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Indulge in steak frites, escargots and more French classics at Taman Tun Dr Ismail's Brasserie Léon

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es. (Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.)

While adopting some of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin’s views on being an epicure or gastronome isn’t really necessary, it doesn’t hurt to eat well when one can.

A classic French brasserie certainly fits the bill; unlike a bistro, it’s complete with the additional fixings to bring the experience up just a notch: professional service, printed menus and white linen.

A beautiful space inside. Peep at the vintage French art-style posters!
A beautiful space inside. Peep at the vintage French art-style posters!

A beautiful space inside. Peep at the vintage French art-style posters!

At Brasserie Léon in TTDI, posters in the vintage French style hang on the walls, and the small square tables with wooden chairs really round out the setting.

Of the many classic appetiser options at Brasserie Léon, you really can’t go wrong with French onion soup (RM27.90) and a half-dozen baked escargots (RM23.90) in beurre d’escargots (literally: snail butter, which is a seasoned butter with parsley and garlic).

On Mondays, as one of the many different promotions that run here, each escargot is RM1, and there’s no maximum order. On an earlier visit, my date and I had 24 between the two of us, a testament to the addictive quality of the delicious little gastropods.

Buttery, slightly chewy and smooth, they’re even better with an order of house-made bread (RM7.90 with salted butter) which are lighter, fluffier and slightly crustier than regular dinner rolls.

Baked escargots with some fresh bread, each morsel more delicious than the last.
Baked escargots with some fresh bread, each morsel more delicious than the last.

Baked escargots with some fresh bread, each morsel more delicious than the last.

Classic French onion soup, cheesy, sweet and rich in equal measure.
Classic French onion soup, cheesy, sweet and rich in equal measure.

Classic French onion soup, cheesy, sweet and rich in equal measure.

It should come as no surprise that the French onion soup is well executed, packed with that sweet, sweet oignon flavour and is truly delightful with the gooey, oozing melted Emmental cheese over the top.

The star of the show here is a dish synonymous with brasserie eating: steak frites. A 180 grams portion of Australian Black Angus striploin (RM129.90) is cooked to your liking (I had it medium rare) and served with a mountain of fries, mesclun salad and your choice of herb and butter sauce or French peppercorn sauce, the latter being my preferred choice, and more traditional.

The steak comes thinly sliced, which makes it a great sharing dish, though one can certainly finish it on one's own. Each slice is tender without being particularly fatty, and the rich, savoury and creamy peppercorn sauce amplifies the natural flavours of the beef.

Another standout main dish here is the carré d’agneau (rack of lamb,RM119.90). It comes on a bed of its natural jus, and is seasoned with a crust of the usual suspects: mint, parsley and pickled mustard seeds.

You might request for the sauce to be served on the side with your steak frites, as I did here.
You might request for the sauce to be served on the side with your steak frites, as I did here.

You might request for the sauce to be served on the side with your steak frites, as I did here.

The 'carre d'agneau', or rack of lamb, is another delicious main here. Just to be clear, the fries here are from the 'steak frites', but that probably won't stop your date from snagging some.
The 'carre d'agneau', or rack of lamb, is another delicious main here. Just to be clear, the fries here are from the 'steak frites', but that probably won't stop your date from snagging some.

The 'carre d'agneau', or rack of lamb, is another delicious main here. Just to be clear, the fries here are from the 'steak frites', but that probably won't stop your date from snagging some.

The deep, rich and almost unctuous flavour of the jus, helped partly by a red wine reduction, marries the grassy, robust flavour of the lamb in perfect unison. The doneness is almost edge-to-edge perfect, meaning this rack of lamb is tender with just enough of a satisfying chew.

I’m not usually a dessert lover, but, having said that, I am a hopeless sucker for sweet French treats. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve explicitly written about dessert somewhere.

It’s fitting to conclude a tour of classic French dishes with two undeniable classics: tarte Tatin (RM26.90), so named for its inventors, the Tatin sisters, and vacherin glacé (RM25.90), a sublime combination of meringue, créme Chantilly and vanilla ice cream.

Fans of apple pie will love the former; soft, sticky and sweet caramelised apples on a bit of crisp pastry dough, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

'Tarte tatin' is a classic that is quite hard to find in KL which is why it's all the more satisfying that you can find it here.
'Tarte tatin' is a classic that is quite hard to find in KL which is why it's all the more satisfying that you can find it here.

'Tarte tatin' is a classic that is quite hard to find in KL which is why it's all the more satisfying that you can find it here.

The summer 'vacherin glace' is another sweet way to end your meal.
The summer 'vacherin glace' is another sweet way to end your meal.

The summer 'vacherin glace' is another sweet way to end your meal.

The summer vacherin glacé is a stack of light-as-air meringue, ice cream and sweetened whipped cream with a helping of pistachios, served with a raspberry coulis for you to drizzle over.

Located at The Greens at TTDI, Brasserie Léon is pork-free, and in addition to the Monday escargot promo, they also have corkage-free nights on Wednesdays, a tartare (another iconic French dish) special on Thursdays and a cheese fondue special on Sundays.

Brasserie Léon

Greens Terrace, 1-1, Jalan Wan Kadir 3, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur

Open Monday to Friday, 5:30pm-11:30pm; Saturday and Sunday 12pm-3pm, 5:30pm-11:30pm; Closed on Tuesday.

Tel: 03-2712 4481

Website: leonkl.com

Facebook: @/leonmalaysia/

Instagram: @leonmalaysia

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