No. 7, Lane 155 Jianguo Zhong Lu,
Tucked away at the back of Taikang Lu, Balthazar is French brasserie in a standalone 1920s house, stretching over 3 floors. It’s yet another restaurant opened by the irrepressible Eduardo Vargas – doesn’t it seem like he opens a new restaurant every month?! The 1st floor is a cozy, small bar area with a real fireplace, and you walk up the tiny spiral staircase onto the 2nd floor where there’s “The Cheese Cave”, oddly named as we saw not one bit of cheese in there.. just kitchen appliances. There are also some tables on that floor as well as on the 3rd floor.
The service is outstanding. Very attentive, water glasses will promptly refilled, and the staff were polite and alert. I particularly liked their large (literally!) sized menu with a myriad of options to choose from. The food arrived swiftly and every dish was a delight.
We started off with the Pate de foie maison with port wine-shallot jelly. It was a large portion, which we were delighted with. In fact, there was more pate than bread, so we had to ask for extra bread rolls. I loved the smooth creaminess of the pate, and the fatty meat flavour. I wish it was a little more dense though and less liquidy, more like foie gras.
The Duck ragout with pesto tagliatelle was a stunner. Slippery strands of pesto-infused pasta, paired with a very generous amount of duck ragout and Parmesan cheese. This was decadence and worth every calorie. They should have drained off more oil though, as it was left sitting at the bottom of my plate afterwards. For some reason, many places in Shanghai have oil-drenched dishes – I don’t understand why, it totally decreases the quality of the dish?
The Bacon and shallot crusted atlantic salmon with pan-fried basil gnocchi, baby artichokes, spinach, saffron was artfully created – the mixture of ingredients paired well with the salmon. The salmon was cooked well-done, and would have been much better medium-rare (like all grilled salmon is) – it was a shame they hadn’t asked us how we’d like it cooked. Fortunately, it was still tender and very tasty.
Dessert was Whole baked camembert with apricot preserves. It was OUTSTANDING. What can I say? You can’t go wrong with a whole wheel of melty, gooey cheese :P It was luscious – warm and inviting and offset well against the sweet tartness of the apricot preserves.
Be sure to check out their wine list too. We had a glass of Pinot noir each, which was excellent and a fabulous way to wash down a delicious meal.
We’ll be back!
The cozy interior. Check out that spiral staircase!
Delicious warm breads and butter. I LOVE restaurants that give complimentary bread.
Pate de foie maison with port wine-shallot jelly
Duck ragout with pesto tagliatelle
Bacon and shallot crusted atlantic salmon with pan-fried
basil gnocchi, baby artichokes, spinach, saffron
Warm baked camembert with apricot preserves