Les bistronomes re-run (yes already)

You know it wasn’t that long since your last visit when all the wait staff recognise you. I knew we should have worn fake moustaches and spoken in a Spanish accent! Truth be told, we couldn’t wait any longer to go back to Les Bistronomes (see my previous post here), when you promise your stomach something, it won’t forget until you’ve satisfied the craving.

We were back to try their beef wellington and crème brûlée that we weren’t able to order last time. When I rang to book the table, the manager said he was completely booked out and he could only give me seating outside. My mind casted my memory back to when I peered at the patrons who sat outside last time, they were barely lit in the dim moon light and with no heating. I was desperate… I really wanted that wellington so I reluctantly said yes. The manager mentioned he was going to put fairy lights outside so it wouldn’t look so dark and dreary but he advised to bring a jacket to keep warm. I stressed to him that we really wanted a beef wellington

When we were shown to our seats, my eyes widen and I didn’t question it when we were shown to a table inside. It turns out that the electrician didn’t finish the job so the fairy lights stayed in their box. Deciding that he didn’t want anyone to sit outside until it was modified, the manager arranged for our table to be inside. How very nice of him.

Complimentary cute smoked tomato butter, I just wished that the bread was warmed.IMG_6031.JPGSoft Diabolo (strawberry $6.00). Ooops, I forgot to take a photo, it was served in a really cute mason jar with a handle. I was expecting something crazy sweet when the waitress said that this was a lemonade mixed with a strawberry syrup from France, but instead got something that tasted like soda water with a hint of strawberry flavour, when the waitress asked me if it was really sweet I knew something was wrong. The manager took my drink away and replaced it with a new one, the tap had run out of syrup and the new one was sweet alright, it reminded me of raspberry lemonade. Much better!

Entrees ($17.00)~

Escargot Et Fillet De Porc En Persillade garlic snails and pork loin with parsley cream. This isn’t the first time I’ve had snails so there was no hesitation on eating these but if you’ve never tried them before, the taste and texture remind me of a beef tortellini. The garlic puree is strong and has it definitely pierces the tongue. It went well with the parsley puree and snails. The pork loin is rolled in a leek ask giving it it’s interesting colour, the meat itself was really moist.IMG_6048.JPG

Salade Nicoise Nicoise salad: tuna, potato, french beans, olive, capsicum, egg. A little hard to share this dish but I got one of everything. I found this dish really disconnected, it seemed like I was eating separate ingredients and nothing really brought it together.IMG_6042.JPGGorgeous colour and presentation, it was just a salad that wasn’t for me.IMG_6041.JPGPlat Pour Deux/Mains for two served with one side dish of your choice($88.00)~ We chose Frites as our side.

Filet De Boeuf En Croute Au Foie Gras Et Duxelle De Champignon Beef Wellington, mushroom Duxelle, foie gras and red wine jus “Pre-order only”. It’s not French but I don’t care. This gorgeous golden brown parcel was brought to the table, photographed to death before being whisked away and cut into three pieces (usually shared between two people they were nice enough to cut it into thirds for us). My friends offered me the centre slice as I am a very big meat eater which meant I got less pastry but I didn’t mind. I tried the pastry which was golden, buttery and flakey. Next I tried the beef which was ridiculously moist and tender. I wanted to try elements of the dish before I poured over the gravy but oh my!! It was tasty before but with the red wine jus, it was perfection. We loved it so much that we asked for more to lather it onto our portions as well as dip our chips into it. I’m not usually a fan of foie gras but I couldn’t even tell it was in there with all the buttery, meaty goodness. My mouth is watering as I write this.IMG_6051.JPG

IMG_6052.JPGSorry, I got a bit carried away with the photography.IMG_6055.JPG

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IMG_6060.JPGOf course the light was fading when we were served the star of the meal, so my lovely friends helped with their phone flashlight.IMG_6062.JPG

IMG_6065.JPGGarnitures (side dishes $9.00)~ we chose the same sides as before

Petit Pois A La Francaise (French peas). The sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the chunky bacon bits really compliment each other well.IMG_6056.JPGDesserts ($14.00)~

