La Cote d’Azur: Français En Dongguan

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For more than two decades, Simon Wong and Lionel Lee gained some serious skills working as chefs in Hong Kong Michelin-starred restaurants. Now, with years of experience in hand, they are devoted to delivering a completely unique dining experience in Dongguan. With a potent desire to fill out Dongguan’s vacant gourmet market, La Cote d’Azur was born.

As attendants opened the door for us, we immediately knew that we left Dongguan outside and arrived to quite a different world. The enormous chandelier gave a strong central point to the environment, while a white deer mount hanging high on the wall nearby spiced up the already eclectic atmosphere.

We received the menu and got familiar with the thoughtful combinations of the fancy ingredients. The Chef’s Menu (¥788, including seven courses, plus coffee or tea) changes every three months, which is good news for those planning to eat here a lot. You can also customize as you wish.

As in every French restaurant, service started with complementary bread and water. The bread selection includes a whole wheat with raisins, a mango flavor, a French style and a coconut-garlic type, served with butter. They were all appetizing, but we were careful to save space for the main event.

As the courses started arriving, we began our culinary exploration with plenty of time to enjoy each and every dish. This most certainly isn’t fast food. Our most favored item was the squid ink spaghetti with tiger prawns and scallops in lobster sauce. The seafood was fresh and delicate and the intriguing seasoning of the sauce gave a definitive character to the black pasta. I also found the slightly crunchy scallop with corn espuma to particularly delicious. We closed it all off with the French staple: chocolate crème br?lée, which was—in short—the perfect ending to this food orgy.

“We want the guests to experience the French culture, cuisine, including how long it takes to have this meal [and] the table etiquette,” said Chef Lee. At a restaurant like this, you are expected to select a full set menu, including a starter, main course and dessert. This won’t just leave you with a full stomach, but will offer a rich experience you surely will remember for a long time.

The chefs mentioned ambitious plans laid out for the future, including designing new wine pairings for the various courses and setting up exciting lunch menus. Bon appétit!

Find the restaurant here.