Tag Archives: bistro

L’Hotel Gitan

L’Hotel GItan

The last place you’d look.

Dirty Commercial Road is not the first place you think of when searching for authentic French cuisine in Melbourne, but it is here that Jacques Reymond has successfully merged gastro pub and French bistro with L’Hotel Gitan.

From a gastro pub perspective, it is charmingly relaxed, but with white-papered table clothes and dark wood furniture, it feels fancy without stuffy. In terms of bistro, the dishes are simple and honest, without fancy technique, but also without the overbearing richness with which much French food is associated. Each dish is fresh, and clean, and sauces, the trademark of the French, are designed to compliment rather than outshine the principle.

The ballontine of duck starter is chunky and textured, and although not to everyone’s liking (it can be difficult managing the fatty, gelatinous sensation) left me wanting more, with my girl generously obliging. The cassolette was standout, delicately balanced with champagne and saffron foam, the perfectly cooked medley of prawns, mussels and squid was flawless, and a reminder of how amazing Australian seafood can get. The barramundi en croute shone brightly and built upon the seafood theme of the previous dish. Tender and juicy fillet of cod, layered with a salmon mousse that didn’t really add anything other than a protective layer separating the barramundi and the lusciously flaky puff pastry ceiling.

However, the dish on which all French bistros are so often (and rightly) judged, the steak and frites, was unexceptional, although pleasant enough. A well-executed dish that failed to live up to the standard that preceded it, it was the only dish that failed to leave a memorable impression.

Jacques Reymond is a true gentleman of Melbourne’s French scene, presenting dishes both classical, and classy, much like the man himself who greeted each and every diner once the kitchen and closed up. A class act all the way.

 

L’Hotel Gitan

32 Commercial Road, Prahran

+61 3 9999 0990

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Paris. Je t’aime.

A Tall Tour part 1

Paris. Je t’aime.

Paris is bistro dining. Simple, uncomplicated fare, the way it should be. Haute cuisine has its place, sure, but when in Paris, do as the Parisians do, and go the bistro, every time.

These are my two favourite bistros in Paris, which sum up this philosophy perfectly.

Le Pantruche, located in the 9th arrondisement, not being well known as a tourist hot spot, it is one of the best reasons to visit the area. Here, chef Franck Baranger progresses further development of Paris’ revitalized bistro scene, serving up authentic and relatively inexpensive dishes to warm the soul. It takes you back to a simpler time, when there was one of these on every Parisian corner. Or so I would like to believe, because in my eyes, Le Pantruche sums up all I want Paris to be, or ever be.

Pot au Feu

Pot au Feu

Le Pantruche

Le Pantruche

Le Pantruche

Le Pantruche

All the bistro classics are here served beautifully in assortments of rich broths and sauces and delicate foams, tempting you to run your finger around the plate and lick it clean. The Pot au Feu, a rich cold meat dish with ribbons of carrot and beetroot sang for a cooking style of era’s long gone.

Lamb loin, roasted ever so slightly was pink and juicy, and the roast chicken, both served with sauces that appeared to be centuries in the making. This is truly bistro cooking as it was always intended.

Taking up a further notch is the always amazing, nearly impossible to get in to, Le Comptoir du Relais. Chef Yves Camdeborde, recognized by some as being responsible for Paris’ modern bistronomy scene turns on a masterclass. The Monday to Friday 5 course tasting menu, comes as a no frills, all kills experience. Each dish picture perfect, each mouthful an explosion.

Raviole de Colvert

Raviole de Colvert

Maigre de Ligne

Maigre de Ligne

Plateau de Fromage

Plateau de Fromage

Le Comptoir

Le Comptoir

The price pushes it above your standard bistro fare, but when one of the courses includes an all you can eat, help yourself cheese plate, it’s difficult to complain. If you are fortunate enough to land a table at Le Comptoir, and staying at the adjacent hotel next door is your foot in the door, you have just treated yourself to the best bistro Paris has to offer.

Le Pantruche

3 Rue Victor Masse, 75009 Paris, France
+33 1 48 78 55 60
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Le Comptoir du Relais

l’Odéon França, 5 Carrefour de l’Odéon, Paris, France
+33 1 44 27 07 97
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Estelle Bistro

Estelle Bistro.

The Sunday Roast with the Most.

Estelle Bistro is the sort of restaurant one could fall in love with on the first encounter.

Estelle Bistro

Estelle Bistro

Such restaurants are rare.   I love many restaurants, but I am not ‘in love’ with many. That requires a level of commitment that runs against my grain, yet Estelle breeds such emotion.

The minimalist, yet comforting fit-out.

The professional, yet familiar service.

And of course, the breathtaking, yet deceptively simple food.

Breath-taking indeed. I was moved to utter an involuntary “oh my God” after one mouthful of the ridiculously succulent roasted pork. Many a great love affair has started this way, and I’m not ashamed to admit this dish made me weak at the knees.

So good was this pork, my usually accommodating and generous girlfriend fought me off with knife and fork, demonstrating a ferocity that has not been witnessed in our 6 year courtship when I moved in to steal that last piece of piggy from her plate.

Roast Pork

Roast Pork

Finally coming to my senses (and realizing she would in fact inflict a serious wound if I didn’t back off), I allowed her ownership of that which was justifiably hers afterall, but we both learned a little something about each other at that table.

Anyway, I digress.

The dessert of apple tarte tatin was simple, and flawless, with accompanying cinnamon ice cream, you could not ask for a better finisher. Simple, and sweet.

Apple Tarte Tatin

Apple Tarte Tatin

And the starter of pork terrine, amongst the best I have encountered, served with micro herbs and a delicate sauce that cut through the heaviness of the terrine and lifted it to weightless heights.

Both lovely, and both worth the trip to Northcote, but that roast pork … maybe it was worth losing a finger …

243 High Street,

Northcote, Victoria _

OPEN 7 DAYS

Dinner Mon-Sun, Lunch Fri-Sun

(03) 9489 4609

eat@estellebistro.com

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