For Alléno, 2017 is a good year (and busy), possibly only second to 2007, when he’s awarded 3 star for the first time. Le 1947 became the only 3 star entry in France this year, and his 3 star Alléno Paris au Pavillon Ledoyen made into the World’s Best 50 List for the first time ever, ranked 31 as the highest new entry. Rapidly following the accolades, Alléno shifted his sights to Asia, and soon opened STAY in Seoul and Terrior Parisien in Hong Kong. Unlike the refined creations at Mr Alleno’s Michelin-starred establishments, Terroir Parisien’s menu is a collection of bistro classics.
The Parisian Terroir is the land where Yannick Alléno was born. As a fact, town planning and rural exodus has reduced the countryside to fewer hectares. In 2008, conscious the disappearance of hundreds of native Parisian species would be tragic, Yannick Alléno decided to go and meet local quality producers to encourage them to keep faith. Saving this heritage became his mission.
A long work started then: referencing all the producers, their products and the region’s recipes. Also, a meticulous detective task began: finding the very last farmers who had fiercely kept deep in their rich land the seeds of the cabbage from Pontoise, asparagus from Argenteuil, saffron from the Gâtinais and many more. In fact, the point was to find the original seeds and those who had always kept on breeding them by hand to recover the most authentic species. In total, it was a two-year work to rediscover products from a true healthy agriculture: peppermint from Milly-La-Forêt, peach from Montreuil, artichoke from Paris, spinach from Viroflay…
The Chef’s involvement is total; therefore, it did not take long before he highlighted those exceptional products in his plates while he was directing all food and beverage at Le Meurice, a famous Parisian palace located on Rue de Rivoli. He created an unanimously acclaimed menu in his three-starred restaurant and also published a book, Terroir Parisien, in 2010.
Four years after he initiated the culinary movement, in 2012, he naturally opened a first bistro fully dedicated to the cause: the Terroir Parisien. In 2013, following the success of the first restaurant, with the same passion and involvement, and supported by the same team, Yannick Alléno opened a second bistro.
The concept is easy to get: fabulous products used to realize typical Parisian recipes, a simple and generous menu, seasonal dishes and a daily board that allows to offer a cuisine from the market. This was proving to be slightly more challenging when they opened in Shanghai – getting the freshest ingredients from local producers to recreate the Bistro classics.
They served us Baguette for bread (authentic parisien way), which performed well in overall texture. But it wasn’t good enough to WOW me, I was in hope this could somehow battle the L’Atelier’s bread…
Terrior brought in their French oysters and the only way to enjoy really good oysters is to shuck them and eat them naked. With a dash of lemon if required.
I forgot what this variety was, but it was creamy, briny and not really right off the ocean fresh. Perhaps, it should not be highly expected given that it took a lot of red tap to get oysters imported (or for that matter, other food produce) into China.
The Charcuteries Platter was a good way to sample their excellent cold cuts, all made in house. Our platter included a sumptuous country pâté, a beautiful mosaic of pig snout terrine packed with flavor, fragrant rabbit rillette, and delicate Parisian ham. The small jar of house-made pickles on the side was a wonderful and necessary accompaniment. The combination will depend on what was available.
“Pâtés and terrines, broadly speaking, are essentially big sausages cooked in some sort of mold,” Michael Ruhlman writes in Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing, the book he coauthored in 2005 with Brian Polcyn. Put simply, they’re a mixture of fat, meat, and seasonings that can be ground or puréed.
The grind can vary from coarse to fine, and pork is the dominant pâté meat. Pâté de campagne, was a coarse grind of lean and fatty pork with spices and little, if any, liver.
The affection for heads, offals and blood is definitely something that bonds the French and the Asian (or at least Chinese). Pig Snout Terrine was rich in collagen and frozen in a herbs and vegetable terrine.
Though rillettes can be made from meat simmered in stock, the most traditional iteration starts as confit—meat that’s been heavily salted and then cooked in its own fat. But where confit is presented whole, rillettes call for finely shredding or chopping the cooked meat and then folding it back into that fat. From there, the rillettes are packed into a small container, making them less unwieldy than an entire confited duck leg, and topped with a final layer of fat, which keeps air out and extends shelf life.
Rillettes in Terrior are made in-house (or at their centralised factories in France). Tonight we had Rillettes of Rabbit that was really delicious.
Cooked and cured hams are frequently seen in French charcuterie, but different regions are known for different types. Jambon Blanc, Jambon de Bayonne and Saucisson sec pur Porc – a trio of three types of French hams were served.