Crème brûlée A La Vanille vanilla crème brûlée. It is a big call but this is one of the best crème brûlées I’ve ever had even though it doesn’t the essential toffee hat that I like to crack with my spoon. After all the dramatic flames subsided, we all took a spoonful. Utterly flawless with its varying contrasting textures between the chunky sugar crystals and the absolutely smooth crème brûlée. It wasn’t overly sweet or eggy, it was just – perfect…

Our dessert up in flames!IMG_6068.JPGGoing…IMG_6069.JPGGoing…IMG_6070.JPGAlmost going…IMG_6071.JPGGone!IMG_6073.JPGA perfect mouthful of dessert.IMG_6082.JPGCharlotte A La Fraise and Surea strawberry and elder flower Charlotte. I really liked the combination of finely diced cucumber with strawberries, it has a really nice cooling effect. The flavours of this dessert are really light and refreshing. I love the variation of textures on this plate.IMG_6074.JPG

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IMG_6078.JPGWe got talking with the owner Abel Bariller, formerly the sommelier for Sage restaurant, he was very charming and informative. After the first few weeks of opening, he said he has learnt a lot about running a business and it is a lot busier than he envisaged as he didn’t know the Braddon area well, he also added that they are always learning and adjusting things as they are brought to their attention, which is nice. I hope they are here to stay because I cannot wait to taste their Winter menu.

From my first visit, I wasn’t quite convinced that this was a spectacular restaurant with food that was worth returning for as the menu is quite limited but after tonight’s dinner I’m looking for people to go with to make another return trip even if it is just for brunch.

 

Human flyer – Hogs Breath

Trust me, a franchise was not my first choice for dinner while showing an interstate guest around. We had been pretty lucky with the food so far with it being a public holiday (see brunch and lunch here) and all we were looking for to finish off the day was some delicious meat. Smoque had promised to be opened but we were really disappointed when we were greeted with closed doors. I didn’t have a plan B because their FB page had promised me delicious ribs and wings.

We did a lap around the Sydney and Melbourne building and with not much open, we decided to head to Hogs Breath down in Baileys Arcade where we knew we could get a steak and who doesn’t love a curly fry. When we arrived, I was quite surprised to find it so busy despite the early time.

Cheesy Garlic & Herb Bread Cheesy Garlic & Herb Bread topped with cheddar cheese and grilled to golden brown ($7.95). I don’t understand how you can toast bread, burn the edges while having some bread soft and soggy from the butter. A shame because who doesn’t love a good cheesy garlic bread.IMG_5827.JPGHickory Smoked Prime Rib A real Tex-Mex flavour. Seared and topped with a hickory smoked BBQ sauce on the char grill (Lite Cut $24.95). We all chose lite cuts because we had lunch not long ago. A tender steak cooked to my liking covered in a thick hickory smoked BBQ sauce. It wasn’t an American BBQ but it still satisfied a meat craving that we all had.IMG_5828.JPGService was prompt and attentive, we were able to get to the airport easily without waiting around for food or service.

As for Smoque, I always assume a FB page is accurate as they are always active on their account. It turns out that they had cool room problems over the weekend which forced them to shut on the Monday and they offered a few disappointed patrons some vouchers which is nice.

Human Flyer – Canberra activities

I don’t see a problem with just eating all day but apparently not everyone can keep up with me so we had to fill in the time between meals. Here are some ideas for activities next time you have visitors.

We took our interstate guest shopping in Civic after brunch before heading out by the lake to catch a Segway tour. We were coincidentally on time to make it to the next tour time but usually you would have to book in advance and come in time for the induction and safety video. A 30 minute tour is $39.00 per person. See more details here.IMG_5773.JPGAfter some lunch, we had the intention to head out to Power Kart Raceway to do some laps but they were so busy that it was quite a wait, so we decided to do something else. We of course stayed long enough to watch some crazy speeding action around the track before we headed to our next stop. See more details about prices and the track here.IMG_5794.JPGI haven’t been to Telstra tower in years despite driving past it almost every day. We headed up to the viewing deck for $7.50 per adult. We didn’t think it would be that windy until we got up there. Somewhere between holding down my dress and trying not to cry from the wind exposure, I took some of these breath-taking shots. The view looks great up there and you can really see how Canberra has grown. See more details about the tower here.IMG_5803.JPG

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Human flyer- The Durham

After brunch, shopping and segway tours, we were left with the difficult task to find late lunch on a public holiday as well as during the dead zone (the time between lunch and dinner). We headed to Kingston Green square thinking that something would be opened. Me and Mrs. Jones was our first choice but the kitchen was closed so we just walked around. I remembered that the Durham were doing lunch deals and I thought to myself ‘I wonder if they were opened today?’.

