A touch of French fancy in the heart of Wrexham

Reporter:

Rob Bellis

FROGS’ legs and snails? On the menu in Wrexham?

Well, for one night only these very French delicacies will be served as part of an eight-course dinner at Wrexham’s culinary hidden gem – Rendezvous restaurant on Yale college’s Grove Park Road campus.

Level three students, guided by chef de cuisine Wayne Hatenboer, will be preparing a classic Gallic feast for culinary connoisseurs next Tuesday.

Diners will be treated to a gastronomic journey through French favourites, enjoying canapes, a sumptuous fish course, beef cooked three ways, fine cheeses, indulgent desserts and much more.

“It promises to be a great evening,” said Wayne. “Modern cuisine is based on classic French cuisine. We teach our advanced level two and three students how to prepare these classics and bring in contemporary twists.

“The French evening is about promoting the restaurant and showcasing what we can do.”

And what the students are capable of is truly impressive. Using the best quality ingredients - locally produced where possible - they have learned to produce dishes that would not be out of place in a top restaurant.

“The background of the team here is two, three AA rosettes or Michelin standard and I think that is reflected through the students,” Wayne continued.

“We put a very strong emphasis on the standard of food. We use great local ingredients as much as we can and everything is homemade: the breads, sorbet, even the chocolates.

“We’re confident that when our level two and three students go out they can compete with any other chef. The thing to remember is that Rendezvous is a real restaurant and it is very serious for these guys, whether it’s in the kitchen or front of house.”

The bistro in Yale has been running for a number of years, being extensively refurbished and then rebranded as Rendezvous two years ago.

With crisp linens, polished silver and glassware, it looks every bit the cosmopolitan fine dining eatery the food suggests.

It is fully licensed and is open to the public at lunchtimes (Tuesday to Friday noon to 1.30pm) and on Tuesday evenings from 6pm to 8pm.

A typical lunchtime menu costs £9.95 for three courses or about £4.50 for a main.

Choose from a range of starters such as golden goujons of plaice served with tartare sauce and dressed leaves or a fine pastry tartlet filled with chicken, candied onions and coriander cream, mains like roast curried cod, candied fennel and a cockle and mussel broth or loin of pork, apple puree and sage jus.

While the regular menus might sound divine, events such as the French evening enable Rendezvous’ budding chefs to really show what they can do.

“The students have researched classic French dishes, design and have even done the food orders and costing for the event,” Wayne explained.

“We’ve already had a number of successful events – we had Bryn Williams (Welsh chef who runs top London restaurant Odete’s) here recently, we’ve done a Spanish evening, Romanian evening, Mexican evening and we’re also planning an evening of Asian cuisine – not just Chinese or Indian food but dishes from all over Asia.

“We’ve cooked for Prince Edward, the president of Liechtenstein and we have done a number of functions for the mayor.”

Rendezvous also offers a catering service for weddings, conferences and corporate events, parties and celebrations.

Classic French evening, Rendezvous, May 4, £18.25 per head. For bookings or further information call 01978 316457 or visit www.rendezvous-yale.co.uk

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