Thursday, August 10, 2006

37.2 Degrees Paradise - Guangzhou

Last night I made my way to a quaint restaurant called ‘37.2 Degrees Paradise’. It is located in some back streets just across the road from the Garden Hotel. Now you might have noticed that a lot of the places I visit are near the Garden Hotel. That is because most of the foreigners or traveling businessmen stay in that hotel or hotels in that area, so most of the eating establishments in the area cater to them.

As you can see, the sign does not look very inviting or appetizing. In fact you have to walk through some pretty dark streets to get to this place. I was with some guests who were tired of eating Asian food and I assured them some decent French cuisine last night. Walking to the joint they were already debating my judgment.

The first time I went there I was taken through a small metal door in the back of the ‘Elephant and Castle Pub’. We walked through some narrow alleys between dreary buildings before we reached the restaurant. It is on the ground floor of an old decrepit apartment building. You can see clothes out to dry on the balcony above. But the area was clean. The setting made going there the first time all the more exciting for me. It was more of a local’s only eatery.

The first room you walk into has one table that seats 4 comfortably. There is also a large bookshelf and a small wine rack with an assortment of French and Chilean wines. There are 3 other rooms with 3-4 tables in each. Each room has a bit of a different look with alternate color combinations of the walls and furniture.

We had a room all to ourselves and joined 2 tables. The chairs are very comfy. Usually with such seating one might find the table a bit too high and not too comfortable to eat on. These tables were just the right height and very snug.

The menu at ‘37.2 Degrees Paradise’ is quite extensive, although they do not offer much in vegetarian dishes, they have a wide variety of entrées ranging from goose liver pate to cold cuts and assorted soups and salads. I opted for the escargot on baguettes. It is cooked in black pepper cream and served over a layer of chocolate sauce. Oddly enough, the chocolate was quite a palatable touch.

My companion ordered the escargot on a bed of mashed potatoes. This is something I have never seen before. The potatoes were a bit on the dry side but with a bit of olive oil and black pepper it was all good. My pictures are a bit skewed because I could not make out if they would be better with or without the flash. Let me know and I will stick to that.

My vegetarian comrade ordered the eggplant stuffed with cheese. But it turned out to have a minced meat sauce all over it. It was pretty good though. They had lots of pizzas and pastas that can be customized for the non-carnivorous ones. The staff at ’37.2 Degrees Paradise’ speak pretty good English.

The menu is loaded with grilled meat dishes for the main course. One of my friends does not do red meat and opted for the fish with some garlic basil sauce on the side. He was really happy with that. It looks pretty good. The also had a wide range of chicken based dishes.

I was torn between the huge varieties of imported cuts. They had every thing from and between New Zealand tenderloins and US rib eyes. I finally settled on the veal. It was off the hook. It came with a creamy garlic sauce on the side that I hardly touched (I don’t do sauce) but it was amazing. The meat was perfectly medium cooked and extremely flavorful. I had not had veal in ages. It sat just right in my stomach. It was a very healthy serving with 3 cuts but I was not over stuffed at all. I could have gone out clubbing all night after that meal.

To cap it all off, against my better judgment, we ordered a tiramisu. I did not care much for it at all. I usually steer away from complicated deserts in small kitchens. It was not soft and creamy at all but rather had the texture of a cheese cake. They do have a good selection of deserts and it is a bit unfair to judge them based on a tiramisu so I would give them another shot at that.

Overall we had a magnificent meal at ’37.2 Degrees Paradise’ and we enjoyed a very good bottle of Chilean wine. The service is pleasantly slow allowing you to indulge in conversation and the staff is pleasing to interact with. The atmosphere is fresh and cozy. It is a great place to have a friendly gathering. And the prices are notably inexpensive. It is not a common place to find but defiantly a small treasure in this vast city.

1 comment:

AmitD said...

Flash I think is better... maybe from a bit further away but with zoom.