The service was friendly, laid back and food came out pretty promptly.

PubCheese 1/2 pound char-grilled beef patty with pickles, Spanish onions and Cheddar topped with our house-made aioli and tomato relish ($10.00). This has everything that you would want on a burger with a side of crispy hot chips. It is filling and a steal at $10! If you’re thirsty, check out their ‘Special Lunchtime offer’ where you can get certain drinks for an extra $3.IMG_5786.JPGCheckout their lunch specials menu for only $10 bucks!IMG_5787.JPGWow, not only had we found somewhere that was open on a public holiday, serving food at a weird time but we got a bargain with the lunch special deal and all without paying a surcharge. Win win!

Durham Castle Arms Pub & Grill on Urbanspoon

Human flyer – Ricardo’s

We started off the day with brunch and after browsing Instagram as part of my morning ritual, I knew that Ricardo’s was open that day so off we went!

When we arrived, it was very busy inside and out which was to be expected but we were able to grab a table outside for three people with no hassle. I must admit, we weren’t impressed with having to flag down the waitress and ask for menus after several minutes of being ignored at an empty table after being seated. After finally deciding what to order, we sat and waited again… Hmmm seems like you have to be more forward with your approach as a customer to get noticed around here. I get the waitress’ attention again saying that we were ready to order and she informs us that ‘you have to order and pay at the counter’, well it would have been informative if you had told us that when you eventually gave us menus I thought to myself.IMG_5742.JPGThe beverages arrive fairly fast and the food not long after, so obviously efficiency the problem isn’t with the kitchen.

Salted Caramel milkshake and Peppermint and Oreo thickshake. I must say that the new range of milkshakes looked much better when Ricardo’s took a photo for their Instagram account but the taste clearly made up for that. My friend fell in love with his so much, he was going to order a second one but he instead ordered some macarons. I was fearful that mine was going to be really sweet and OTT like some of the cakes that they have in their cabinet, but it was perfect. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! IMG_5757.JPGThe other milkshake flavours that are available, try not to get too distracted with what’s underneath the sign.IMG_5744.JPGCroque Madame Gruyere cheese, double smoked leg ham, Dijon mustard sour cream grilled sour dough topped with a fried egg ($14.90). I love a good Croque Madame but they replaced bechamel sauce with the Dijon mustard sour cream which didn’t really work for me. It was still tasty but I wouldn’t call it a Croque Madame.IMG_5767.JPG

IMG_5766.JPGBreakfast mushroom bruschetta sauteed mushrooms with smashed peas, mint and ricotta on grilled sourdough ($16.90). My friend really enjoyed his breakfast, he loved the medley of mushrooms that was used and he thought the smashed peas really made this dish.IMG_5762.JPG

IMG_5761.JPGEggs Benedict poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, baby spinach and bacon on toast ($17.90). I’m not a fan of Turkish bread in breakfast dishes, I find it too filling comparatively to a lot of the breakfast items but other than that, everything else was made well and they were generous with their serving of bacon.IMG_5764.JPG

IMG_5763.JPGSalted caramel cronut. We couldn’t resist to order one these since the first one we got from Ricardo’s months ago was really nice. Unfortunately, this was really oily and was not like a croissant nor a doughnut, it was soggy pastry doused in oil and covered in instant diabetes. Not good.IMG_5760.JPGWe tried to finish it, but we couldn’t. It was easy to see from the plate why.

Nothing left on the plate but sugar and grease.IMG_5768.JPGThe delicious food made us quickly forget about the inefficiencies with some wait staff. It was a shame about the cronut, the first one I had from here was amazing but now their cronuts like many of their cakes are just OTT and too sugary to differentiate between different flavours and layers that they try to achieve in complex cakes. Pretty to look at but that’s it.

Breakfast and lunch menu items are good though and I don’t think there was a surcharge for the public holiday (double win!).

You can find my previous Ricardo’s post here.

