Countryside French Bistro Vibes at Newly Reopened Le Coquin

By Sophie Steiner, January 12, 2022

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The Place 

Opened back in April 2020, Le Coquin hatched from a Robin’s egg blue façade on the quieter side of the once rowdy Yongkang Lu. However, due to unforeseen landlord issues, the restaurant was forced to close just 18 months later... yet not before garnering a substantial following for its high quality French haute cuisine. 

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Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Back by popular demand, the owners quickly sought out new digs on Nanchang Lu – across from Sober Company – and opened again with the same concept. 

Similar to the previous setup, the downstairs of this restored building has been converted into a cozy café in the front, and a long, low-lit bar in the back, opening up to a staircase that leads guests to the main dining area on the second floor, with the third floor offering additional dining space in a more private setting. The quaint restaurant seats 30 people total, lending itself to a feeling of dining with family. 

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“We have many repeat customers, because they know our team and chef and look forward to revisiting dishes on the menu with different company,” says co-owner John Yuan. The countryside bistro décor of muted pastel hues and rustic floral table displays feel familiar, comforting and, when coupled with the French dishes, remind diners of home, wherever that may be. 

The Food 

Le Coquin, which means 'The Rascal,' features a French haute cuisine menu, characterized by an intense level of preparation, intricate presentation and a higher price point to reflect the high quality, imported ingredients.

This is food that’s meant to be experienced slowly and with all five senses. 

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Chef Jimmy Carodiario hails from Montpelier, and brings his French roots to the table, with a streak of Italian flair coming from his Italian grandmother.

That part of his heritage shines through in the Eggplant Mozza Mille-Feuilles (RMB88), a stacked tower of alternating breaded and fried eggplant parmesan, tomato and mozzarella, sprinkled liberally with basil. 

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The restaurant’s everyday chef is Kimi Hu (Shangri-La, Pudong) who meticulously executes Chef Jimmy’s recipes with surgeon-like precision.

For starters, there’s the perfectly seared Hokkaido Scallops (RMB98), a crisped cap forming on the top. The luscious shmears of parsnip purée, balanced by tart passion fruit glaze, help to bring out the scallops’ natural sweetness.  

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Australian Wagyu tenderloin Beef Tartare (RMB88) is chopped roughly and mixed with just a smidgeon of mustard and a lashing of egg yolk, so as not to overpower the beef’s rich flavor. Served atop homemade potato chips, the textural contrast and hit of salt bring the bite full circle. 

DSC07217.jpgEscargot (RMB98), Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

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Chilean White Wine Mussels (RMB148) are steamed in a wine and butter sauce – with the usual suspects: garlic and chicken stock – plus extra cherry tomatoes for added acidity. 

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French style Duck Confit (RMB138) arrives with brittle skin that crackles into shards, allowing the succulent meat to shred away from the bone with only the slightest nudge from a fork. Roasted atop sautéed potatoes, the fat from the duck drips down, mixing with the herb-butter on the spuds below.

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Flaky and tender, the Pan-fried Halibut (RMB168) is seared to reveal ultra-crunchy skin, then stacked on thinly sliced grilled zucchini and yellow squash rounds, swaddled in a creamy red bell pepper sauce. 

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Named after the Italian opera composer Gioachino Rossini, Tournedos Rossini (RMB268) are edible decadence composed of fillet mignon topped with pan-fried foie gras, served alongside a shmear of black truffle mashed potatoes.

Although this dish can be found on other French haute cuisine menus, the execution at Le Coquin makes it all the more memorable. 

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Desserts are where the French truly shine, and Le Coquin’s are no exception, from treacly Crème Brûlée (RMB68) with an ice-like sugar shell...

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... to luscious Chocolate Mousse (RMB68) studded with fresh berries and a dusting of chocolate shavings...

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... to warm cinnamon-flecked Apple Tart with Vanilla Ice Cream (RMB78).

Aside from the expected French lunch and dinner fare, Le Coquin also offers weekend brunch from 11am to 3pm. There are also seasonal specials, like free flow raclette on Fridays for RMB268 per person (reservation required).

The Vibe

Despite the high-end menu, Le Coquin is laid back. Trading out a four-string quartet for French pop-ballads, you’ll find yourself singing along to songs you recognize, sung in the ‘language of love.’ 

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From the modern downstairs bar to an intimate dining room to the airy terrace, comfy Le Coquin resembles the countryside French bistro you wish you could visit on your next summer vacation. 

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Price: RMB250-600
Who’s Going: Francophiles, haute cuisine gourmands, special occasion celebrators
Good For: Eccentric food, cozy-French vibes, impressing others


See a listing for Le Coquin.

Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews.

[Cover Image by Sophie Steiner/That’s]

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