Luca Huang excitedly wanders over to the wooden bar and picks up a framed picture that is nestled amongst brandy and wine glasses and brings it over to the table. The part-owner and dining room manager of L'appetit says the image shows the father of Christophe Leguerrier — French proprietor and head chef — surrounded by a retinue of chefs in his Parisian restaurant. “His father instilled in him from a very young age that French cuisine requires patience,” he said.
Having grown up around French food since before he could walk, Leguerrier infuses all his culinary creations with extensive experience. And looking around this cozy French restaurant that's been gathering its own assemblage of Francophone, expat and Taiwanese customers since it opened in 2003, one can see why a reservation is generally required.
The joint's laid-back atmosphere ensures that you won't be rushed out of the restaurant and the extensive training the servers are put through assures the highest attention to detail and in-depth knowledge of the menu. The restaurant's interior has the feel of a cozy French cottage, making it easy to leave behind the chaos of Taipei and imagine some province in the southern part of France.
For those looking for a satisfying luncheon that won't break the bank, L'appetit is one of the most gratifying of haunts. Rotating its menu on a daily basis throughout the working week, for a mere NT$380 diners are treated to soup, an entre, a choice of two main courses, dessert and tea or coffee.
Entrees include an exceptional escargots (NT$280), duck confit salad (NT$380) and the mouthwatering smoked salmon salad (NT$380). For those looking to spend a little extra, no French restaurant experience would be complete without foie gras (NT$800).
The main courses at L'appetit are well-thought out by Leguerrier. The a la carte menu includes confit of duck (NT$600), a rich and flavorful steak tartar (NT$750), sole Provencal (NT$750), beef filet (NT$800), veal (NT$800), and a succulent rack of lamb with olive sauce (NT$900). All dishes are prepared by Laguerrier's team of chefs, each meticulously trained over a long period by the French national.
As wine is practically synonymous with French cuisine, be sure to ask your server about what they have in stock.