As I walked in, I was pleased to notice a small shelf of books, including Thomas Keller's Bouchon (ah the waffles, the waffles I cry) and the Larousse Gastronomique. These sort of texts bode well for a restaurant I think to myself...
The first thing I placed in my mouth was a Sydney Rock Oyster ($3.90) from Merimbula which won my heart by tasting as if it had been alive momentarily before arriving at my table. My entree choice was the foie gras - yes, since becoming a dining reviewer, I have become obsessed with this particular ingredient - it is the bomb. The caramelised Alsatian Foie Gras ($28) on brioche with spiced fruit compote felt like a taste of Christmas. It was set off beautifully by a 2007 Katz Pinot Gris ($53) from the same region.
The success of this restaurant has led to wine pricing discounts through increased purchasing volume, and it’s pleasing to see that Philipe has elected to pass these savings on to his loyal customers. If you look at the wine list, some of the mainstays have actually become less expensive, even with this worldwide fiscal crisis going on.
A beautifully plated Poitrine de Porc ($18) gave a summery twist to a nice, crisp piece of Kurobuta pork belly. Even with my mentioned obsession with foie gras, this dish was almost a dead heat with it, served as it was with yabbies, pine-nuts, muscatels, and a cider emulsion. I would rate it as the best pork belly dish I have has since the milk braised one at Deep Blue Bistro back HERE.
Choucroutie Garnie ($29) showed off the chef’s talent with a superb house-made boudin noir, and a tasty smoked pork and garlic sausage. This was my choice, and it is not from my usual repertoire of favourites (much more the kind of thing my dining companion likes) but as I was drinking the wine of Alsace I was keen to order a dish from Alsace. It really was a match made in heaven. The wine cut against the potential of the dish to be heavy and the fattiness of the pork, making it summery, yet meaty, and very much to my taste.
The Milk-fed Veal Breast ($28) shone most for the incredible mix of wild forest mushrooms. The baby cow was good despite me not ever wanting to eat it again after seeing a documentary long ago of poor baby cows kept in the dark to keep their meat pale on the plate. I am so weak when it comes to good food...
Many a good restaurant has fallen down with a Tarte au Citron ($13) but this one did not disappoint. Philipe noticed me ordering it, and commented that lemon tarts are usually poorly done. However he must have said his 'Touche' with supreme confidence, as this was really a superb exemplar of the dish.
If you fancy a final tipple, try one of the new 'Trous' - a martini glass of Trou Normand ($12) hits hard with Calvados, but kisses away the pain with a green apple sorbet. There were other types available, including one with a pear sorbet that I'd like to go back again and try. In fact I left so much of the new summer menu unexplored, I think I may be ready to plan another visit already. Any takers?
118-126 Crown Street, Darlinghurst
Ph: (02) 9358 1222