Archive for the ‘French’ Category

Steak w Cafe de Paris Sauce - Chez Boubier collage

Chez Boubier, Café de Paris has opened its first branch in London on Brompton Road in South Kensington. The restaurant serves the single menu (£26.50) of salad, bread and steak and fries with a Café de Paris butter sauce that has seen its 90-year legacy thrive across Continental Europe since 1930. Its famous Café de Paris butter sauce can be found in several locations around the world with restaurants in Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Hong Kong and the UAE. 

Its signature trademark is not only the Café de Paris sauce but also the single menu that is promised to every diner at £26.50. The butter sauce was made famous by then owned Arthur-François (Freddy) Dumont of Café de Paris. The birthplace of the butter sauce is commonly mistaken for Paris, France. However, it was actually conceived in Geneva, Switzerland by Dumont’s father in law, Mr Boubier inventor of the original butter sauce. It is considered a heavily guarded secret recipe enhanced with multiple spices, herbs and other ingredients. It is so guarded even the staff don’t know the ingredients!

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Since publishing this post, Stokehouse have announced 11 March 2014, that they have pulled out of the Bennelong project and will not occupy the Sydney Opera House site

Guillaume at Bennelong sadly closed its doors to the public on the 31st December 2013, after making the controversial decision not to renew the tender with the Sydney Opera House. The announcement of this news was almost as heartbreaking as the thought that the venue would be turned into a bistro style restaurant and cafe. To the disappointment of onlookers, it was widely known that the Sydney Opera House insisted on creating a venue that was more accessible to the public. However, all is not lost. Guillaume Brahimi is currently renovating his new restaurant in Paddington, for a late April to early May opening. It will be named Guillaume, taking over the Darcy’s restaurant site and is said to be a more relaxed dining experience than its Bennelong self.

It will be interesting to see the Stokehouse by Bennelong, with the Van Haandel Group securing a 10 year lease. Opening day is set for May 2014, where the venue will see a two tier site with casual dining on the upper level and a more sophisticated two hat dining experience on the ground level.

I wanted to visit Guillaume at Bennelong one last time before it was all over. You can read about my first visit here. Today, we sat down to 4 courses for $150.

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My burger blitz continues at Rockwell and Sons. Rockwell and Sons is located on Smith st, Collingwood, about 500m from the very first Huxtaburger in Melbourne. It breathes an industrial small bar feel where Manu Potoi (ex-Attica), and Casey Wall (ex-Cutler and Co) take on a menu that is a cross between American dude food and French cuisine. The menu is organised into share plates, sandwiches and sides where you can get your paws on a generous serving of crispy duck confit wings ($12). Or perhaps you can have the chicken liver parfait ($14), or the smoked lamb ribs with Kentucky BBQ sauce. It isn’t American food without the obligatory fried chicken (in this case sandwich $12) and mac n cheese ($8), of course! Nothing is priced over $14, which is great when you consider the pedigree behind the counter.

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The Dining Room located inside the Park Hyatt is situated underneath one of Sydney’s most prime landmarks, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The restaurant itself is also perched right in front of the Sydney Opera House and offers up the most spectacular views of the harbour. The decor is as breath taking as the views, creating a warm, intimate and modern setting.  Since October 2013, the menu has been headed up by newly appointed Head Chef Franck Detrait and  undoubtedly showcases the hallmarks of his culinary experience back in France. Including his notable stint at one michelin star Vendôme in Paris. Mains are roughly at the $40 mark, making the $95 for a tasting menu exceptional value for 6 courses. This includes three entrees, two mains and one dessert from the menu.

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The Bather’s Pavilion is separated into a restaurant and cafe, owned and operated by Serge Dansereau. There is also a kiosk to cater to those passing on by looking for a quick bite. (The kiosk is also very good). You can’t book at the cafe. Simply turn up and grab a seat.

The cafe does a great breakfast and an even better lunch. I would know, I am permanently stationed there for breakfast. The best pancakes in the world are being served right here. Fluffy and thick. Baked chorizo eggs and eggs benedict are bang on the money too. The venue also promises stunning views of Balmoral Beach. So gorgeous, you’ll be swept away and misplace yourself at a beach holiday resort. Amen.

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Brought to you by a husband and wife team, Devon Cafe is lead by a formidable ex-legion of Guillaume chefs right at the helm. Stirring double the trouble, Devon has two ex-Guillaume chefs. One from Guillaume at Bennelong and the other from Bistro Guillaume, Melbourne.

Meeting with Derek (husband) & Noni (wife), you quickly begin to understand their passion and love behind their food. They intend to push if not, merge the boundaries between fine dining and casual cafe culture, turning their food-baby-love-child (Devon) into something really special. food collage - thin border fpn

collage - thin border fpn

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Guillaume Brahimi has announced on the 2 July 2013 that Guillaume at Bennelong will be shutting its doors by the end of 2013. Read here for further details

Guillaume Brahimi has had a formidable career to date. Born in Paris, his star was on the rise taking on various roles at three michelin restaurants.

