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Soft centered chocolate fondant with liquorice gel, cocoa crumb, freeze dried mandarin and mandarin sorbet

Review: Les Bistronomes Winter Menu

Wendy Johnson

Chestnut soup with caramelised onions, dill cream and pickled chestnuts. A dish that takes you straight to heaven.

So where can you find this delish dish? Les Bistronomes in bustling Braddon.

Les Bistronomes is as French as French could be and very addicting. The food is exquisitely plated, the service serious but friendly and the ambience chilled, chic French bistro.

My struggle, when I’m at Les Bistronomes, is deciding what to eat and then coping with the tears when presented with perfection on a plate. It’s not what’s plated that makes me weep. It’s the guilt over destroying such beauty with a knife and fork. But I do dig in, and I love every moment.

Chestnut Soup with caramelised onions, dill cream and pickled chestnuts

Chestnut Soup with caramelised onions, dill cream and pickled chestnuts

The winter menu is up and running at Les Bistronomes, with Chef Clement Chauvin celebrating French classics in so many ways. Like the chestnut soup, and a bouillabaisse that has wonderful depth of flavour and colour (Clement says he would be lynched if he took it off the menu).

We started our latest lunch at Les Bistronomes (emphasis on latest since this bistro ensures you go back more than once – in our case, many more times than once) with the velvety, smooth chestnut soup and agreed it would be worth paying big bucks to get the recipe.

Mind you, it’s not just the quality of ingredients that makes the meals at Les Bistronomes so special, it’s the amazing talent of the staff in the kitchen, starting with Clement who has worked internationally including at two-Michelin star restaurants and at Gordon Ramsey’s ‘Claridges’ in London. It would be fun trying to recreate the soup, however.

Veal tartare with egg yolk gel, fresh mushroom and parsley tuile

Veal tartare with egg yolk gel, fresh mushroom and parsley tuile

Next up were snails swimming in butter and house-made pork rillettes on croutons, served delicately on a wooden platter. A sensational second course. The snails were succulent and rillettes super soft and oh-so-decadent. We wanted more but were conscious we had several courses to go. We were at Les Bistronomes on a Saturday for lunch and had opted for the five-course, chef’s degustation, which is only $50 and incredible value for money (booking recommended).

The foi grass mousse couldn’t be faulted and neither could the braised lamb neck, grilled lamb tenderloin, brussll sprouts and swede purée. The pièce de résistance was the generous crème caramel, which made its grand entrance en flame. Another dessert that is true art on a plate is the soft-centred chocolate fondant with liquorice gel, cocoa crumb, freeze dried mandarin and mandarin sorbet.

House made pork rillette on croutons and parley butter snails

House made pork rillette on croutons and parley butter snails

On other visits, I’ve indulged in the à la carte menu, including the special ash crusted duck à l’orange, which is well worth the 25 minutes it takes to create. The presentation at the table is dramatic and the tender duck marries soooo well with the red cabbage, orange and pine nuts. This is from the ‘mains to share for two people’ part of the menu. If you’re worried about the timing you can also pre-order.

Les Bistronomes has a great specials board to keep their long list of regulars happy. Even without it, I would be happy since there are so many dishes on the main menu, including the veal tartare with egg yolk gel, fresh mushroom and parsley tuile, which I wouldn’t hesitate to indulge in on any visit.

House_made_Pork_Rillette_on_croutons_and_Parsly_butter_Snails

The wines at Les Bistronomes are pretty special, having been selected by the charming Abel Bariller, who is a professional French Master Sommelier and a ‘Knight of Cognac’ (I’m not making the ‘Knight’ bit up). He’s super knowledgeable and always happy to recommend that perfect match of vin with whatever dish you order.

The staff at Les Bistronomes have also mastered the art of making you feel so darn comfortable. You sit in plush, fabric chairs surrounded by warm colours and a massive wine rack erected against the back wall that says ‘look at me’. In the warmer months you can also sit outside—this dining area gets plenty of sun.

Soft centered chocolate fondant with liquorice gel, cocoa crumb, freeze dried mandarin and mandarin sorbet

Soft centered chocolate fondant with liquorice gel, cocoa crumb, freeze dried mandarin and mandarin sorbet

The restaurant offers a range of gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian dishes and the kitchen is accommodating on many levels.

the essentials

What: Les Bistronomes
Where: Corner Mort and Elouera Street.
When: Open lunch and dinner, Tuesday to Saturday.
Contact: 6248 8119 for reservations
Web: www.lesbistronomes.net

Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a few decades ago. She’s been living in Australia since 1995, having fallen in love with eucalypt trees and kangaroos. Wendy is passionate about Canberra and all the nation’s capital has to offer. She loves to write (about everything and anything) and owns her own pr and advertising business. More about the Author

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