Getting carte blanche for an excellent meal

French chef Jerome Tauvron fell in love with the historic villa house hidden inside No. 100 Wukang Road and was inspired to bring new life to it.

French chef Jerome Tauvron fell in love with the historic villa house hidden inside No. 100 Wukang Road and was inspired to bring new life to it.

“I simply wanted to do justice to the charm and rich history of the house that was built originally by the American oil company Texaco for its senior executives in 1918,” Tauvron said.

“I was very much impressed by the scale and details of the architecture and asked myself, ‘what is it that motivates creative minds to continuously hone their skills and keep innovating? I think the answer is passion and respect for quality. I feel most happy when I create something.”

After three decades as a chef in different Michelin-starred restaurants, innovation has become part of him. Inspiration can come from anything around, from plants and architecture to people and languages. This charming space has given the Frenchman the energy to push forward a new culinary concept and that’s the reason why he calls this free and fresh start “Blanche.”

Yang Di / SHINE

French-Japanese-style beef tartare and caviar 

During the late 17th century, the French carte blanche meant a signed blank sheet on which one could write whatever they wished. In the late 18th century, it became a phrase that meant complete freedom to act as one wishes.

“For me, Carte Blanche is like the color white — pure and elegant, and at the same time stands for freedom and unlimited imagination,” Tauvron said.

“Thus, I’d like my food to reflect my life and emotions, true and vivid. There are so many changes and categories in gastronomy, from ‘nouvelle cuisine’ and molecular food to fusion cooking. I reflect on these labels and trends and find them upsetting and meaningless,” he commented.

“Food should stand for the living history of the chef instead of being a popular label people can hashtag on Instagram. It’s not about being stylish or being French or international, nor about appearing different just to be different. It’s about changing emotional states. I’m most happy if a customer finds my food cosy and satisfying and even helps block out any bad memories.”

Yang Di / SHINE

Hamachi usuzukuri, uni, truffle ponzu and kombu crisp

Tauvron helped pick several courses for me to start a satisfying emotional journey through flawless food and wine pairing. Very influenced by the Japanese food culture, Japanese touches are shown on most of the dishes even on the “traditional” French signatures beef tartare and caviar.

“It is the reflection of my understanding of French-Japanese cuisine and aesthetics,” he said. Unlike the conventional way of making the tartare, Tauvron abandons the mincer. Instead, he insists on cutting M5 Wagyu beef by hand. Rather than mixing ingredients and seasonings, he lines finely chopped capers, gherkins, shallots and parsley neatly, next to the beef. The final touch is a quail egg yolk and caviar on top, with Worcestershire sauce on side.

“The idea is to present the dish the kaiseki way, simple and pure, whilst allowing people to tailor the dish to their own liking.” And the other star dish not to be missed: black cod, which was voted the best cod dish in London many years in a row.


Opening hours: 11:30am-2:30pm (lunch), 6pm-10pm (dinner), 11am-7pm (afternoon tea)

Tel: 6898-0678

Address: 100 Wukang Rd

Average price: 800 yuan (US$115.4)

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