July 10, 2010

Milk trouble

Pin It

I was looking for some place to have lunch at the last minute, and looked at a fellow blogger's site for inspiration.  The pictures looked pretty interesting, so I set off for Patrice (馬賽法式廚房) in search of something different, with the image of the bouillabaisse in my head and the promise of exotic flavors from Marseille...

My fantasy was shattered the instant I sat down and saw the menu.  There was pretty much nothing "French" on the set lunch menu, which offered a bunch of pastas and some sandwiches.  I knew instantly that there was nothing I wanted on that menu.  The "reserve menu" contained within the plastic stand looked a little more interesting - at least there was canard a l'orange, some crêpes...  But alas, these items need to be ordered in advance, so I couldn't have any of them today!

Just as I was about to give up and walk out the door, the waitress brought us the dinner menu.  This was again a set with no à la carte choices, but I could have it for lunch if I wanted.  I recalled that my fellow blogger had done the same, and I reluctantly agreed.

A small bread basket was laid in front of us, followed by a small dish of butter.  Curiously, some of the butter had liquified in the dish.  The waitress informed us that the kitchen had heated up the butter a little so that it wouldn't be too hard to spread on the bread.  I didn't know what to say to that... and decided not to touch it.

The soup was meant to be a vegetable soup (蔬菜湯), but in reality it was a light onion soup.  Unfortunately the chef had chosen to put in too much oregano and rosemary in the soup, and I found the taste too distracting.

The hot starter was mushroom crêpe in white wine sauce.  This was OK and I'm used to having crêpes with white wine sauce.  The addition of a basil sauce made things a little more interesting.

The Caesar salad was a little light in flavor, but I didn't mind.  I was starting to get full...

The bouillabaisse is what I came for, and it tasted pretty good.  There was plenty of seafood, with John Dory fillets, mussel, scallop, king crab leg...as well as some vegetables.  I'm no expert on the dish, but something tells me the broth is a little lighter than usual, and perhaps a tad on the sweet side.  Did I like it?  Oh yes!  Finally, there was something that made me happy about coming for lunch today.

I took one spoonful of the chocolate mousse and stopped.  There was a layer of cake at the bottom.  The problem, though, was that the taste was just off - really off.  It was that familiar taste of bad chocolate milk from my childhood - and I wonder whether they sourced some horrible-tasting milk, or it had gone bad.

We were one of only 2 tables they served, and chef Neil came to chat.  I told him how surprised I was at the way the menu was put together, and what I expected from a French/Marseillaise restaurant was totally different from the reality.  He talked about his philosphy of running the place, and that his Taiwanese partner had suggested ways to tweak the menu/dishes to suit the local tastes. 

While I appreciate the difficulty of running a restaurant, especially a "Western"/French place in Taipei, I thought he would be better off not listening to his partner.  If the menu becomes too localized, he runs the risk of losing your identity and competing with all the cheap, local joints at the bottom end of the price range... where I fear he'd lose out to the locals.

In the middle of the afternoon, I stopped by Pâtisserie Sadaharu Aoki Paris (パティスリー・サダハル・アオキ・パリ) again for a little something.  Verrine Bamboo caught my eye.  I wanted something refreshing on such a hot day, and this colorful combination of white, green, burgundy and brown looked like just what I needed.  Lots of different flavors here as well as textures, with macha ice cream, red beans, chocolate cream, crème Chantilly and crumble.  But once again, the macha here did me in.  I felt a little queasy as it was just a little too milky.  Sigh... I really should remember not to order anything with macha...

I left the place happy, though, as I picked up another dozen of the delicious macarons...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map