Jambon Blanc is a three-muscle, lean, low-fat ham wrapped in its own skin and cooked in its own juices. It’s flavored with nothing but salt—with little else to distract from that flavor, it’s important that the meat be high-quality.
Jambon de Bayonne is the quintessential French cured ham, the country’s equivalent of Italian prosciutto di Parma or prosciutto di San Daniele. It comes from the city of Bayonne in southwest France, a city cut in two by the Adour River, which sits in the shadows of the Pyrenees Mountains. Jambon de Bayonne is a regionally protected foodstuff under PGI (protected geographical indication)—a designation that covers goods whose production, processing, or preparation takes place in a specific area. To qualify, the ham must be cured with salt from the Adour River basin only.
The regional variation in French charcuterie is perhaps most evident in saucisson: dry-cured, fermented salami. Dry-curing is simply preserving meat by using salt. As saucissons age, natural, healthy molds develop on the casings that prevent bad bacteria from contaminating the meat. Saucisson sec (dry) is the most common of the French saucisson arsenal. If you go to France and go to a charcuterie shop and buy a dried salame, this is the flavor profile you’re going to get. That profile is dominated by pork, as it should be. Here, Terrior struck a balance of that porcine perfection with a hint of garlic and a subtle spice from traces of black pepper, the only other two components of saucisson sec. This type of charcuterie is about simplicity and respect for ingredients.
Foie Gras du Canard with Baguette Toasts – fantastic texture, creamy and savoury. Went together with the toasts like hands and gloves.
Chef Alléno usually spends his weekends with the family several hours to prepare this dish. Lamb Shoulder Stew with Seasonal Vegetables needed 6 hours minimum to reduce the fatty, tough piece of lamb shoulders to its desired tenderness. Here, it was combined with local sourced carrots, beets and string beans, the stew was tasty. And then the baguette came into the picture, to mop up the sauce from the deep dish.
Any French Bistro worth its salt would not be complete without the quintessential Parisien Steak. Beef tenderloin “Café de Paris” was a signature main course with its amazing “Café de Paris” creamy sauce with a strong note of black pepper. This sauce was created and popularized in the 1940s, and ended up being served in all the Parisian brasseries to accompany beef dishes. A thin cut of ribeye of fillet seared to perfection, unadulterated by any other process like sous vide, and accompanied by freshly made Béarnaise that crackles with black pepper. It came with a side of duck-fat fried fries. The steak came a bit cool, the fries were soft, I was quite underwhelmed.
Grand Marnier Baba is quite a challenging dish. First, you need to make the cake light and springy and then soak it with the right amount of Grand Marnier. Not too much to make it soggy; not too little to make it dry.
My companion was attracted by the gold flakes on the Baba. Decently made but too soggy……
Raffles City Changning was the latest business complex in Shanghai. When we decided to move our office to T2 in April, never did we expect that there would be so many restaurants that would setup shop in the next 6 months. From very innovative restaurant like Wanhui Tofu Academy to elegant, chic of Terrior, we were spoiled for choice.
For more details of how Shanghai is transforming itself, here’s an excellent article from Surface.
Bistros are a type of restaurants Alléno knows well as he grew up following his parent who owned a few in various cities of the Parisian suburbs. His idea was to define what could be an authentic bistro that would fit in our contemporary needs and desires: a modern restaurant, simple and raw.
Terrior Parisien was situated in an old, renovated complex that was part of a Convent that housed one of the earliest All Girls School in China. Under the elegant Convent style building, Chef Yannick Alléno opened Terrior on Nov 9, right after his first Asian Terrior restaurant in Hong Kong in Sep.
The décor is warm; raw materials like cobblestone, wood, zing and leather which mix well with understated colours; an impressive bar stands out in the center of the room so that people can gather in a friendly and casual atmosphere.
I visited the place in Dec, so there was still some teething problems in my humble opinion. The service was crisp but not attentive, training in terms of knowledge of the food was needed. I can see Michelin aspirations, but you need to make sure the back office i.e. the kitchen staff was happy dishing out the food. From the open kitchen, you can see that the Chinese staff was having a hard time catching up with the French staff, with the Maitre’D trying to translate between the teams.
But given a bit more time, I think it will improve. Will try again in 3 months.
H4 Raffles City Changning,
1195 Changning Lu near Kaixuan Lu
10 mins walk from Zhongshan Park
Tel: +86 21 6088 1677
Opening Hours: Sun-Thu, 11.30am-10pm, Fri-Sat, 11.30am-11pm
Date visited: Dec 2017
[PS: Renamed as Bistro by Yannick Alleno, and got the Michelin Tables mention]
Michelin Shanghai Tables 2019