Hidden gem Chez Gaston serves no-frills French fare perfect for any occasion.
French food is often regarded by most as the epitome of culinary elegance, needed to be savoured in the grandest of ambiences. But what if a French chef comes along and shatters the misconception? That’s the case with Chez Gaston by Rendez-Vous, the brainchild of Chef Florian Nigen of France, where diners can enjoy the most authentic French food in a laidback setting.
Opened merely a few months ago in September, Chez Gaston is founded by Chef Florian Nigen, one the two gentlemen behind the formerly very successful Rendez-Vous in Bangsar’s Telawi, which officially closed its doors end of last year after four years in operation. Shortly after taking a 6 months break to France, the visionary returned rejuvenated and ready to have another go at KL’s culinary scene.
The bistro keeps it simple yet cosy all around – the walls decorated to the minimum, tables laid out just elegant enough, and the decorations (especially the lights) placed strategically across the restaurant to keep the ambience warm and inviting. This is of course done intentionally – Chef Gaston is very handy (ask him about the tree light installation that’s placed outside) – so as to not take the highlight away from the real star of the show: the food.
We started our meal with amuse bouche in the form of pork rillettes, a chef recommended pate in the menu. The palate cleanser worked wonderfully to prep our taste buds for all the French food we were about to savour.
Next up was the Soupe à l’oignon, a soup mixture of roasted onions and brown chicken stock with a generous amount of bacon. The dish is served with baked emmental cheese and baguette that come in the form of a hat. Simply break into the crispy saucer to dip in the soup, and enjoy the saltiness of the cheese with the richness of the soup and the meat.
The high note of the soup was followed by a plate of Terrine de saumon, or salmon terrine served with cocktail sauce and basil dressing. Although terrine has not really caught on in Malaysia outside of authentic French restaurants, the varietal served here is a must-order even for anyone not accustomed to French food. The best bit of the dish is the cocktail sauce, which gives the room-temperature terrine the kick it needs.
The main highlight of our starters was the Escargots bourguignon, the dish we’ve been looking forward to that evening. It may be stereotypical but the acme of authentic French cuisine is to relish snails cooked the French way. The Escargots bourguignon in Chez Gaston features the juicy morsels baked in potent homemade garlic and herbs butter that made every chew enjoyable.
For the mains, we started with a must-have at Chez Gaston, the Boudin noir aux pommes. This top French delicacy features a large pork blood sausage served on a bed of caramelised apples, and comes with roasted baby potato wedges and a peculiar cabbage coleslaw. The soft pork blood will fall apart in your fork but its taste is divine once you look past the texture.
Our second main was from the ocean and came served in nicely tied parchment paper. The Rouge ten papillote à la crème de ciboulette is essentially a whole deboned red mullet fish baked a la “papillote” (which is the French method of cooking food in a pouch or parcel) with vegetable julienne, and a creamy chive sauce. Not only was the fish delicious, but easy to eat as well and the assorted vegetables made the dish filling.
We were looking forward to the desserts because what is French cuisine without the famed reputation of its afters. The Crème brulée vanilla was hands down the best crème brulée in town, free of the eggy hints that get in the way of most the desserts iterations. It was just sweet enough and the portion is generous for its price. The Tarte aux pommes did not disappoint either, as the traditional French apple tart made with cinnamon and green apple compote came with whipped cream on the side. Definitely a must have if you love your dessert fruity!
We washed down all the meals with Kir, a time-honoured French aperitif that is commonly found in France but not so much here. At Chez Gaston, you have the option of choosing either the blackcurrant, peach, or wild strawberry in terms of the flavours.
At night, the fairy lights come on, illuminating the restaurant’s terrace just right and creating a scene straight from French classics. Just hum a violin tune with your meal and you’ll feel yourself transported to a boulevard in France; all you need is imagination.
If Japanese is more your cup of tea, Kouzu Bangsar is our recommendation in the vicinity!
12, Jalan Bangsar Utama 9, Bangsar,
59000 Kuala Lumpur
Monday – Thursday: 11.45am – 2.30pm; 5pm – 10.30pm
Friday: 11.45am – 2.30pm; 4pm – 10.30pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11.45am – 2.30pm; 5pm – 10.30pm
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