Affordable French Dining in the City
There are honestly not many French restaurants available here. Not enough anyway but I am glad that Frenchmen Florian Nigen and Arnaud Chappert took their passion and turned it into reality by sharing Rendez-Vous with us. Located in a quieter section in Bangsar, Rendez-Vous is not your typical French fine dining restaurant.
Housed on a corner lot with two levels of dining, the bright yellow exterior of the restaurant sends a wonderful joie de vivre vibe the moment we arrived that Sunday.
The restaurant is set in casual al fresco chic with a bold red interior flanked by dark wood, pristine white table settings and red napkins. A long brick bar held court at one side of the room while a big chalkboard states specials of the day. One can even catch a peek at the kitchen through the kitchen window on the side of the restaurant. Eiffel Tower is seen on walls and ornaments, reminding us of its French origins. Spacious and comfortable, it is certainly a lovely place to enjoy a weekend brunch or a candlelight dinner.
We were told that Rendez-Vous is offering Sunday Brunch! And while many fine French restaurants cater more towards the adults, Rendez-Vous is actually kids-friendly. Every Sunday, Rendez-Vous is featuring their special Sunday Brunch menu for adults and kids too.
And while the adults are enjoying a wonderful brunch, the kids get to play. Being a parent, I was pleased to see that there is a corner filled with games and activities for the kids. There’s nothing more satisfying to a parent than to know than that they can spend time with their little ones and also enjoy a relaxing moment while are kids are kept busy.
Rendez-Vous has recently setup Upstage by Rendez-Vous on the first floor of the restaurant. We paid a quick visit and fell in love with the dim but classy decorated space filled with a bar, lounge chairs, jazz posters and an open sunlit roof. It’s great for private events or a casual relaxing space where diners can hang around to catch some live shows or stand ups.
Hoping to change our perception of French food being pricey, both owners wanted Rendez-Vous’s menu to be affordable and filled with dishes that one can enjoy regularly. One can opt for their 3-course Sunday Brunch menu or their a la carte menu filled with French classics.
Helming the kitchen for the last few months in Rendez-Vous is a young and talented chef from Toulouse in the South of France, Chef Benjamin Reilhes. Chef Benjamin brings a modern touch on French cuisine cooked the classic way in his seasonal menu.
The Sunday Brunch Special is such a steal at RM69++ for a 3-course menu. There are options for a Basket of Viennoiserie and Bread served with condiments or a plank of Starter Assortments. This is followed by an option of main course of Meat of the Day or Seafood of the Day and a finish of your Choice of Dessert from the dessert menu.
Rendez-Vous also has a Sunday Brunch menu for kids featuring a choice of Stuffed Crepes with Creamy Ham Croque Monsieur and Mash or Fish Fingers with Fries, a Mocktail, a dessert of Chocolate Mousse and a little sweet gift pack at RM32++.
The Basket of Viennoiserie and Bread with Condiments looked so inviting at sight. Don’t be fool by that plain looking pastry and bread because these are some of the best ones I have had. Warm crusty bread dipped into salted butter or assortment of jams are heavenly. There’s also a buttery and flaky Croissant and Pain au Chocolat too.
The Starter Assortment is filled with lots of French bites. From the small balls of crispy Gribiche to the mini Onion Mushroom Tart, Tuna Rillettes, Pork Liver Pate, Comte cheese and a soft and creamy Baked Egg with crispy toasted soldiers, the platter is really a masterpiece of French delights.
The crispy Gribiche, made with porky parts of gelatinous bits, gherkin pickle, capers, onion, egg and herbs, is wonderfully tasty. I also adored the pork liver pate with its rich and creamy moreish notes while the tuna rillettes is good on toast. What made this dish a brunch must have is the ooey gooey soft egg smothered in luscious béchamel and cheese sauce…
For main course, there was a chicken and a fish dish of the day. The Poulet Facon Cocotte translated to a pretty looking chicken roulade with bits of stuffing, served with a medley of vegetables. A generous portion indeed of thick coiled of chook cooked on sous vide till achingly tender and smooth. A rich and silky sauce enveloped the chicken nicely. Chef Benjamin’s artistic side of vegetables rendering added art, texture and taste to the dish.
