My expectation of Bistro Ardoise had been raised with a few people telling me how great this place is. I am not a French fare connoisseur admittedly even though I was very impressed by Bistro Guillaume. The service really could be better – although it was due to our lengthy dinner that we were chased out for the next seating. So we missed dessert which could have changed my mind about this place. It isn’t really pregnant lady friendly either. I am pretty relaxed for a pregnant woman but there should be warning about the food that pregnant ladies would be concerned with.
As for the food, I don’t think there was anything I liked in particular about my meal. Jay didn’t either although Ben mentioned his coq au vin was the best he has ever had. I may be a poor reference point – most people do like this place very much. I did not ask around about what the rest thought of the food given its our first meeting so you’ll have to content with pictures!
It is very quaint.
We started off with some bread – which really was the highlight of my meal. It was really good bread and they served butter, olive oil and an olive tepenade on the side to go with. I wish I had more but I would have been too stuffed at the end of the meal.
Ben ordered the Salad Gormande: Wild Boar, Rabbit Farce, Boudin Noir, Celeriac, Manjimup truffle ($21). The boudin noir looks fairly interesting doesn’t it?
Thils had the Crevettes Sautees a L’ait et Persil sur Brandade de Legumes ($21). Thank god for the translation: Sauteed garlic prawns on vegetable brandade with parsley butter sauce.
I picked the Seafood Ravioles in Lobster-Tomato bisque ($19) which I was fairly happy about. The lobster bisque is tasty but it isn’t up to the standard of bisques I’ve been having recently. Its a lot more tomatoey and much less rich in lobster flavour. The ravioles were pretty disappointing – its skin so thick and contained unimpressive pieces of scallop and prawn. I must have made the wrong choice – I don’t know.
Jay picked a fairly popular dish - Escargot a Ma Facon ($19) which was translated as ‘snails cooked my way’. I’ve never had escargot this way before – it was pretty much like a pot pie with its potatoey-croutonish layer covering a creamy stew of baby escargots. It wasn’t bad. The escargot wasn’t overly chewy and anyone with a rich tooth would like this.
Andrew picked the best entree in my opinion – the Rillette De Tours: Pork Belly with Sauternes Jelly and toasted bread ($17). He was a little taken aback by the layer of jelly over the rillette but it was actually really tasty. The jelly was also a little offputting with its bright blue color but it added much in terms of flavour. It was a sweet jelly that lightened the overall feel of warm rillete on toast. They really know how to do their bread so this was good. I was offered the cornichons (French gherkins) because it was typical pregnant woman food. haha.
For mains, I had the baked salmon with manjimip black truffles and Brandade Parmentier, Tomato sauce ($39). The salmon was cooked pink which is what I normally like but this was cooked half a cm deep into the flesh of the salmon on each side so I would say the salmon was 95% raw. I tried googling if this was supposed to be the case in French cuisine but failed to find any reference. Can someone enlighten me? On the positive – the skin was nice and crisp. On the side was a pureed potato (Brandade Parmentier) with fish. It was actually pretty tasty and looked good with its piped puree tops made golden in the oven.
Jay went with the Tomato Farcie with mushroom and brown rice pilaf and honey parsnip salad ($32). This is really funny because I love stuffed tomatoes (greek style) but Jay hates it. and this was basically a little bit like it except vegetarian with bread crumbs over it. It was pretty underwhelming for the price. To be fair, mushrooms and rice go well together and it made for a nice warming meal. Other than that, I doubt we would have ordered this knowing how it was going to turn out.
Shini took Leanne’s cue to get the Tournedos Rossini ($45) which is a WA beef tenderloin, foie gras, mushroom duxelle, red wine jus served on mash potato. Leanne loved it and said it was beautiful. Shini mentioned it was really really rich which doesn’t surprise me. Foie gras has that effect.
As mentioned before, Ben said his Coq Au Vin on Mash, roast mushroom, smoked bacon, red wine sauce ($38) was one the best he’s ever had. I asked what made coq au vin perfect. He said the chicken was really tender and flavourful – the wine used was good and spiked the flavours in the meal while allowing the overall dish to remain mild (not overpowering). The potato mash helped in smoothing the dish out.
Al ordered the Braised beef cheek on mash, garlic green beans, braising jus ($36).
Finally, Andrew got himself the Casserole of the day ($40) which had a confit of lamb shoulder as well as duck, pork sausage, and black eyed beans. He was very happy with the moist tenderness of the lamb. The duck was melt in your mouth and the sauce was tomatoey and garlicky but slightly creamy. He said it was ‘spoon licking good’.