February 5th, 2008

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Ciel Rouge (CLOSED)


You know I must have walked past the entrance to this restaurant hundreds of times, as I strolled along Victoria Street. But I did it without even imagining the type of room the entranceway hides. Up a flight of stairs you enter a cosy, romantic space with burgundy fabric covered banquettes, twinkling tea-lights on the tables, and contemporary French lounge/pop on the stereo.



In fact I would even go as far to say, it might just be the perfect space for Valentine’s Day. I hear they're doing a special 7 course degustation menu ($85/person). Even though the space is quite stylish, I would call it an unpretentious restaurant. They have pleasantly modest ambitions which see a menu that leans toward French inspired Modern Australian dishes in summer, and more robust French favourites in winter.



That said, I started with a couple of French classics - the first Beef Fillet Tartare ($16) came garnished with a quail egg, eschalots, capers and croutons. Whilst the presentation wasn't quite the same as the Tuna Tartare from La Brasserie I thought this was a very accessible tartare due to it having an almost bolognaise type flavour from the addition of tomato puree. For my own taste, I prefer it without tomato.



Don’t miss the Chicken Liver Pate ($11.50) in the entrees. It might not look like much, but smeared on toast with red onion confit and cornichons, it was divine. It had a light and mousse-like texture.



I really enjoyed the Crumbed Veal Cutlet with Salad Vierge ($32.50) (the most expensive dish on the menu). It was a fresh tasting dish and the veal was perfectly cooked (they don't give you any choice as to how you might like it done for good reason). It was crumbed with the house made bread too (which I also liked, probably in part because they sprinkled it with salt).



You also shouldn't miss the Duck Confit with Duck Sausage ($28) in the mains. The sausage impressed with Orange Peel and a confit Kipfler Potato interior - yummy duck flavoured waxy potato goodness!



I was pleased to see grass fed beef (rather than grain fed) on the menu, and I liked the side of Green Beans ($7) even if I perhaps thought it was perhaps pricey compared to the rest of the menu.



We ended the night with a shared dessert - a Blueberry Rouge Souffle ($12.50). The height was great, the texture was great, it only lacked a little in the flavour stakes - but perhaps that is all the humble blueberry can deliver. Give me a raspberry's boldness any day!




Owner and sommelier Clive Delmenico makes good wine recommendations from a list where most bottles fall under $50. If you like a pre-dinner tipple, there’s a $14 cocktail list (that leans towards Martinis) which you can consume in an intimate back bar, before or after your meal.

Ciel Rouge
Level 1, 292-294 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9356 3255

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