Location: Subiaco, Hay St
After publishing the media release on Alliance française de Perth Presents Talk By Chef Alain Fabrègues it got me thinking about a visit to Alain Fabrègues’ Bistro des Artistes so I made a visit there on a lovely warm Saturday afternoon. Alain Fabrègues is an accomplished French chef known for The Loose Box, a successful restaurant that ran for several years since opening in 1979, among his many achievements. I’m very partial to French food so I was more than happy to enjoy my lunch here.
Bistro des Artistes offer a special of $45 for 2 courses or $50 for 3, or, you can get the $35 plat du jour, or go a la carte. I was quite happy to start off with two courses and hopefully have room for dessert. I had to cast an eye over at the blackboard which had the desserts for the day. Based on the choices available, a third course was most definitely on the cards. After placing my order, I sat by the window watching the activity on the street and admiring the inside of the restaurant which takes me back to my time in Paris. One side of the restaurant is lined with mirrored squares which gives the impression you’re in a much larger restaurant, not that the actual restaurant is small by any means. With friendly French staff on hand, the experience feels very authentic.
As is custom in Paris, a basket of bread was presented. Though, a dish of local olive oil also accompanied the bread. I was really hoping for some creamy French butter but it wasn’t to be. The olive oil has a very distinctive flavour and is enjoyed with the soft warm bread. I had to hold back so as not to fill myself up, though the bread is tasty and I would like to indulge.
Our Charcuteries board $20
Traditional entrée of classic Charcuteries served with cornichons and pickles
I’ve always eyed the charcuterie option but have never chosen it until now. There were pickled vegetables, salami, rillette, shaved Serano ham, and chicken pate with more bread. I really liked the chicken pate which doesn’t carry too strong a liver flavour. The pate is mild and can be eaten on it’s own or with some bread. The pickled veggies help cleanse the palette before embarking on the next item. I’ve eaten rillettes before and the chicken rillette carries a very concentrated chicken flavour which is so delicious! The salami also has a strong meaty concentrated flavour. This was more so with the thinly shaved Serano ham. While thin, each slice feels like you’re eating a big chunk of meat. It’s meaty but isn’t intense. Eating more bread and dipping it in the olive oil makes this entree one to savour.
Loose Box Beef Cheek 1991 (GF) $35
A Classic from the loose box restaurant, slow cooked 12 hours, served with a deep red wine sauce
Within a short space of time after the table was cleared, my main was served pipping hot. This dish is the famed item from Loose Box menu dating back to 1991. The knife just cuts like butter into the super tender fall apart beef cheek. It has a lovely subtle flavour of the red wine. However, like the sauce, it had a slight sourness which I think detracts from the flavour of the beef cheek. The beef cheek is also underseasoned so I asked for some salt which made a considerable difference without compromising the flavour of the dish. The mash potato is smooth and tasty and there’s a carrot for more earthiness. A lovely dish though it was a bit underwhelming.
Vanilla Raspberry Creme Brûlée $15
I’m pretty full but why pass up the opportunity for dessert? Besides it’s only $5 more at this stage of the meal. Which one to choose? There’s some good choices on the wall but I go with a classic, vanilla raspberry creme brulee. I’ve eaten several creme brûlées but have not seen one with raspberry before. The raspberry has been added for tartness to cut through the richness. However, I think it spoils the dish. Only towards the end do you get the true creamy vanilla custard flavour, though it is very rich and became a struggle to finish. Though the custard was really delicious, just the way a creme brûlée should be. Oh, and there’s the fun art of taking the spoon to crack the top of the brûlée!
Bistro des Artistes Food Review Summary
Verdict: Alain Fabrègues’ Bistro des Artistes brings a slice of Paris right to the heart of Subiaco. The experience feels authentic from the internal setting to the French staff on hand. The menu offers a good range of dishes but the set menu specials of 2 courses for $45 or 3 for $50 represent excellent value. I decided to try the charcuteries board for the first time which presents a lovely array of little items. I particularly liked the chicken liver pate and the chicken rilletes enjoyed with bread and olive oil. For mains, I chose the Loose Box Beef Cheek which just cuts like butter. The super tender beef cheek takes on the subtle flavour of the red wine though it carries a slight sourness which detracts from the dish. It’s also under-seasoned but fixed with a dash of salt, the smooth mashed potatoes and carrot add further earthiness to the dish but it’s a little underwhelming, though makes a typical winter warmer. For dessert, I chose the creme brûlée though this version also had raspberry. I thought this element spoiled the rich creamy custard as the tartness took over but effectively cut through the richness. When the raspberries disappeared, you could savour the rich creamy vanilla flecked custard, however, it was very rich but really delicious.
Bistro des Artistes Restaurant Details
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