Meet larger-than-life chef Philippe Lebreux as he conjures up an eight-course Bastille Day dinner, in traditional French style.
Mauritian by birth, Philippe is a proud French-trained chef, flying the flag for France every night in the little eatery named after his son, Pascal. Every year on July 14, French chef Philippe Lebreux dedicates himself to an annual ritual, deciding the menu for his Bastille Day feast.
Every year since 1987, a faithful following of Bastille Day regulars has congregated to savour the flavour and atmosphere at Philippe’s cosy suburban restaurant - in anticipation of a feast as traditional as the French Can Can girls painted on the restaurant walls.
There’s no fusion food here. Philippe’s eight course banquet is pure 'Old France" and so popular you need to book by January 1 to secure a seat.
What keeps them coming back, of course, is French cuisine of the good old-fashioned kind. On the menu is chestnut soup with hazelnut oil, Balmain bugs on a saffron-crab risotto, duck confit with port sauce, green apple and Calvados sorbet and finally, a rack of lamb with a spiced beetroot glaze. Whole beetroots are baked with spices, a dash of honey and wine vinegar, pureed and strained into a silky sauce.
'Pass it through three strainers, leaving no residue at all," says Philippe. 'You get a clear sauce that tastes just"¦ phenomenal!"
Bastille Day, on July 14, is seen as the symbol of the end of the French monarchy and the beginning of the First Republic. It was on July 14 in 1789 that the French mob stormed the Bastille Prison in Paris, triggering the French Revolution that toppled King Louis XVI and the aristocracy. As a historical symbol of revolt against injustice, Bastille Day is commemorated world-wide.