Moving to Australia, Guillaume earns a record breaking two chef hats within 6 months of opening his restaurant Pond. He is later invited to turn around Bilson’s at Circular Quay (now Quay) with no chef hats and 11/20 rating, remarkably taking Bilson’s to receive the coveted three chef hats.

In 2001, Guillaume is awarded the highly sought after contract to take over the restaurant at the Sydney Opera House. Within a year of its debut, it is recognised as one of the top 50 new restaurants in the world. The restaurant has a long list of accolades under its belt. Awarded year in and year out, it reaches the pinnacle (three chef hats) and today sits as a two chef hat restaurant with a 17/20 rating.

With his culinary prowess set against the backdrop of the most breathtaking views of our iconic foreshore. It is hard to believe that Guillaume at Bennelong is not on anyone’s hit list. This may be more the case than ever before, now that the space for the restaurant is up for tender with rumours that it may transform it into a cheap eats venue.

That said,  I was able to pay Guillaume a visit for my birthday before any major overhaul thanks to my sister – agirlhastoeat.

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About a year ago, my sister and I were invited to sample the menu at Apsleys at the Lansborough Hotel in Hyde Park Corner, London.

This would be the most overwhelming, heart stopping and mind blowing experience of my life and is also known to house Michelle Obama’s favourite dish –  Carbonara Fagottelli. Where a pillow of pasta quizzically encapsulates a carbonara filling. You place it in your mouth, push your tongue to the roof of your mouth and let the fluid centre combust. It is unforgettable. (See post here).

Executive and Sous Chef Massimiliano Blasone and Marco Calenzo are responsible for this dish and have since moved on from Apsleys and now head up Cassis Bistro in South Kensington, rubbing a michelin star quality to the restaurant menu.

To celebrate their new venture, we were invited back as guests to sample a specially created tasting menu across their al la carte range.

brioche

We began with a foie gras terrine marinated in provencale wine served with a toasty and buttery brioche. The foie gras is almost as thick as the brioche, so I just slithered a little foie gras and ate the rest on its own LOL, I wanted it all to myself!

The addition of slow cooked peach and “terra”, a cocoa butter crumble were interesting condiments but I was more than happy with foie gras alone.

caramalised foie gras

This fresh piece of foie gras was absolutely mouth watering. Prepared like a creme brulee and blasted with a sugary coating before service. It paired wonderfully with the rhubarb marmalade cutting straight through the fat and lifted the foie gras with a wonderful sweet intensity.

sea bass tartare

The sea bass tartare with sesame wafer was absolutely delicious. The tartare was sliced and diced to teeny tiny perfection and immaculately coated with a gorgeous cream sauce all nursed in between two crumbly thin wafer slices.

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La Porte De Indes is not like your typical Indian restaurants. It’s Indian with a twist and it showcases food from the Pondicherry region, a former French colony. So you can imagine how this place piqued my interest at the promise of an overlap between French and Indian cuisine.

First up, I couldn’t resist the temptation of tandoori seared foie gras. The wondrous slab of foie gras came accompanied with naan bread, fig and ginger chutney. This was beautifully rich and was perfectly juxtaposed with the sweetness of the chutney.

foie gras

Foie Gras – £13.00: Tandoori seared, served on a crisp honey naan bread with a fig and ginger chutney.

The scallops were fresh, juicy and plum and were left in a pool of garlic and saffron sauce which I found very buttery and creamy.

scallops

Demoiselles de Pondichéry – £12.00: Large juicy grilled king scallops with a hint of garlic in a mild saffron sauce.

One thing that La Portes De Indes is famous for, is for their tandoori grill. The lamb chops were marinated in yoghurt, brown onions and garam marsala and served with a delicious mint chutney. These are so delicious it’s best to just unleash your animal instincts and gnaw them until they are bone dry.

lamb chops

Barra Lamb Chops – £19.00: lamb marinated with browned onions, yoghurt and garam masala; char grilled to perfection, served with mint chutney.

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From the moment you step in, Felix Bistro immediately seduces you with its come hither charms of a French eatery. Every last detail maintains the integrity of your typical French Brassiere. You have your booths, your people watching outdoor tabletops to your tuxedo-esque uniforms adorned by the lovely wait staff. The menu also holds true to its origins showcasing your honest French fare where you can expect traditional favourites like steak tartare, souffle, steak frites & duck confit. And if you’re lucky enough and a sucker for an accent as we all are in the English speaking world. A French waiter will grace you with their presence and announce the menu with perfectly rounded vowels enunciating and rolling their syllables in all the right places. Oh j’adore j’adore!

Complimentary Bread

Complimentary bread

Oysters with condiments $3.50 each

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