One of the most challenging things about running a French bistro resides in the mind of the customers. Although it was closely associated with fine dining, thanks to its reputation (and Michelin Guide, of course), French also has their own everyday food, like the one displayed by Lyon, located in 5 star hotel, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta.
“Lyon is not a fine dining restaurant, it’s a gastronomic bistro where we serve quality food in a casual ambience, at gentle price. Because of our location in a prestigious 5 star hotel, people often think it’s fine dining,” said Edi Tan, Lyon’s Chef de Cuisine.
The name of the bistro came from French’s capital gastronomic, Lyon. In 1935, Curnonsky, one of the most celebrated writer in gastronomy, even regarded the city as “the world’s capital gastronomy”. Lyon is also linked to Chef Paul Bocuse, the pope of French cuisine who has his main restaurant “L’auberge du Pont de Collonges” in Lyon.
“French cuisine is all about flavor and respect of ingredients. In this cuisine, the quality of fresh ingredients hold crucial part, our job as chef is to bring out the best flavors and elevate the original ingredients, without overdoing it neither. The natural flavor should still stand out. It’s like a symphony of an orchestra, every single ingredient that are presented in a plate holds important role, everything is carefully thought through,” explained the young chef.
“From the source of protein, the side dish, the sauces, everything is thought through to create a harmonious dish. Sauce also plays important role in French cuisine, it takes a lot of time and effort to create a good sauce. Sauce is what link all of the ingredients in the plates became harmonious together,” Edi added.
If Indonesians are famous for putting chili sauce in almost all of the dishes, French is known for their love of dairy products, be it butter, cream, or cheese. In fact, dairy products are the 2nd largest agrifood industry in France, right after meat. France is the 2nd biggest producer of dairy products in Europe, especially from Britanny and Normandie region. France is also ranked as 1st exporter of soft cheeses. There are many different varieties of French cheese and every different region has their own specialty. “Every family meal in France are normally ended with cheese, so we can imagine the quantity that is consumed,” said Edi
It’s no wonder that French embraces the frequent use dairy products in their cuisine. “For instance, cream is used a lot in soup and sauces for balancing the flavor and bring out the right consistency. Butter in everything, they believe everything is always better with butter! Butter makes the dish more gourmet and flavorful,” he added.
Edi Tan displayed the flavor balance concept throughout Lyon’s menu. For starters, he served Buffalo Mozzarella, a very simple, refreshing menu consisted of fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, basil, balsamic vinegar. It’s as if the chef let the ingredients “speak” for themselves. And then we had Brie de Meaux, from Meaux region, a definitely cheese lover heaven. Served on crispy baguette, mixed greens and truffle vinagraitte, the menu is an absolutely recommended to understand why French love their cheese so much.
Of course, you can’t go to a French bistro without mentioning the Classic Onion Soup, a heartwarming menu to remind you that French is not all about fine dining. For the dessert, we had the 22passionmedia.co.idTHE CITYBaked Lemon Tart. Actually, we thought it’s “just a regular” lemon tart, it was not too sweet, had the pronounced tangy, acidic, refreshing lemon. We took a bite, and the only moment we stopped, was when we realize the plate was already clean. Seriously addictive! Thanks to the Edi’s flavor balance concept. Some other must try main courses here are Pan Seared Foie Gras and Striploin with Café De Paris sauce for meat eaters, or Dover Sole Meuniere for fish lover.
“We also propose weekly business lunch set menu for Rp 220.000. Our menu changes every week, here I play more with my creativity in the dish and I put more contemporary twist,” said Edi. “In Jakarta, the trend is unpredictable and keeps fluctuating. Jakarta people always want to try something new, one moment French cuisine is a trend, and it changes rapidly. That’s why we also keep evolving with our menu. We change our business lunch every week, our brunch menu every month, so people have choices. French cuisine is related to fine dining, like it’s an occasional meal, while it’s not, it’s very accessible for everyone, and you can enjoy it anytime,” he added.