Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The French Brasserie

Open now for 11 weeks at the site formerly occupied by the Italian this refurbished long narrow room with an outside dining area and a mezzanine has gone so far from Italian that there are no pasta dishes on the menu
When we arrived, punctually at 8.00 pm our waiter asked, with a twinkle in his eye, if we had a reservation. At the time there were no other diners but soon after a few more tables filled.
The place is comfortable, the tables, mostly square now, are a good size, the linen is covered with white paper stamped on a corner with 'The French Brasserie' for those who might forget where they are.
Food: There have been some flattering reviews from Bob Hart and Stephen Downes for this new French Bistro so I found the menu surprising - no duck a la orange, indeed no duck at all. No cassoulet, no coq a vin indeed no chicken of any sort. Not a very French menu at all.
Never mind they had snails and French onion soup so we ordered them.

Sadly the snails, served in the shells, were very small, dry and lacked the usual slightly chewy texture and could not be saved by the garlic butter sauce. The soup had a slightly burned taste and was over sweet, possibly because the onions were over caramelised.
From here on things got better, much better.
The mains come with pomme frits and green salad.
The rib eye was a substantial piece of steak, tender and succulent, cooked as requested a really good piece of meat,
and served with a choice of mustards
Even better was the rack of lamb. Three very large, very tender, very juicy pairs of chops sat on a lightly herb spiced coarse mash potato. I have never eaten a better rack.

A dessert of apple tart with poire William ice cream was another surprise it was so very good. The pastry perfect, and cooked through, the apple filling excellent.
We drank wine by the glass. A Cote de Rhone vin blanc and an Australian Shiraz at very reasonable prices.
The last major surprise came with the bill.
I looked twice when I saw the large bottom line. The touch screen on their computer was a bit sensitive and put us down for several more dishes than we ate!!
Corrected with apologies and some humour, I hope the waiter is not really now unemployed, he was delightful in every other way.
Price We ended up paying $150 for two and did enoy the night
Comments: They promise more cassical french dishes and I'll be happy to try them again
Score: 14/20


Thermomixer said...

Sounds good in general. Shame about the snails & soup. There must have been some onion burnt in the soup. I was going to post a comment last week but heard Alla Wolf-Tasker at the weekend confirm that any burnt onion taints the whole dish.

I have caramelised onions for over 2 hours at a class with Janni Kyritsis for his tripe lyonnaise. At the right temperature it is hard to over-caramelise, but it is easy to burn them.

Anonymous said...

I cook a lot with onions and find that, as I fry them nothing much happens for quite a while and then, rather quickly, they become golden brown and caramelise. From this point to burnt is but a moment or two if the heat is too high.