Time flies at Rendez-Vous: Bangsar's cornerstone for French cooking is firing on all cylinders for 2016 with a repertoire of traditional Gallic treats that's more extensive than ever. A meal here may begin with light refreshments (an amuse bouche of bacon-wrapped prunes paired with a Kir cocktail is ideal); it might end hours later with wide smiles & broad waistlines. The restaurant remains operational this Chinese New Year, so it could be the spot to hit if much of the neighbourhood seems shut.
Rendez-Vous' new sharing platter deserves to be its signature temptation: It's a staggering spread that catches most customers by surprise - two people can indulge in this for a full feast, while six can enjoy it as a heavy starter. The selection may change from week to week, but its key constituent is kitchen-made terrines, pates & rillettes. We especially like the two notably unique game pates - hazelnut-laced deer & wild boar - for their relatively robust & meaty flavours, but everything's worth trying, from coarse-textured pork liver pate to fatty-fleshy pork rillettes. The rest of the platter is memorably curated too - the escargots prove excellent, juicy rather than rubbery, while the chicken gizzards are more tender & tasty than typical. Other stars include chewy-savoury slices of smooth smoked duck breast & a genuinely lovely potato salad mixed with morsels of pork; you'll also find ham, sausages & pickles, rounding out this platter that's justifiably priced at RM120++. Rendez-Vous supplies reasonable-costing wine recommendations - for this platter, the Baron Monbarduc, Bergerac 2014 (RM28/RM140++).
From the a la carte menu, our current best bet might be the tartiflette (RM49++) - a speciality of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of the French Alps, it's a steaming-hot gratin of potatoes with lardons, onions & reblochon cheese, as sumptuously rich as it looks & sounds, with melting layers of rich flavours & textures, best shared by two customers. If you like that sort of calorie-fraught provocation, you'll probably also appreciate Rendez-vous' interpretation of the classic onion soup, blessed with a beautiful sweetness, bolstered by the bite of bacon of an Emmental-smothered tartine (RM24++), or the escargots, which emerge in an eye-catching fashion, sandwiched in vol-au-vent puff pastry, showered in garlic butter sauce (RM34++). And finally, for salmon enthusiasts, keep an eye out: Rendez-vous plans to soon introduce a very creamy salmon tartare on its regular menu (RM34++); the restaurant also consistently offers specials of the day to bait regulars, recently serving puffs stuffed with minced salmon partnered with comforting heaps of mash & ratatouille (RM46++). Pairing options for these span a South African Golden Kaan Chardonnay (RM28/RM140++) to a French Belle Mare Cabernet Sauvignon (RM29/RM145++).
On Sunday mornings, brunch is available, 12pm through 5pm. One of the possible orders is the Menu Boulanger (RM59++ for a total of three courses), as bread-laden as its name suggests - the first course comprises a fresh croissant, pain au chocolat & toast accompanied by honey, jam & butter; the second features two eggs (choose an omelette or scrambled), bacon, sliced bread, sauteed mushrooms, Provencal-style tomato, a salad & cheese; dessert might be a decadent chocolate mousse cake with mint ice cream. To help burn off all that eating, Rendez-Vous is currently KL's sole restaurant that offers complimentary games of boules for its customers - take your turn at learning to play petanque, throwing hollow but heavy metal balls at a special section beside the outlet. It's a pretty fun experience that will make your lunch or dinner here all the more interesting.
A sneak peek at what's ahead for Rendez-Vous within the next few months: Founder Arnaud, chef Flo & their team will be launching a first-floor lounge above the main restaurant (wittily named Upstage); it looks set to be a cosy venue to enjoy jazzy musical performances while relaxing over after-dinner drinks - perhaps the Polignac Reserve Cognac, a deep, aromatic Grande Champagne blend (RM23++ a glass). But if you're keen to check out Rendez-Vous before that, another excuse might be for Valentine's Day, when a Lover's Menu will showcase seductive lures like devilled quail eggs with avruga caviar, Boston lobster raviole on ratatouille with bisque sauce, pan-fried foie gras with red berries puree & aged balsamic reduction, scallops in shell with cauliflower emulsion & glazed baby vegetables, wholegrain-mustard-&-honey-crusted beef tenderloin with green peppercorn sauce & potato gratin, brie cheese & chocolate moist cake with a melted caramel heart - at RM195++ per person, reservations are encouraged. Many thanks to Rendez-Vous for having us here.
Rendez-Vous French Restaurant
100 Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Open daily for lunch & dinner through midnight. Tel: 03-22020206
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