Location: Wembley, Cambridge St
Another one of those Dimmi deals offering 50% off the food bill hit my inbox. The offer was for Bouchon Bistro which I’ve heard of but have yet to visit so decided to jump on the offer and head there today. Previous visits to French restaurants haven’t yielded any success apart from the desserts. I hoped Bouchon Bistro offered something different.
Battling horrendous weather and gridlocked traffic, I thought my friend and I would be awfully late but we managed to get there just on time. The restaurant is situated on Cambridge Street in Wembley just across the road from IGA. When we got there, we wondered if the restaurant was open as it was empty but we were probably just the first to arrive. We were greeted by a slightly shyish French lady who gave us the pick of the house for whichever table we wanted. She took us through the specials on offer for entree and dessert and offered us drinks. We decided on the set menu and chose the following dishes:
- Entree – Linley Valley pork terrine, parsley and mustard “cake”, remoulade sauce
- Main – Panfried spatchcock breast, twice cooked leg, red cabbage, Parmesan and Sake
- Dessert – Strawberry mousse, Kouign Amann, strawberry and pepper compote, strawberry ice cream
- Entree – Pumpkin veloute with scallops and mussels
- Main – Braised beef cheek in lemongrass and Espelette pepper, white bean ragout
To kick things off though, we were brought a complementary basket of French bread with butter which was just delicious. We were then served by a French gentleman, a pre-dinner starter which was unexpected . The dish consisted of beef neck served with pitted prunes and a coffee sauce. While a knife was not provided, placing the fork in to the meat cut through the oh so tender beef it was ridiculous! The beef was so tender it didn’t stick to the fork tines and one had to scoop up the meat instead. Very tasty little starter which I hoped was a sign of things to come.
Next up were the entrees. I was keen on trying something typically French and there are several items on the menu which ring true. From various cooking shows I’ve seen how a terrine is made but have yet to taste or make one for that matter. So I opted for the pork terrine which, no disrespect to the restaurant, looks like, umm, something out of a cat food tin! Ok, that might seem harsh but that’s what it looks like. The pork terrine is served cold and has that gelatinous glaze over the top. The meaty chunks of pork are compressed in this dish and are tender. I’m not sure how to describe the taste as it doesn’t scream flavour but masks all the various ingredients rather subtly. The remoulade sauce which is a French style condiment akin to mayonnaise, was served with pickles which provides a slight tart flavour to the meaty pork. The parsley and mustard “cake” is an interesting accompaniment to the meal. It looks like biscotti but is not crunchy and tastes a bit like a cheese scone. It’s very soft and has a lovely cheesy flavour and was delicious. After eating a terrine for the first time, I can’t say I would want to order it again but it’s great to try new things.
My friend ordered one of the specials which was a pumpkin veloute (a clear soup) with scallops and mussels. On a cold winter’s day, this hot soup was just what the doctor ordered. He liked it very much and to the surprise of both of us, he was asked if he wanted another bowl! I can’t say I’ve ever seen that happen before.
After our plates were cleared, the mains were presented after a reasonable wait. The dishes throughout the night and the pace of the night, were perfect. I didn’t feel rushed nor were we left waiting a long time for any meal. My mains of spatchcock looked really appetising. The serve was a bit smaller than what I expected but there turned out to be a fair amount of flesh on both pieces of chicken. The chicken was very tender, moist and juicy. The tasty chicken was also accompanied by a sweetish pickled red cabbage which balanced the slight richness of the sauce and chicken of the meal. I also loved the cubes of fried polenta. My friend had the beef cheek which was tender and contained great flavours.
We also decided to share a side of Gratin Daupinois (potato gratin) which is comprised of thinly sliced potatoes, layered, and filled with a cream sauce and then baked. The meal was tasty with perfectly cooked potatoes and a lovely creaminess to the sauce, however, it didn’t quite hit the mark compared to the same dish I had at a Singaporean French Bistro, L’Angelus.
For dessert we both opted for the special which was a delicious, smooth strawberry mousse served with an equally delicious and refreshing strawberry ice cream. Atop the strawberry mousse sat the strawberry and pepper compote. I didn’t detect any pepper but the strawberry compote was soft and tender, stewed perfectly. The touille added a nice crispness in texture and the Kouign Amann is a specialty of the south west region of France. It’s like a puff pastry biscuit which was served straight out of the oven and freshly warmed. It’s kind of like a biscuit but the pastry is wrapped in on itself to form a snail. We found the slightly sweet and butter pastry to bit chewy though. I’m not sure what to make of it though I loved the rest of the dessert components which was a lovely end to our meal.
Bouchon Bistro Food Review Summary
Verdict: Bouchon Bistro would have to be the best French restaurant in Perth my friend and I have visited thus far. We found the dishes to be solid without being spectacular and held their own in terms of flavour. Unlike other French restaurants we’ve visited, the dessert hasn’t been the only highlight. I loved the pre-starter beef neck which was ultra tender, the pork terrine was a first time experience but I loved the parsley and mustard “cake”, the tender juicy moist spatchcock breast was delicious, the potato gratin was also tasty, and that delicious array of desserts on one plate to finish to the meal was superb. Having said that, the French bistro L’Angelus in Singapore I’ve visited on both trips there blow Bouchon Bistro out of the water. There is quite a difference to what I ate their and at Bouchon. In terms of price, Bouchon is very pricey and only due to the Dimmi 50% off the food bill did it make the dinner a bargain. L’Angelus would have charged similar prices when converted into Aussie dollars but quality wise, was worth every cent.
Bouchon Bistro Restaurant Details
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