The celebration of Bastille Day – France’s national holiday that commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14 in 1789 – will be slightly muted in France this year under the shadow of Covid-19.
Although the usual parade down at Champs-Élysées and the dancing at one of the many Bals des Pompiers will be replaced with just a smaller affair at the Place de la Concorde, dramatic fireworks will still take place to entertain eager spectators.
In Malaysia, however, the Embassy of France in Kuala Lumpur offers a slew of programmes every year to mark the birth of the French Republic, spreading cheer to local Francophiles who relish the country’s rich gastronomy, culture and joie de vivre. Moreover, the celebration helps to rediscover the deep and close ties that have been woven between France and Malaysia over centuries.
Bastille Day in the city will be scaled-down but rest assured that the atmosphere – buoyed by online shows via the embassy’s Facebook page as well as dining and wining across some of the top restaurants in KL – will remain jovial.
THINGS TO DO
The evening will commence with an opening speech by Ambassador of France to Malaysia H.E. Frederic Laplanche at 6pm, before making way for a performance by the prize winners of Euroasia Association of Performing Arts strings competitions. The group of young musicians will be serenading the online audience with the iconic La Marseillaise.
The music doesn’t stop there – Malaysian pianist Mei Lin Hii will be performing French baroque composer, Jean-Philippe Rameau’s Les Trois Mains at 6.30pm. As the song indicates, Hii will be delivering the Three Hands at the French Residence in Malaysia.
PLACES TO WINE AND DINE
A proper Bastille Day celebration — or any celebration at all — isn’t complete without food. The convivial occasion is meant to be enjoyed with friends and family and what better way to do so than over French cuisine. Some of Klang Valley’s best French bakeries and restaurants are serving up special menu items or offering discounts for a limited time only.
Those who fancy French pastries can go for Paul’s limited-edition France Tartlet or Champignons’ delightful Baked Duck Pie with Foie Gras (it comes with a complimentary fig salad). Chef Frank of Yeast Bistronomy in Bangsar also included two additional appetizer and main options as well as a dessert for the restaurant's Bastille Day special.
If you’d like your entire meal sorted for you, Le Gourmandin (RM100+) is offering a special three-course dinner with a mocktail of your choice. For champagne and wine pairing options, DC Restaurant has four seasonal menus to choose from (From RM288). And for an intimate dinner with a view, Troika Sky Dining’s French restaurant Cantaloupe’s six-course menu (RM480+) is your best bet. The meal starts with buttered toasts followed by warm oysters with fennel and curry, organic chicken galantine with baby vegetables, crispy sautéed sea bass with orange roast beef jus and roast beef, stuffed foie gras slices and stewed vegetables in lemon cream sauce, culminating with the classic Charlotte Russe dessert.
For those seeking to delve deeper into the artistry behind French dining, Nathalie Gourmet Studio’s French Tapas Dinner (RM170++) is an ideal introduction to the intricate cuisine. Diners will learn about the various flavours and taste profiles unique to different French regions.
Hotels are not one to miss out on Bastille Day celebrations too. Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur has prepared an all-you-can-eat seafood spread at Lemon Garden for lunch (RM128) and dinner (RM158) while The St Regis Kuala Lumpur’s Bastille Day menu (RM380++) comes with an option of alcohol pairing (RM568).
All the food deals are available until July 14, except for Champignons (July 19) and DC Restaurant (end of the month).