Ricardo's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Human Flyer

With the weeks leading up to the Human Brochure weekend, I’ve taken my role of showing interstate guests around Canberra much more seriously. There have been coincidental visits, Floriade trips and other Canberra events that have brought visitors to the Nation’s capital in recent weeks and as a proud local, I was eager to show them the best of what Canberra had to offer.

This was just a glimpse of one day that I could show one of these friends around and drawing inspiration from the Human Brochure, I’ve named this series the ‘Human Flyer’. It was a little inconvenient that this one particular day happened to be Labour day and a lot of the spots that I wanted to take him were closed, but because there is so much choice around here, I was able to find a substitution solution pretty quickly.

I hope you guys can find this series helpful for when you have interstate visitors and you want to show them around Canberra.

Thr1ve

After lots of shopping and losing track of time, a friend told me she wanted something cheap and healthy when I asked her what she wanted to do for lunch. Wow, no one has ever said that to me before; it really threw me for a loop. Finally I came up with the answer of Thr1ve, I’ve never eaten there before but I know they have paleo inspired food which would still be serving food around the dead zone that is between lunch and dinner (it was around 2:30pm ish). IMG_5640.JPGMy friend couldn’t help but get one of these. They looked cute but all I could think of was that Donut King was just a few steps away.IMG_5633.JPGThere were a lot of new things for me to read but the basic gist is that you choose a ‘base’ consisting of up to two ingredients and then choose a protein. Bases include leafy green, brown rice, baby spinach leaves and sweet potato mash. When we asked to see how big a ‘main bowl’ was, I think the server said it was the same sized bowl but the calories were halved in an ‘entree size’ (??).

I ordered baby spinach with sweet potato mash and the teriyaki salmon for my protein in a main sized portion ($12.90)It came out pretty quickly, I imagine a lot of the food is pre-made. The sweet potato mash reminded me of hospital food but at least it was served warm unlike the rest of the dish. I guess it was good, it made me content and the desire to eat was no longer there. Comparing to the other proteins that my friends chose, I preferred the salmon.IMG_5637.JPG
This might be good with for body but their packaging didn’t look very environmentally friendly when there weren’t any recycle bins around.IMG_5634.JPGBaby spinach, brown rice with chargrilled chicken.IMG_5635.JPGBrown rice, leafy greens with pulled beef.IMG_5636.JPGVenue: Thr1ve

Address: Canberra Centre (opposite Supabarn) Bunda Street, Civic, Canberra 2600

Phone: (02) 6247 5555

Thr1ve on Urbanspoon

Les bistronomes

In a nutshell, Les bistronomes really disappointed us. Not with the food that we received, that was rather nice, it was because of what was not available from the menu that day.

It was my friend’s birthday and all she wanted was the ‘beef Wellington for two’, she wouldn’t even have cared if she had to eat it all by herself, but between the delay of the convection oven and the huge prep behind the dish, beef Wellington won’t be available til next week. Also by the time we got to dessert, we were informed that they ran out of the creme brulee which had been catching our eye as they went past us all night. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…  >____<

Canberra’s behaviour is so predictable, new restaurants are always busy to see what all the fuss is about. I hope it is good!IMG_5887.JPGThere wasn’t much difference between the interior of Les Bistronomes and the previous Delissio Brasserie but there were a few subtle hints that reminded you of France.IMG_5888.JPGTo start we were served with some fresh bread (cold) with a smoked tomato butter. The butter was whipped well but the flavours of the tomato and salt were subtle.IMG_5886.JPGIMG_5889.JPGWe don’t usually drink but we were here to celebrate so a couple of us got a cocktail that consisted of sparkling wine and grapefruit ($13.00).IMG_5898.JPGLes Amuses Gueules (pre-entrees to share)~

Huitres naturelles sauce mignonette (natural oysters $4.00 each). I haven’t had oysters in a long time and oh how I’ve missed them. The mignonette was interesting and vinegary but the lovely sea salty taste had the last say in my mouth.IMG_5903.JPGIMG_5902.JPGEntrees ($17.00)~

