Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bergerac (Melbourne) 09/2010

Bergerac is a town on the edge of Bordeaux which might have been best known for truffles and goose pate if not for the adventures of its most famous citizen, Cyrano de Bergerac. He was distinguished by an exceptionally large nose, a romantic nature, which created many adventures and outstanding swordsmanship which saved him from a sort life. He is the subject of both books and a movie which has almost nothing to do with Restaurant Bergerac except that the owner comes from the same town. This is a convenient place for a bistro meal in town at 131 King St. The place is warm and friendly with a very French feel about it
encouraged by a background of 60's French music as well as the decor. We had a memorable meal there but not for the best reasons. From the start things were not quite right. A basket of sliced baguettes must have been lying around for a long time to become stale hard and dry. They were replaced with another lot barely any better. Two small slices of garlic and herb bread ($3)
seemed to be missing the garlic.The menu looked very appealing and was enlarged by a blackboard of specials.
We settled on two entrees- a crab ravioli in a spinner crab bisque
and a grilled king prawns on saffron risotto.($18) These both illustrated major culinary deficiencies. Whilst the crab was quite tasty the pastry was hard and the bisque was a dense sauce rather than a soup. The over grilled prawns were on top of a mushy rice which lacked the character of a good risotto. A sad start. For mains we tried the Duck in orange sauce (Confit de canard à l'Orange $28) on a bed of potato and parsnip. The thin slivers of Kiffler potato were over cooked as was the duck which was dry and the parsnip actually burnt! I'm astonished anyone would serve this.
The sauce was thick and seriously over reduced too. A 400 hundred gram rib eye proved to be the only really well prepared dish. It was served with plenty of Bernaise sauce, which was also nice on the accompanying side dish of chips. A bomb Alaska at an adjacent table looked to good to resist
and started off well but the excess alcohol started to burn the meringue before we managed to put it out. But for that it was pretty good. Service was patchy slow and not always well informed. This is a pleasant venue but it will take a substantial improvement in the kitchen to get up to ordinary for the food. They have no answering machine and I rang three or four times at different times before anyone answered the phone. I should not have tried so hard.
This might have been a very off night so I'm not giving a score.


Celeste @ Berrytravels said...

That's a bit disappointing to hear. I've driven past this place a fair few times and wondered if they were any good. The food looks alright, but service is ranks pretty high in my books. If they have patchy service, then I'm not stepping through those doors.

Would you go back and try again?

Vee said...

I'm with Celeste, I live relatively nearby and I've always wondered about this place as well. Too many good French restaurants in the city, I'm afraid, so this isn't going on my list of places to visit anytime soon...

Elliot said...

Hi Celeste and Vee,
There are too many other places to return to, or try for the first time, for us to consider another meal at Bergerac. Maybe we should include a 'returnability factor' in our scores. It would not feature there.

Anonymous said...

Elliott I'm looking for an Italian restaurant for a friend turning 50. He has been to quite a few of the popular ones and I was thinking small and special any ideas?

Elliot and Sandra said...

Hi Anon,
Small and special is a tall order for Italian. Perhaps Scusami at Southbank or Tuto Bene, specially for the risotto, Cafe Di Stasio for the food but it's always noisy, Balzari, generally highly regarded though we had an idifferent meal there. I particularly like Da Noi which is Sardinian. The better the food the more likely they are to be crowded.
Good luck. Let us know what you ultimately do and how you liked it.

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