Dining and Wining with Dra Lourdes
Edith Piaf trilliing softly in the backgound, faux Louis Quinze furniture (vintage 1950), coffee, croissants and taste bud tempting delicacies and petits fours of the kind that get customers pinning their faces to the windows of patisseries in France.
Oh, and the staff: white shirted waiters in traditional ankle length aprons, the maitre d with necktie and black waistcoat and lingering near the boutique and the blackboards listing the plat de jour and other items, an elegantly coiffed pant-suited hostess. All attentive,of course.A corner of Paris? Almost. The atmosphere is France, but the location Panama. La Vie en Rose is on the road leading from Calle 50 to the Sheraton Hotel, by Atlapa. Look for the HSBC bank on the corner.
We were part of the “soft” opening, which means no trumpet fanfare but a time to get the staff comfortable with their duties, and to iron out any of the bugs that face a new venture.
The French and Panamanian owned restaurant is warming up, on the ground floor, serving renowned teas from France, the finest coffee and croissants I have tasted in five years, patisseries, quiches, salads and sandwiches using their own bread and panini. All available to go. They also offer well priced wines and two of my old friends from life in Paris, Kir and Kir Royal.
The full menu, including at least three vegetarian dishes (a hint to other restaurateurs that some tastes are changing) will be on stream on May 4 when the upper floor will open.
The elegant staircase, dominated by a portrait of Piaf is sure to become a focal point for people watchers, and the opportunity for those who like to be seen to make a grand arrival, or departure.
So far everything has delighted the taste buds and lived up to the promise of the ambience. If the full menu follows suite, the haute monde of Panama, and those who appreciate fine dining, will have a a new rendezvous for memorable nights out.
The grand opening will be on Thursday (April 29) and many of the city’s gliterrati, are on the invitation list prepared by meticulous Algerian partner Hocine Boukhenaissi, and will have the opportunity to sample his exclusive Tarine Champagne.
After that comes the challenge of living up to our expectations. Panama will benefit from a touch of French bonhomie.