he word racine in French means root, and when an eatery uses it in a name like Le Bistrot de Racine, there’s a certain expectation for them to make things from scratch. That’s certainly the case with this restaurant on Changde Road, which is baking their bread, curing their charcuterie, and dry-aging their steaks entirely in house, while serving them alongside classic, textbook-perfect French fare.
The decor proves a good match with Bistrot de Racine’s embrace of the old school. The waiters don white gloves and polished cutlery – many sets of them – rest on top starched tablecloths. There’s a mantelpiece overtaken with scraggy peaks of melted candle wax, Impressionist art hang on the walls, and wicker chairs that could have been pulled straight out of a French matriarch’s formal dining room.
In Bistrot de Racine’s case, its owner Chef Racine apprenticed at the French restaurant Lature in Tokyo and worked in Salve Regina in Paris before returning home to open his place.
The menu reads like a history book of venerable French icons: freshly shucked oysters crowned with savory Russian caviar, a visceral pate of foie gras, duck leg, veal, ham, and black truffle, and buttery-smooth foie gras terrine. Juicy snails are enveloped in dainty puff pastry, while crispy frog legs with celery puree, garlic cream, and smoked saffron mayo are meaty and delightfully complex.
You’d want bread, just to mop up all the mineral-packed broth in a bouillabaisse of lobster, halibut, mussels, scampi, and saffron. The suckling pig is also a good idea, the skin snappy, the tender meat enriched by caramelized apple puree and sherry pineapple sauce. The beef Wellington is elevated with a truffle red wine sauce, while the one-kilogram tomahawk steak peaking from beneath a torrent of shaved black truffles is deeply charred, fatty, textured, and sumptuous.
Things here may border on excessive, but in the age of pared-back decor, waiters in t-shirts, and small plates of food, Bistro de Racine is a step back to when dining out is more refined, the environment more ornate, and the dishes more decadent.
Scan the QR code below to reserve your spot at Le Bistrot de Racine.
Le Bistrot de Racine
609-1 Changde Road
Nearest metro station: Changping Road