Monday, May 14, 2007

Les Trois Gros Bistro – Guangzhou

While trawling through the back streets of Tian He I came across another gem of a restaurant, Les Trois Gros Bistro. In all honestly its existence was brought to my attention by Brother Ro, otherwise this place is really obscure and impossible to just run in to.

I am not really fond of French food so to speak but I do like to get from Asian food once in a while. Personally I could live on pizza but it is healthy to get a bit of variety in my diet and that is what this place seemed to offer. They have a bunch of specials posted out front. I was assuming Ken is the owner of Les Trois Gros.

The menu did look a bit weathered but the building was nice and clean. On the other side of the building they actually had a seemingly new sign advertising their weekend breakfast specials. I did not notice this till after my meal. I might give this a shot as an alternative to the Senses Breakfast.

The interior of Les Trois Gros Bistro is pretty standard. It feels a bit old to me and quite cluttered. I think the place could do with a total revamp. It is obvious from the set up that they have been open for a few years now at least and their walls are adorned with various plaques they have been awarded for serving great food and pictures of the proprietor with various local personalities. There are also some degree’s that Ken, the owner, has earned from institutions in France and the US.

I love eating in restaurants where the owners are doing the cooking themselves or directly involved in running their establishments. The menu is a clear indication that Ken is behind the wheel at Les Trois Gros. I found it quite intimidating at first; I mean there are just so many items on the menu. His selection ranges though a variety of typically French dishes to a cool fusion section where he has experimented with some Vietnamese favorites. The variety is also very evenly spread out with a little bit of all meats and vegetables. So even though he has a huge menu, his contributions are well thought out and premeditated.

I ordered a starter, shrimps on toast with 4 cheeses and decided to think about my main course for a while. While we were waiting Ken came out of the kitchen in his chef uniform and greeted us and a few other patrons. He also served us all up a batch of light tomato soup on the house! These are the small touches that make a difference when an owner is running his own kitchen. He had a great personality and even told me more about the starter I had ordered. From his style of speaking I got the impression that he really loved his job and was very passionate about cooking.

The shrimps on toast were off the hizzle! It was such a refreshing feeling to actually have something that was not doused in chilli cause and garlic paste. Asian food really tends to overdo the flavor at times. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indian, Thai, and Indonesian food, but I had just had enough. I took the opportunity while Ken was explaining my starter to me to allow him to select my main course. All I suggested was that he choose a good compliment and make it fresh.

For his main course Brother Ro went for the lamb chops, and man did they look good. I took all these pictures with my trusty Nokia N95 and the lighting in the Bistro was not optimal so the pictures are not fantastic. The chops were not the best quality I have ever seen, there was quite a bit of fat on the, but they were seared to perfection. The outside of the meat was dark and crisp while the inside was soft, moist, and pink. Unlike most other French places I have visited, Ken did not plate the chops in the center of the platter with just light garnishing but rather served them up on a loaded plate with lots of sauces and trimmings. This was a welcome surprise as we were quite famished.

I was pleased when I saw my dish was a grilled sea bass. It had been ages since I enjoyed some simple fillet of fish. Most of the fish I have sampled since I have been in China has been with loads of bones and again, doused in spices. I do not usually order fish on western menu’s because I am not familiar with what is good, so I am glad Ken went with the sea bass. It was also slightly seared on the skin side and laid on a bed of minced aborigine with some creamy sauce. It was great.

For desert we were given a complementary bowl of yoghurt with a large serving of sugar. I did not know this was a French thing, as we usually have that with Indian food. It was another welcomed treat, on the house.

Right next to Les Trois Gros, Ken has strategically placed his bakery Café Patisseries Cuisine. Here he bakes and sells fresh breads, cakes, and other goodies. He also has a pizza delivery service which I have yet to sample.

I have only been there once till now and I am really looking forward to my next visit. As I keep saying, life has gotten way to hectic recently but when I have more time I really want to sample more dishes on Ken’s menu. Unfortunately it is not exactly cheap enough to warrant daily visits but given the time I could hit them up at least once a week. Les Trois Gros is quite popular with locals and expatriates who have been living in Guangzhou for a while now. Ken is known for using extremely fresh ingredients and he represents the US cheese board here. He also offers up a magnificent selection of wine. His food is quite rich and for a wholesome experience it might not be the best place to have a light lunch but it would be a very romantic place to stop in for dinner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was a regular costumer of Les Trois Gros when I lived in Guangzhou/Canton. The food was really cooked in the french style as the ownwer once lived in Vietnam. I hope to visit it again in my next stop to Guangdong.
Andrea from Italy