chinese waxed duck.

Seafood lovers may prefer diving into the velvety Croisette Bouillabaisse featuring the chef’s prawn bisque as the base stock. Laden with King’s Nepture treasure trove of mussels, clams, squid, fish and a whole river prawn, the enticing broth is served with crispy sliced baguette topped with dollops of mustardy mayonnaise that will leave you replete.

The Seabass fillet with Red Capsicum Coulis and Celeriac Puree should reel in effusive compliments as well. The fish is expertly cooked to ensure it is crisp on the outside yet nicely moist inside. The mildly sweet coulis and creamy celeriac simply enhance its delicate sweetness further.

Chef Pierre M Chaillou has adopted a ‘less is more’ approach to his cooking so that his dishes are visually pleasing but never overly decorative.

Anyone with a penchant for beef and steak will enjoy the Ribeye with Cepes Mushroom Sauce and Potato Gratin. Served medium rare, the meat’s flinty nuance is balanced by the tiny fungi’s earthy accent whilst its meaty richness is amplified by the potato’s buttery soft layers.

Leaving you on a sugar high for the night will be irresistible desserts such as Chocolate Parfait with Confit Orange Rinds and Bergamot Sauce, Cake Passion Indulgence (a slice of silky passionfruit and chocolate cake), Nougat Glacé (iced nougat) with Grand Marnier-scented Fruits and Nuts Nougatine or Thin Crust Apple Tart. It’s difficult to say which is the best among them.

Also be forewarned that the apple tart requires a 15-minute wait but your patience will be duly rewarded once you sample the flaky, tissue-thin pastry crust adorned with piping hot caramelised apple slices.

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