KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Sometimes, French cuisine outside of France can come across as exclusive and intimidating. That’s why, it is refreshing to find a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur such as the Rendez-Vous that serves up classic French dishes with an equal measure of finesse and flavour, sans pomp. Adding to that an affordable price point (particularly with regard to the restaurant’s set menu offers) and we find that it is now possible to dine on good French cuisine more often in Malaysia.
Our meal at the Rendez-Vous began with the exciting discovery of a petite tub of fleur de sel (or french sea salt) at our table. We were also more than happy with the generous flow of crusty bread and butter that was served before the meal, because complimentary bread is always a welcome way to say hello.
Now, unlike their Western counterparts, the French are not overly fond of gluttony, therefore portion sizes may seem small to those used to a Western diet of massive fry-ups.
However, what is important to the French is never quantity but quality, and a little bit of the good stuff is always looked upon more favourably than a lot of the mediocre. So, what French food lacks in quantity, it makes up for with an abundance of outstanding flavours.
An appetiser of Tuna & Seabass Rillettes (fish mousse) was a creamy but tangy starter that coupled well with the basket of bread at our table.
A petite main of Pan-Fried Sea Bass was seared with a delicate and slightly crisp skin atop a moist but flaky body of fish. Topped with a delicate segment of cherry tomato, a sprinkle of shallots, and a medley of asparagus and baby corn over an artistic swathe of carrot puree and a pool of buttery foam sauce; a simple work of art was made with this portion of clean-tasting fish.
There was a deliberate placement of a single, minuscule mushroom as a final, delicate garnish on this dish and these are the kinds of small details that reveal the showmanship of a good chef. You’ll be able to find such lovely little accents in many of the dishes at the Rendez-Vous.
A steak and salad option was included as part of our particular Groupon deal and while this wasn’t the best or biggest cut of beef, it was still tender, tasty and value for money. Our steak was grilled to a medium blush of pink and to this effect, it was delivered perfectly. A lightly dressed salad accompanied our meat along with a little pot of buttery gravy.
One of the options for our Groupon meal was a Stuffed Chicken with French Style Mashed Potato. Here, chicken breasts were presented roulade-style, filled with a mince of mushrooms and laid atop twin pools of potato mash and a mushroom-based gravy. This dish was filling, but we found the chicken meat dry and relying very much on the sauce and mash to be palatable.
The final course of dessert was a choice of Créme Brulée or Chocolate Mousse, and we opted for the former.
Surprisingly, this dish goes against the grain in terms of portion size and was clearly the largest single serving of créme brulée we had ever seen. But, we are not complaining. It was easily the pièce de résistance of our meal and an adequate crescendo to our satisfying lunch.
The brulee crust was the perfect toffee – crisp but not burnt, and distinctly caramel. The dessert’s interior was of the silkiest vanilla custard and so unlike some of the egg-y pudding attempts we’ve had before. In terms of mouthfeel, the smooth custard contrasted so deliciously with the crunchy sugar crust that we were grateful it was the biggest créme brulée we’ve ever had.
Rendez-Vous serves Illy coffee and, like only the kindest places, delivers it with a complimentary cookie on the side for a sweet end to a good meal. Again, the flair is in the extra details, and this simple biscuit was a gesture that made our day.
The Rendez-Vous bills itself as a traditional French restaurant and to that effect, it truly is. Helmed by French Chef, Florian Nigen, a visit to the Rendez-Vous sparkles with authentic little French details that would make any Francophile’s heart sing, and possibly convert those new to the cuisine too.
This French bistro-style establishment appears to be Chef Florian’s passion project and in a creative tribute to his homeland, the Rendez-Vous sports an actual pétanque court to one side of the bistro. In case you are unsure what this is, pétanque is a French version of boules where steel balls are aimed at a wooden ball to score points. It’s a sport that resembles lawn bowls.
Serves Alcohol and Pork
- The traditional French cuisine in a relaxed bistro-style setting. Escargots (snails) and cheese platters are available!
- The extremely good table service
- The reasonably-priced 3-course set menus that start from as low as RM69 (USD15.38) per person
- The occasional Groupon menus (this menu needs to be purchased at groupon.my in advance) and are an extremely good value introduction to the Rendez-Vous
- The silky, supersized créme brulée
- A game of pétanque in Malaysia. This is the first time we’ve seen a pétanque court in this part of the world!
- The Rendez-Vous’ Upstage Lounge which is only opened in the evenings and features jazz and comedy shows from European artistes
- The Poulet Facon Cocette or Stuffed Chicken Breast Roulade. It is too dry