New Chef @ Rendez-Vous & Upstage Lounge, Bangsar
July 13, 2016
KL welcomes a fresh face to its F&B landscape: Chef Benjamin Reilhes is relatively young, scarcely in his mid-twenties, but he succeeded in crafting one of our favourite dinners in recent weeks. Now jazzing up the menu at Bangsar's Rendez-Vous, the talented Frenchman - who's cooked in restaurants since he was 15 - infuses imagination & intelligence into his work, the result of having refined his prowess at venues like Paris' Michelin three-star Le PrÃ© Catelan & Toulouse's Brasserie des Beaux Arts.
From the very outset of the meal, it's clear that chef Reilhes aims to bring a modern sparkle & renewed exuberance to the restaurant - nibble on a well-conceived & unique amuse bouche while enjoying a Mojito while deciding what to order. For the ideal introduction to Rendez-Vous revamped repertoire, start your journey with a fish soup that's assembled at the table, comprising a tartare of confit vegetables & thick rouille sauce that's poured over with the briny broth, balancing contemporary finesse with traditional flavours, recommended for pairing with a vibrantly zesty South African Golden Kaan Chardonnay 2013.
Tuna takes on an elaborate & elegant presentation, demonstrating a candied tenderness on a platter painstakingly put together with cauliflower puree, cabbage & rouille (RM25) - the meticulousness feels befitting of haute cuisine, albeit at reasonable prices. Many of the offerings in Reilhes' oeuvre are delightfully distinctive, such as the half-cooked eggs with Parisian-style gnocchi & cheese (RM22), irresistible comfort food matched with a label from the vineyards of CÃ´tes du RhÃ´ne.
Fans of foie gras won't want to duck this sampling of creamy-smooth liver terrine (RM48), enriched with port wine & spices, buoyed further by mushrooms for a memorable ensemble that sings together in ravishing harmony. A few accompanying sips of Porto Cruz Tawny Port make the experience even better.
Moving on to mains, the star of the seafood section is likely the crusted sea bream with potato & truffle oil risotto, complemented by a bouillabaisse-inspired sauce (RM62) - it does full justice to the fish, balancing the delicate nuances of the sea bream with irreproachably selected embellishments. The pairing of an Italian Pinot Grigio works predictably well for this.
Steak enthusiasts can now bookmark Rendez-Vous as a deserving destination - the grilled rib-eye with all the trimmings (RM89) is exemplary, as compellingly executed as we could have hoped for, supplying sheer succulence to sink your teeth into; definitely worthwhile for that beef fix. Good to go with a Chianti.
Reilhes' flair extends through desserts, with his profiterole-like reinterpretation of the Paris-Brest (RM20; choux pastry stuffed with hazelnut custard) & a lemon tart blanketed in both soft & hard meringue (RM17) ensuring a fine finish to this exploration.
We wouldn't hesitate to visit Rendez-Vous on any occasion for its food, but to make a complete night out of it, founders Florian Nigen & Arnaud Chappert have recently opened a crimson-cloaked bar above - named Upstage Lounge - that regularly hosts jazz & stand-up comedy shows. It's a cosy space for chilling out in Bangsar over a top-flight curation of stand-out European potions. Now nearly two years old, Rendez-Vous keeps getting better & better - thanks to the team here for having us back.
100 Lorong Maarof, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. Tel: 03-2202-0206
Rendez-Vous opens daily, 12pm-3pm, 6pm-12am. Upstage opens Mon, Thurs-Sun in the evenings.
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