Address: Shop B, G/F, 1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town, Western District
Telephone: 3695 3389
Nestled amongst the bars on the up-and-coming Davis Street in Kennedy town, Bistronomique is an intimate French restaurant opened by David Lai, the guy who brought us the much-lauded On Lot 10 on Gough Street.
Opened in early 2011, Bistronomique is a small but fine establishment, with tall ceilings and cream tones completing a cosy, classy set-up.
(1) What happens at most dinners is that we arrive at the restaurant starving, and then we stuff ourselves with bread in the bread basket as soon as it is laid in front of us. However, that ritual didn’t take place at our dinner at Bistronomique as the baguette was stone-cold and on the dry side.
(2) Fortunately, our impression of the restaurant improved as soon as the Lentil salad with pigsear and bacon ($78) was served. Pigsear sounds creepy, but it really was very chewy and tasty, and the seasoning for this dish was marvellous. The pigsear matched very well with the lentils and bacon, forming a nice symphony of textures.
(3) The Classic steak tartare ($98) was another pleasing dish. The beef was fresh and sensuous, while a tangy, slightly spicy sauce gave it just that extra edge. We wished, though, that we had something slightly more wholesome on the side other than potato chips (from a packet)!
(4) The Herb-crusted bone marrow ($98) was an unmissable dish at Bistronomique. It is easy for restaurants to mishandle bone marrow, unintentionally turning it into a tasteless blob of fat, but the dish that we had was an umami-rich wonder. Underneath a thin layer of aromatic herb-crust was a soft, liquid dollop of bone marrow; the fresh and grassy taste of the herbs perfectly accentuated the bone marrow’s deliciousness.
(5) The Beef cheek “Bourguignon” ($228) was simple and satisfying, with soft and supple beef cheek cooked in a mellow, delightful dressing; however, we wished the flavours of this dish were just a tad stronger.
(6) I heard lobsters calling me that day, and I had no regrets ordering the Lobster penne, tomato confit & basil ($298), which tasted magnificent. The irresistible smell of lobsters wafted through the air as the dish was brought to our table, and the startlingly fresh taste of lobster and the gorgeously springy, al dente pasta made for a heavenly dish. Only a bit of shaved parmasan was added, which meant that it was rather light and not overly filling, and a simple touch of basil completed the dish.
(7) That awkward moment, when I have to admit to devouring cute little bunnies. Yes, we did order the Braised rabbit “a la moutarde” ($228), and yes it did taste just like chicken. The meat was soft, light and lean, and the dressing was very agreeable, but some parts of the meat were a bit too dry.
(8) The Australian Rack of lamb ($248) was minimalistically dressed, yet was one of the best dishes of the night. The lamb was tender and juicy, and was cooked to perfection for just the right amount of time.
(9) We ordered some Sauteed spinach ($45) on the side – while it tasted good, we failed to see how it had been sautéed, as it was not browned and tasted like Chinese stir-fried veggies.
(10) As full as we were, we ended our meal with the obligatory dessert – the Earl Grey Crème Brûlée, financiers ($55), which was recommended to us by our friends. The crème brûlée was creamy and fluffy, but the Earl Grey flavour was uneven (there was no taste of Earl Grey at the top, while the taste was too strong at the bottom) and it also tasted a bit faux – it seemed as though an essence was used in the dessert instead of real Earl Grey tea. Nonetheless, the financiers on the side were sticky, spongy and really good to eat and this was overall a great dessert.
Conclusion: Prices were very reasonable at this eatery and David Lai‘s insistence on the use of fresh, local produce was evident; however, cooking techniques would have to be refined in order to make Bistronomique a haunt that could rival the celebrated On Lot 10!