Visit Louis XVI For French Food

Visit Louis XVI For French Food

Bruno Beurel, Louis XVI's head chef arches his eyebrowsprovocatively. "You order food? I supply pleasure," he chimes, in abutter-couldn't-melt-tone-of-voice.

Bold words, I ruminated. But before the night was out, Beurel would have me sated, in the palm of his very talented French mitt. And it would seem I'm not Beurel's only foodie groupie. According to our charming waitress, Danielle, the French ambassador to South Africa is also a regular at Louis XVI. In fact, the good ambassador's wife regularly warmheartedly chides Danielle's pronunciation, telling her to bag a French boyfriend already, "because zat 'ees 'ow you learn pronunciation, dear".

Personally, I think Danielle seems quite au fait with all things Continental, so we ask her to select us a wine. She spoils us with a delightful 2003 reserve of Chateau Rieure-Les-Tours, which boasts hue that looks as if its been spun of gold, and tastes just as impressive. Louis XVI flaunts an impressive French wine list, as well as South African favourites, and a decadent Veuve Clicquot based cocktail menu - prepared by their resident Liquid Chefs.

Beurel advises that all the dishes on his carte de jour are perfectly complementary. "Ze menu 'ees made up of three courses, zat complement ze palate, no matter what 'oo 'ave, and no matter in what combinashon." We totally believe him. So, for entrees, we order the escargot, while my fellow diner settles on a smoked salmon salad. Our main course was a duo of duck confit, and fillet Dijonnaise, and desert was a medley of citrusy crepes suzette, buttery crème brulee, and decadent milles-feuilles aux fraises (layered strawberry cake).

Beurel imports his snails direct from France. More petite than the usual SA variety, but so much tastier in a subtle, buttery way. I'm sold on these suckers. The duck confit was a treat, having never sampled this dish before. The leg was crispy and meltingly tender. The two gnawed drumsticks left on my clean plate, bore testament to the sheer delight of this dish. The fillet, a medium rare masterpiece doused in creamy Dijonnaise mustard sauce, was lip smmmsackingly good!

All this fine fare is taken in against an opulent backdrop, replete with baroque interiors augmented by gilded mirrors, period oil paintings, plump Persian rugs, and swinging black Baccarat chandeliers. This padded boudoir transports the diner to a Parisian age so decadent, so sumptuous, even Marie Antoinette -- that notoriously spoilt Eighteenth century monarch -- would feel right at home. Designer dining at its very best, this place is vixen

Open Tuesday - Saturday. 7pm till 11pm. 160 Jan Smuts Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesbur (located in Rosebank's Design Quarter). 011-447-6244.

by Laura Banks
“You order food? I supply pleasure," chimes Bruno Beurel, head chef of French Restaurant Louis XVI.