La Bauhinia – Shangri-La Hotel – Paris

La Bauhinia, name of Hong Kong’s national flower, it’s one of the restaurants at the luxurious Shangri-La Hotel – Paris (Read article here), side by side with Shang Palace specialized in Cantonese cuisine (*Michelin) and with L’Abeille (**Michelin). Being the main room of the hotel it serves also as breakfast and snack area but without losing the restaurant ambiance, thanks to the majestic decoration, high ceiling with a wonderful Baccarat chandelier, soft tones in contrast with warm ones, textures and patterns that carefully mix Asia and France.

Philippe Labbé, cook of the year 2013 to the Gault & Milaut guide, from L’Abeille, commands the kitchen in a different register than its starry restaurant, less intimate and without the obligations of the haute cuisine, at La Bauhinia the base is combining a menu of Asian and French influences with simplicity and tradition, not putting aside the creativity and technique characteristic of the chef.

That fusion, along with L’Abeille being closed for vacation, made us opt for dinner at La Bauhinia. After observing all the details of the decoration and already comfortably installed, we started our meal with a fresh cheese cream, honey and nuts to share, revealing better than expected. A simple but effective beginning.

Fresh cheese cream, honey and nuts

Yam Som’O, prawn, grapefruit, peanut, coriander and spicy vinaigrette
A traditional dish from Thailand where the combination of textures and flavors is masterfully done. High note for the balance between the spiciness and the acidity in a dish that could have been better if the prawns weren’t a little bit over cooked.

Scallops Carpaccio, mushroom cream, celery and vodka vinaigrette
Everything worked well here, since the elegant presentation, the perfect technique and of course the flavor. Excellent scallops combining very well with the delicate mushroom cream and the light touch of celery. Great dish.

Pad Thai
Another Thai dish and one of the most internationally celebrated, rice pasta sauteed with a varied range of ingredients like prawns, egg, sprouts, tamarind juice, peanuts or daikon. A comfy dish of traditional inspiration, very well worked, on-spot prawns and an impressive balance between all the elements. It is one of those dishes we want to repeat any time.

We accompanied the first dishes with a Sancerre 2011, Domaine Vacheron, a light wine with a persistent ending that went very well with all the dishes.

Dover Sole “Meunière”, potato puree with black truffle and meat sauce
This time a French classic, Dover sole cooked and presented flawlessly, on spot, with an excellent cover and nicely accompanied with the puree with truffle and the sauce that gave the dish another flavor dimension. Very, very well accomplished.

To harmonize, a Chardonnay Meursault Les Criots 2001 of Ballot Millot, a classic with great level that complemented the dish very well.

Chocolate meringue, chocolate ganache, cocoa nibs and chantilly cream
François Perret is in charge of the desserts, the master Pâtissier who’s inspired by the haute French pastry and the combination of some exotic ingredients. In this case was served a meringue that visually transports us to something between a macaroon and an eclair, excellent texture and flavor with highlight to the chocolate ganache.

Vanilla millefeuille, pecan nuts and vanilla ice-cream
Few desserts in France get to the level of the millefeuille, here with a pastry different than the usual, but just as crunchy, with a vanilla flavored pastry cream. Speaking of vanilla it is the main ingredient of the dish and its flavor is intense either on the cream or the ice-cream, but it doesn’t become sickening neither overlaps the other elements. An excellent dessert.

The service is one of La Bauhinia’s strengths, that despite not being a space of haute cuisine shows that with the Shangri-La group nothing is left to chance, since the elegant vestments to the meticulous attention to detail, the care and attention given to the client, the ability to make conversation and also the sympathy are strong features.

Final Remarks
Philippe Labbé defined a very well accomplished style to this La Bauhinia, a mixture between the origins of the Hotel group and the city where it’s installed, a menu that could easily get lost in any direction, yet it is well defined and achieved. While not presenting a bold cuisine and luxurious ingredients like its kitchen at L’Abeille, La Bauhinia captivates us for being a more relaxed space in a luxurious environment. At dinner it is also possible to create a menu of starter+main course+dessert, with base in some of the dishes presented in the menu, for 58€ (something rare in the restaurants of the main hotels in Paris). At the end, nothing like a evening walk by the banks of the Seine with the Eiffel Tower illuminating our way.

La Bauhinia – Shangri-La Hotel – Paris
10, avenue d’Iéna, Paris
+331 5367 1991

Photos: Flavors & Senses and Shangri-La Hotel -Paris.

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