The French Connection - A la Bouffe

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(011) 888 8004
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32 7th Street, Linden, Johannesburg

I’m coming clean … I’d go to A la Bouffe for the bread basket alone! It’s true, I have never come across a carb I didn’t like - but seriously, the French loaf was something else. For the less carb-enamoured, there are loads of reasons to head to this French bistro in Linden, time and time again. There’s the fact that the food is prepared by French chef, Romuald Denesle, who has worked in Michelin star restaurants abroad. There’s the menu that changes every two months and dishes that seem to scream, “pick me … pick me.” Then there’s the Parisian café vibe and, of course there’s the tiny detail that most of us simply can’t hop on a plane when we get a craving for authentic French cuisine that’s tres magnifique - but that doesn’t mean I plan to settle for anything less.

A la Bouffe means “come and eat” in French slang, and is a family-run business - Romuald (better knows as Romi) works with his wife, Margeux and father-in-law, Dennis Rhodes Human. Romi has been working in the restaurant industry since he was a teen and has a whopping two decades of experience under his apron - so I expected nothing less than the crème de la crème, and that’s exactly what I got.

I like to think of myself as adventurous when it comes to food - you can’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it, right? We all know that the term “delicacy” is code for bizarre - but nevertheless, bring on the entrées – snails, liver and even (gulp) frogs legs. The snails came in a delicious garlic-butter sauce (enough to ward off a vampire) while the chicken liver pate was the creamiest I’d ever had - the texture was enhanced by the sweet onion jam and crunchy pickles. Turns out that my apprehension about frog’s legs was unfounded – they’re actually quite delicious and the tender meat tastes like a combo of chicken and fresh, fish flavours.

For mains we tucked into the braised rabbit in red wine with a mushroom ragout, asparagus and new potatoes. If you haven’t tried rabbit, this is the place to go – the succulent meat literally fell off the bone. If you’re not feeling daring, try the roasted lamb belly cutlets, gratin dauphinois, peas and lettuce. The only problem with the food is that it’s so darn gorgeous that you’ll get caught up staring at it, and it might get cold. When I walked into A la Bouffe I had every intention of being healthy-ish but my plans wilted the moment I spotted the chocolate genoise, chocolate ganache and raspberry sorbet. I was sharing with my friend, Michelle, and watched her every spoonful like a hawk – there was no way I was going to let her monopolise this pudding! I also have it on good authority that the plum tart and French cheese boards are simply divine. Wash it all down with great quality French and local wines, and you’ll leave full of joie de vivre.

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