Tartare De Boeuf (beef tartare). My Belgian friend was looking forward to this (despite it being her second choice) but when she tasted it she said it wasn’t how she prefers it. I tried a little and my first bite was over powered by parsley. My second bite had a strong bite of hot mustard but lacked the natural flavours of raw meat. We ate it with the hot fries and it gave it a good ‘chaser shot’ of salt. The top crunchy bits are beef tendon crisps.IMG_5907.JPGIMG_5908.JPGA close up of the beef tartare chopped up into little pieces.IMG_5921.JPGLes Plats (mains $36.00)~

Canard A L’Orange (orange duck, carrot and licorice, pickled red cabbage and pistachio). I loved the duck flavours from the meat but especially from the skin. I wasn’t expecting the terrine but it did add to dish and helped to fill me a little more. The pickled cabbage was crazy sweet but it was addictive and went very well with the duck meat. The orange sauce wasn’t anywhere near as strong as the pickled red cabbage, but the orange segments were a happy surprise. There was only a line of licorice so if you don’t like the flavour, don’t let it stop you from ordering this dish, but I really enjoyed it.IMG_5913.JPG

IMG_5917.JPGMmmm check out that duck skin.IMG_5916.JPGLe Poisson Du Jour (fish of the day) Salmon confit with broccoli, mussel and shrimp bisque. I loved the flavours of the bisque, the flavour was strong yet the texture was very light. Inside the Brussels sprout leaf enclosed something eggy (?) and tasted very lemony and very good. The salmon was really delicate and I was impressed at the size of it.IMG_5904.JPGGarnitures (side dishes $9.00)~

Frites (chips- just checked the bill, we were only charged $8). We had to ask several times for this but when they finally arrived they were super hot and well salted. Seems really weird to pay this much for a bowl of chips but at least it was a decent size.IMG_5920.JPGPetit Pois A La Francaise (French peas). I really loved the soft onion with thick chunks of bacon. I am not a fan of peas but I think that night I ate more peas than all of my 29 years put together. It was recommended that this was a good side for my duck main dish.IMG_5912.JPGWe got talking with a waiter to suss out why beef Wellington weren’t available, why they were on the menu and more importantly, when would they be available! He explained that the chef had previously worked with Gordon Ramsay which inspired him to put it on the menu and that the beef Wellington will be available next week. He found out that it was a big reason why we came and that it was my friend’s birthday. He was very generous and came back later to give us all very large serves of a gorgeous dessert wine complimentary to make up for our disappointment.IMG_5924.JPGDesserts ($14.00)~

Mousse Au Chocolat Et Avocat (chocolate mousse and avocado).The textures varied between the light mousse, the delicate crispy cigar casing, avocado gel and the honeycomb chunks. Avocado and chocolate might seem like an odd mix, but it isn’t too rich and after eating the chocolate, the avocado seems to take on a subtle green apple flavour.IMG_5932.JPGIMG_5929.JPGSouffle Au Fruit De La Passion (passionfruit souffle). The souffle was served in half a passionfruit shell, which to me was super cute but meant it was rather small. The souffle came with torn pieces of a soft bready sponge, a beautiful coconut cream gelato and a white chocolate sphere. Inside the white chocolate sphere was a spicy passionfruit surprise that proved to be very addictive between the three of us and we poured it all over.IMG_5928.JPGIMG_5940.JPGWhat’s a French restaurant without some fromage, unfortunately we had to go but I would like to try it next time we are here.IMG_5900.JPGThe staff were attentive, lovely to listen to (what a lovely accent) but from time to time it did get hard to decipher what they were saying, especially if they were speaking fast.

It is fair to say that we will be back to eat everything we couldn’t order from our first trip. It is a little on the expensive for small portions but maybe that’s why French Women Don’t Get Fat.

Venue: Les Bistronomes

Address36 Mort St Braddon, ACT

Phone: (02) 6248 8119 was written on the white board but I rang (02) 6298 1504 to make my reservation

Opening hours:

          Monday closed
          Tuesday – Friday lunch 12:00pm – 2:30pm dinner 6:00pm – 9:30pm (We left around 10:40pm after just having finished dessert and we weren’t the last to leave, so maybe you just have to be seated before 9:30pm?)
          Saturday brunch 9:00am – 2:30pm dinner 6:00pm – 9:30pm
          Sunday brunch 9:00am – 2:30pm

Les Bistronomes on Urbanspoon