Making France's day

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-18 07:30

Making France's day

Gambas flambes au pastis, a trio of king prawns flamed in a boozy sauce with herbs and aniseed. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The confit canard (88 yuan) is a French duck leg served with fried potatoes and a vegetable.

The duck is French for reasons beyond snobbish authenticity. Chinese ducks, obviously of renowned quality, are quite different birds, a species chosen to produce fat bodies and not so consequential limbs. The French, of course, are said to have an eye for a shapely leg, and for this traditional French classic, the leg is what it's all about. So the restaurants sources big birds from the motherland raised to produce lean but substantial legs. The final quick-fry gives it a deliciously crunchy skin that can get a bit oily if you allow the dish to cool, so get those WeChat shots done quickly and enjoy the hot, savory goodness.

The vegetable on this day is a thick slice of tomato grilled with herbs, a side that is often watery and forgettable. Here it's a flavor bomb, reflecting the careful sourcing that owner Clement Bacri and chef Nadia Meliani clearly take pride in. This tomato was a triumph of summer ripeness, exploding with the earthy goodness of the countryside.

We also tried the gambas flambes au pastis (158 yuan), a trio of king prawns flamed in a boozy sauce rich with herbs and aniseed. Beautifully presented with the shellfish sprouting from a mound of mashed potato, it's served with a savory side of sauteed chopped tomatoes (again a star), yellow zucchini and tender asparagus.

Lyons native Meliani has also won local praise for her beef dishes, including a zesty boef Bourguignon (88 yuan) braised in red wine with garlic, onions and fine herbs that sells out early. Cote de boef is an Australian prime rib of beef served with three kinds of sauces, mashed potatoes, fries and salad. At 568 per kg, it's the big-ticket item on a menu that overall is nicely medium-priced.

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