The fish dish was just as pretty as the first dish and the Filet de Loup de Mer showed off two beautiful pieces of crispy skin seabass fillet with a citrus sauce. The fish was firm and sweet, matching really well with the light citrusy tang of the sauce. A dish that is light and easy to enjoy…
The French are famous for their desserts. And since it’s Sunday, there never a better time than to enjoy Chef Benjamin’s beautiful version of Tarte au Citron Meringue. Little florets of torched meringue hides a gorgeous and tangy lemon curd and tart base. This is served with crisp apple slices, lemon sacs, dragon fruit bits and a lime sorbet. And since I love bold fresh and citrusy flavours, this dessert is right up my alley. A great and vibrant ending to a Sunday brunch.
Besides the Sunday Brunch menu, there are also a sumptuous a la carte filled with French classics. One must-have dish at Rendez-Vous is the indulgence of duck liver in Foie Gras de Canard (RM48). Chef Benjamin’s canvas of sublime wedges of duck foie gras terrine with a layer of port wine jelly sat on swipes of creamy puree and a pool of mushroom jus. Bits of mushrooms, herbs and more completed the dish to near perfection. Decadent and delicious… so good that you may not want to share!
My favorite dish of the day had to be the Poitrine de Porc Fondante (RM49). A slab of golden pork belly took limelight on the plate. The dish looked deceptively simple but it takes 2 days to prepare the pork belly itself according to Chef Benjamin. The textural component of tender and unctuous fatty and lean bits, coupled with the crispy edges of the pork belly is marvelous. Well flavoured and tasty, we all agreed unanimously that the dish is indeed top-notched. The pork was accompanied by crispy balls of Gribiche, mushroom cannelloni, asparagus, baby corn, snow peas and more.
Tranche D’Agneau au Jus (RM62) reads pan seared lamb, pissaladière and smoked herring cream. French trimmed lamb racks were cooked to medium pinkness and served with jus. Succulent and tender, the lamb racks are delightful. The smoked herring cream is quite unusual and it gives the lamb a different take of flavours from the usual classic ones that I have had. Served with crispy bread of caramelized onions and anchovy, the dish is rather unique on its own.
From mains, we finished off with more desserts from the a la carte menu. Don’t ask me to choose a dessert here because after sampling all the desserts here, I am literally lost for words at how gorgeous the French desserts are.
Delice au Chocolat et Caramel (RM22) is a dynamic duo combination of dark bittersweet chocolate and salted caramel. Two nutty chocolate disc sandwiched dark bitter chocolate mousse that hides a sinful surprise of salted almond and peanut praline inside. Savor the rich and dark dessert with a nutty ice cream and orange sauce with fresh fruits. The dessert is worth every calorie it has…
The prettiest dessert of the lot, Paris Brest (RM20) is Chef Benjamin’s ode to French pastry. Petit choux with a crusty top is filled generously with hazelnut custard and served with more cream, caramel and fruits. The nutty luscious custard is wonderful and so satisfying. I like the bits of fruits which gave the dish a touch of freshness.
Wine lovers will also be pleased to know that both Nigen and Chappert keeps a solid list of wines, liqueur and aperitifs. We had the house signature Rendez-Vous cocktail, which tasted as good as it looks, as well as a beautiful Le Contesse Prosecco and house white of Pinot Grigio.
Rendez-Vous is certainly place to look out for when one wants to dine French. We like how unpretentious the restaurant and its menu is. Prices are definitely affordable when compared to other French dining eateries. We look forward to more of Chef Benjamin’s seasonal creations as the young chef definitely has great potential to whip up more enticing French dishes at Rendez-Vous.
100 Lorong Maarof
Tel: 03-2202 0206
Open daily, 12noon to 3pm, 6pm to 12midnight