Hangzhou: Provence Restaurant

10 Mar

We were looking for a nice non-Chinese restaurant in Hangzhou to celebrate our wedding anniversary and luckily for us, we stayed a short walk away from Baishaquan, an enclave with a small array of international restaurants and bars. We stopped by Provence, a Mediterranean French restaurant housed in a two story bungalow for a late lunch. I reckon this place will look lovely in Spring.

The basic menu had all the classic French dishes including crepes, quiches and some pastas; and the wine list was quite comprehensive.

In addition to the basic menu, they also had daily specials on a chalkboard. I was pleasantly surprised when the waitress brought this out as it felt quite authentic and assuaged my fears that having a non-Chinese meal in Hangzhou would not be a mistake.

A basket of complimentary of warm soft loaf bread with garlic herb butter and tapenade was served. Well, the tapenade was actually missing some ingredients as it was just blended olives and olive oil but at least they tried. I lapped up the delicious butter spread in no time.

I had a glass of Australian Chenin Blanc while the husband, a glass of Bordeaux. Both were very good and exceeded our expectations.

The dozen escargots with herbs was served sizzling hot and unusually overflowing with olive oil. While the taste of the escargots were surprisingly good – very tender and had a nice natural grassy flavour – and the portion was generous, the marinade was lacking in garlic, salt and herbs and they could have used less oil. On another note, I have not seen such a huge escargot dish before.

For our mains, I had the pork fillet with mustard caper sauce. The meat was quite tender and the sauce actually quite nice and tart, but there was way too much pork (like 4 pieces) and not enough sauce to go around.

The husband had the duck confit with onion red wine sauce which was decent too, but I wished the sauce was on the side so I could have the skin crispy. I never had duck confit served with sauce over it before, as I thought they usually put it on the side for you to dip so that you can still savour the crispy skin.

Unfortunately we were so stuffed that we didn’t have space for dessert. While I wouldn’t say it’s a must eat in Hangzhou if you’re a tourist (save your space for Hangbang Cai!), it was pretty decent for China. So you know where to go if you’re craving for French or a nice meal out in Hangzhou.

Price: $$ (~500RMB for 2 including 2 glasses of wine)
Location: 1 Baishaquan, Shuguang Road, Hangzhou 310007, China (5 mins walk from Tea Boutique Hotel)
Tel: +86 571 8797 6115
Website: http://www.provence-hz.com/

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