Monday, October 1, 2012

Le Bistrot du Sommelier

They say the French are the master chefs of the world. While I do not fully agree, as I subsribe to the multi master cuisines of the world...amongst them the French and Italians, but also Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian. But I do agree, the French know their food (and wine!), and it is often a delight to eat at an established French kitchen.

The Bistro du Sommelier has moved several times over its life. And I have always managed not to eat there until today, when some Australian friends who were visiting wanted French.

Quaint place, methinks. Upstairs a nice bar, which also doubles as a canteen like eating place. And downstairs, a nice restaurant. Located just a few doors from the Substation at Armenian Street, this little bistro has made its name amongst the local culinary scene for a while.

Only beef is available as mains during lunch, which served us fine...3 rather big lads can devour quite a bit of meat. So we decided on the 1.2kg steak to be shared amongst us. But first the starters...

The special for the day was baked figs topped with blue cheese

I always fancied figs as something eaten with cheese, but usually dried. This was fresh figs, baked with melted blue cheese on top. Very nice. The figs were a bit tart, ever so slightly acidic and sour on a base tast of sweet. The cheese was, of course, pungent, fragrant and creamy. I must say I rather liked it more than I thought I would have reading the menu.

We also had some absolutely gorgeous duck rilette.

This one is realy good. I mean really, seriously good. Spread on a nice crusty piece of bread that only the French can manage (is there a pun in the French word for bread = pain?)...marvellous. If it were up to me, I would order one serving per person.

And the piece de resistance...arrived after 45 minutes for medium rare...we were puzzled...the waitress, sweet and knowledgable as she was, could not answer us why it would take that long...other than to offer that the meat needed time to rest...

Anyway...looks gorgeous, smelled wonderful

The meat was tender, full flavoured. The sauteed onions provided a sweetness that I would have preferred not, but it was fine. Back to the meat...very very good. Beefy flavours, tender...I already said that, but this was really almost fork tender...very nice on the palate. Beautiful.

But the meat was fat...don't get me wrong, fat gives flavour. But I think perhaps this cut was a bit too much fat....we trimmed it away and figured perhaps 200g of fat...take away another 150g of bone, and we had just about 900g of meat to be shared. Quite enough for the 3 of us. I would have been delighted if the waitress whisked away the fat and toasted it into a crisp lard....but she didn't offer, and we didn't ask...and all the better for our cholesterol levels.

I sound like I didn't really enjoy the beef, but believe me, I really did. Very good steak.

But the dessert blew me away...

prunes, preserved in liqueur, served with a good scoop of vanilla ice cream and more liqueur poured over for good measure. The liqueur was wonderful...beautiful aroma, nice sweetness, but well tempered.

The prunes were pitted, but these were easy to remove as the flesh was so soft, and wonderfully soaked with the liqueur, it was a pleasure to swirl around with the tongue, and spit out the pit. Excellent dessert.

I didn't taste, but one of the trio ordered a profiterole...looked authentic...huge.

Truly a nice, relaxed atmosphere, almost like a French bistro in perhaps one of the quieter Arrondisment in Paris. Almost all the staff were French, and were many of the clients...lending more credibility to the atmosphere. Lovely place. Definitely worth visiting again.

Le Bistrot du Sommelier
53 Armenian St

Mon to Sat 12-3pm, and 6-11pm

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