Restaurant review: Le Bistrot Pierre
A few weeks ago, we popped in to the launch night for the new branch of Le Bistrot Pierre on George St, and I have to say, we were amazed at what they’ve done with the space. Previously Jika Jika, the long, narrow dining room was always a little dim and gloomy, and the huge bar in the centre made the space feel squeezed. Bistrot Pierre have moved the bar to the front and lightened the colour palette to make the most of that high ceiling, as well as adding lantern lights to allow the sunshine to pour in, and put in an open kitchen at the back so you can see the chefs working their magic.
We couldn’t wait to go back and sample the menu properly, so last week we popped in for dinner on a wet & miserable Monday evening. Inside, the restaurant was a haven of coziness and candlelight, full of delicious aromas. We started with a good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a Mediterranean sharing platter – I must admit that I’m often disappointed with such things, which can be an excuse to charge twice as much for a few bits of bread and some hummus, but on this occasion we were thoroughly impressed. The platter included sun-dried tomatoes, red pepper tapenade, hummus, a lovely creamy Brie and olives, as well as our personal favourites, chorizo in honey and a wonderful pork & pistachio pate. The pate in particular, thickly spread on crusty bread with unsalted butter, transported me straight to France.
For my main course, I couldn’t resist trying out Bistrot Pierre’s sole meunière – a classic, simple dish that’s nevertheless easy to get wrong. It didn’t disappoint, through – the fish was light, juicy and perfectly cooked, served with a rich parsley butter and tangy capers. On the menu it was paired with seasonal vegetables, but I switched those out for chips (call me a philistine, but I reckon fish should pretty much always be served with chips). I was glad I’d made that call, because my dining companion’s main course was also served with seasonal vegetables, and they were about the only fault in our meal. I think it’s a shame to serve all dishes with the same sides, regardless of how well they complement each other, and I find that sides like this are often plain and a little dried up – plated up in bulk and popped on the side as an afterthought. However, the rest of his main course was fabulous – pork & crackling served in a fabulously rich calvados gravy, with some lovely wilted greens (so in fact, the seasonal vegetables weren’t really needed).
For dessert, my dining companion chose the tarte au citron (not really my thing, but he assured me it was fantastic – and he’s tried quite a few) which was served with a wonderful raspberry sorbet, and I went for the coupe blanche au chocolat, another old favourite that took me right back to my years living in France – vanilla ice cream and toasted almonds, with a thick, warm chocolate sauce to pour over the top. I elected to wash it down with a glass of Armagnac, which was also excellent.
Throughout, the service was cheerful and attentive, and the atmosphere very pleasant. We were also impressed by the other dining events on offer – for example, the soirée gastronomique, a bi-monthly set menu focusing on regional cuisine – and by the extremely reasonable set-menus (a great fixture of authentic French restaurants). All in all, highly recommended.
Images Copyright Sal Godfrey / Sal’s Kitchen