Expensive but totally worth it – new flavors at Bistro 321
Nicolas Le Bec, the famous Michelin-starred chef from Lyon started Villa Le Bec with a two-part concept in mind. Since our last visit, the villa has been completed, the latest addition being an oyster bar in the garden. Bistro 321, Villa Le Bec’s main dining venue, has also recently added new dishes to the menu.
Within the villa, there is Bistro 321 with a bar on the second floor. The adjacent villa has more dining space on the first floor that is connected to the Salon Bouddha, private room that doubles as an event space. Upstairs, there are two private dining rooms (one of which is in the wine cellar), a bar and a cigar lounge. Through to the garden, there is a new dining space enclosed in a wood and glass structure and the oyster bar. For more photos of the villa space, click here.
The menu also retains many of Le Bec’s signatures and French home-style dishes with new seafood items and seasonal dishes in the mix. We started the meal with a salad. Served in a bowl resembling a tree trunk, the savory and refreshing endive salad (RMB180) is tossed with a mix of walnuts, apple and comically large chunks of blue cheese in heavy dressing.
Having previously experienced their signature crusty paté (RMB150) of duck and foie gras, we decided to test the daily special. The creamy and smoky foie gras with asparagus (RMB300), managed such a well-balanced intensity that the five spice pork and duck rillettes (RMB100), a signature dish served with house pickles and mustard spread, paled in comparison.
For mains, the stewed chicken (RMB260) strewn with morels pleased with a warming wine-based sauce. The musky osso bucco veal blanquette (RMB260) softens into strips and falls apart into luscious white wine sauce.
However, the pig’s feet (RMB200) doubtlessly outshines the two. The buttery mold of cartilage, fat and meat encased with a thin crispy layer of skin conquers with hearty flavors of wine, five-spice and truffle. At this point, we were beyond satiated and decided to leave desserts for another time.
Bistro 321 continues to provide a classy dining atmosphere and undeniably good food. While the cuisine features many home-style dishes, the prices are certainly not of countryside; dinner for two is upwards of RMB1,000 without wine. Regardless, the restaurant is always packed with affluent diners, so Shanghai’s business suits and dinner date seekers remain undeterred.
Where: 321 Xinhua Lu (near Dingxi Lu) 新华路321号 (近定西路)