A tip of the chapeau to Lydia and Christophe
The Food Lovers
There’s a lot to love about L’Arc, the bijou bistro owned since 2010 by Christophe and his partner, Lydia. These two French nationals, with a passion for their country’s cuisine, have successfully put this small French restaurant firmly on Jomtien’s gastronomic map. Tucked away in Jomtien Complex amidst the nightlife of this vibrant part of town it sits with natural French reserve confidently dressed in its new raspberry and black décor awaiting its diners.
Chef Christophe (Chris) hails from Paris and Lydia from Lyon, together they make a formidable team that keeps these tables turning. Classic French food with a capital “F” is the passion here at L’Arc. Front of house Lydia meets and greets with such charm and hospitality it is hard to believe you haven’t been friends for years. Recently revamped it now reflects that inimitable French talent of elegant simplicity. Terrace dining is the popular option but for a more intimate experience the interior offers a cool, chic alternative.
Mick and I chose to dine al fresco and whilst sipping on a glass of the house Chardonnay (B.130) browsed the pan-Gallic menu. It is so packed full of good things that you’re planning a return visit before you’ve even ordered! Terrine campagnarde maison, soupe Vichyssoise (hot or cold), frog legs in a garlic parsley butter sauce, roasted Camembert with honey, foie gras terrine, it all screams Parisienne bistro fare before that ubiquitous word “fusion” was ever conceived.
For starters, I chose “a special” for that evening, smoked duck sandwiched with Saint Marcellin cheese and encased in a spring-roll type pastry while Mick felt compelled to order the French quintessential hors d’oeuvre, snails in garlic butter and parsley. I loved my flaky pastry cigar tubes of deeply smoked duck offset by the ever-so slightly salty cheese beautifully presented on a mixed salad with the addition of walnuts and raisins. I leaned over and dunked my bread into Mick’s buttery garlic emulsion and cannily secured a slippery snail before they all disappeared. Exploding with French butter, garlic and parsley it never fails to produce the obligatory ‘mmmms’. Lydia then served us a portion of their signature foie gras terrine du chef. The Rolls-Royce of all terrines it was decadently smooth and literally melted in the mouth bursting with rich flavours and that special sweetness from the addition of the prunes. We loved it.
It was now time to turn our attention to the main courses but before that I should tell you about L’Arc’s 3-course degustation menu which is a daily changing event reflecting the changing seasons and caprices of the chef. On the night we dined it offered chicken liver mousse followed by rabbit chasseur with a tiramisu dessert to finish for B.460.
For our main courses we chose sea bass fillet with tapenade (B.360) and a demi coquelet au vin (half chicken coq au vin). Amongst the other best sellers is the perennially popular rabbit simmered with mushrooms and wine (B.360), the 3-hour lamb shank, veal kidneys in mustard sauce and the premium Aubrac beef flank steak.
Our dishes had now arrived and with another glass of house Chardonnay and Shiraz/Cabernet for across the table. The sea bass was from France (naturellement) and had that unmistakable cold water zing while the tapenade sang with French olives, garlic and anchovy paste accompanied by spinach and garlic mashed potatoes–it was a delight. Half a chicken smothered in a rich, winey, garlicky sauce accompanied by dauphinoise potatoes–it all just cries out (in French) to be savoured and enjoyed.
We were by now fully sated but just couldn’t toddle off into the night without a taste of Lydia’s chocolate mousse (B.180). Filled with 65 percent cocoa and cream it was a richly decadent affair. Other desserts are the celebrated tarte Tatin, chocolate cake with crème Anglaise, lemon ice cream with vodka and of course one of the most famous deserts, crème brulee.
Lydia and Christophe have revved up this charming neighbourhood bistro to a new level with careful sourcing, ungreedy pricing and an understanding of their customers. Come here to enjoy the ambiance and cuisine of a Parisienne bistro tucked away in the Jomtien Complex. Close your eyes, listen to the language of your fellow diners, savour the food and transport yourself to an arrondissement of Paris where the food is paramount and the ambiance creates a relaxed joie de vivre.
Located in Jomtien Complex near
The Venue. Open daily except Mondays from 6 p.m. till late.
Tel: 084 564 4646 or 038 251 921
email: [email protected]