Location: New Zealand, Christchurch
I had started to build up an appetite in time for my booking at St Germain at the Heartland Hotel Cotswold. It’s located about 1.5 – 2 kms outside of the city centre. I would gladly have walked if not for the constant threat of rain and cold wind.
Once I arrived, you enter a small lobby before following the signs to the restaurant. There’s a lounge area with a bar tucked around the side with curtains dividing the lounge from the main dining area. As I was early and not going to be taking a seat at the bar, I headed straight in and looked through the menu. So much to choose from, I wanted several dishes. In the end, I chose the The French Way which is like a degustation of several dishes on the menu for NZ$100. They can also be paired with matching wines for an extra $50. There are surprise degustation’s with 5 and 8 course options available, plus the al a carte.
As in Paris, some lovely French bread and herbed butter was provided. After a few slices I had to restrain myself from eating too much of the delicious aromatic bread.
Traditional French Onion Soup
A lovely tasty soup with lots of onion and gooey melted cheese upon the crisp bread which had now gone soggy in the soup. Delicious and a great start to the meal.
Escargots, Gratinated with Bleu d’Auvergne
4 escargot served in a rich blue cheese, garlic and herbed sauce with more bread. Slightly chewy I enjoyed the escargot in the blue cheese sauce with bread to mop up the sauce ensuring it doesn’t go to waste.
Brioche Perdue & Foie Gras
This dish was very clever and completely unexpected. The foie gras being rich was paired with sweet ingredients to create a ‘savoury’ apple crumble. With a crunchy brioche as the base acting as the crumble, a stewed apple mixture as the filling, the foie gras acted like whipped cream. Delicious but the other ingredients overshadowed the foie gras which was a little disappointing but I loved the dish and the creativity behind it.
A pear sorbet with a dash of whisky was then presented as a palette cleanser. While I don’t drink, the whisky forms a nice combination with the sorbet, which was a generous serve for a palette cleanser.
This is a dish I’ve cooked a few times but have not eaten at a restaurant until now. The most delicious duck leg served with sausage, tender pork belly, white bean (which could have been cooked a bit more) and a couple of cherry tomatoes that go really well with the beans. And all that immersed in a fantastic sauce. A very hearty meal full of flavour and so delicious. The highlight of the meal.
A selection of 4 cheeses served with a salad and raisin bread. Two of the cheeses I’ve had before – brie and blue cheese. The other two I hadn’t. One had the creaminess of brie but also the taste of blue cheese in the rind. Interesting. I love cheese and this was a nice selection which goes well with the salad and surprisingly, the toasted raisin bread.
I was wondering whether they would prepare the sauce in front of me – that grand display where the grand marnier is added to the pan and a flash of fire emerges as the alcohol cooks off before the crepes are immersed into the sauce. No theatre but two lovely silken crepes in a delicious orange & grand marnier syrup and a quenelle of Chantilly cream. What can I say? Yum. Lovely end to the meal and I like the dishes chosen to represent the special degustation representing a taste of France.
St Germain Food Review Summary
Verdict: St Germain offers up some delicious dishes on their menu. With so much to choose from, I selected The French Way – a degustation of dishes on the menu in smaller servings. This is also an excellent way to be introduced to some typical and famous French dishes. I love the French bread and the French onion soup to start off with was delicious and heart-warming. The escargot in a lovely blue cheese sauce was also excellent and then there was the cleverly put together foie gras. A recreation of a savoury apple crumble, the brioche base formed the crumb, a soft and flavoursome apple filling the apple component, and then the foie gras’s rich and creamy characteristics were used like whipped cream. A lovely pear sorbet with a dash of whisky followed to cleanse the palette before the main of cassoulet was served. The duck was just fantastic with the sauce even better. The highlight of the meal, I loved this dish. I love cheese so a selection of 4 French cheeses with salad and toasted raisin bread were an excellent pairing to enjoy. Lastly, if the experience couldn’t pack in any more food, 2 silken crepes immersed in an orange and grand marnier syrup were thoroughly enjoyed with Chantilly cream. An excellent representation of French cuisine. Superb.
Recommendation: Highly Recommend
St Germain Restaurant Details
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