Fri, Jun 03, 2005 - Page 15 News List

Reataurant: Aux Petits Oignons (歐柏小館)

Address: 6, Lane 106, Longjiang Rd, Taipei (台北市龍江路106巷6號)
Telephone: (02) 2508 2373
Open: Noon to 9:30pm. Closed on Sunday.
Average meal: NT$490
Details: Credit cards accepted. Menu in Chinese and English. Service in Chinese or French

By Emily Drew  /  STAFF REPORTER

At Aux Petits Oignons, the dishes are done right.


After studying French cuisine for nine years and living in France for six, chef Alain Zhong (鐘晏浦) can create nearly any dish from any region of France. His restaurant, Aux Petits Oignons (歐柏小館) features some of his favorite dishes and specialities.

Ten set dinners are between NT$390 and NT$990. Each includes a main course, herbal bread (fresh-made daily), soup of the day, salad, and coffee or tea.

The roast spring chicken (NT$490) serves up four chicken legs, with white and dark meat. It's exceptionally tender -- the chicken is massaged with olive oil and marinated for three-days. The skin is crispy and sprinkled with rosemary.

The salmon dish (NT$490) hails from the Dijon region of France and is more filling, with its covering of thick, rich mustard sauce. It is served on a bed of soft mushrooms and other vegetables.

The baked fish fillet with mushrooms (NT$390) is based on a Normandy dish. Its white wine sauce is smooth and blankets the fillet. The sauce is more subtle than that used in the salmon dish, and that makes for a less filling meal.

The rib-eye steak dinners -- one with a hot sauce and one with green peppercorn sauce -- are the most expensive options at NT$990, and the rack of lamb with herb and mint jelly follows close behind at NT$890.

Like the other options, these dishes are done right and leave nothing to be desired except maybe a few more bites. Each meal is crafted with the diner's requests in mind, and you can talk to Alain about how you want your main course done or which of his many wines should go with it. He spends most of his time working artfully in the kitchen, but he's happy to relax with guests in the cozy, authentically French-styled eatery, where the only thing not France-inspired is the order of the meal: The soup of the day and salad is served first unless otherwise requested.

Dessert is, of course, served last and varies with the main-course meals, but a regular offer is crepes folded over layers of melted chocolate and drizzled in chocolate syrup. The crepes are made to be especially moist and chewy thanks to tricks Zhong picked up in Normandy.

The place is small, so reservations are recommended even at lunch, when there are also sandwich-set options -- tuna, cheese, vegetable or smoked salmon -- that come with a dessert and drink for NT$250.

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