An old, special friend of my recently returned to Brisbane from his Melbourne studies and we made plans to catch up. I'll call him Doc because he's studying Medicine although that'll soon be inaccurate because he's starting his career in something completely different. I find that really inspiring!
What's more relevant to this blog is that I got to choose where to eat (an honour that I never tire of). 1889 Enoteca came to mind but the online reviews were disheartening so I went a few doors down to Bistrot Bistro.
Bistrot Bistro serves French food and what I was hoping to experience was beautiful French food that wasn't served in tiny, tiny portions.
I made the reservation for 3 online (Mochi was to join too) and never got a confirmation call so I was anxious about whether or not the booking was actually there. It was. Phew.
The restaurant looks deceptively small but it's actually quite long and during our meal, we went exploring and discovered a function room downstairs. Intriguing.
It's rare for me to be eating out at a restaurant where everyone at the table gets 3 courses. Usually we skip entrees and share desserts. For this meal, we went all out guns blazing.
I started with a couple of drinks. The others left me looking like an alco by sticking to water themselves. It's lonely being the only person ordering drinks at the table :(. I didn't regret it one bit though haha.
My entree was the wagyu bone marrow. I ordered it because it's the type of thing I find interesting and Mochi even guessed that this is what I'd be ordering. I sort of wanted to undo my choice once the plate was brought out just because I ended up with a plate of long bones in front of me and I felt very unladylike. I tentatively asked the waiter 'how do I eat these' and the poor guy could understand my Aussie accent as much as I could understand his French accent and we ended up just smiling and nodding awkwardly.
I decided to scrape the marrow accross the baguette and balance a cornichon on top. That seemed to taste good. It was very... meaty in flavor but with a fatty, jelly-like texture. I didn't mind it but I imagine anyone who has a problem with strong meat flavors to be totally put off. I'm glad I tried this but it was more effort than actual outstanding taste.
Mochi had chosen the French onion soup. I think by ordering this, she instigated that we all get entrees. She said she wanted to try it because it's something she's always wanted to make but never tasted. That might sound odd to some but I know exactly what she means. I often hear things that I like the sound of and want to produce but don't actually know if they're good or not. Mochi declared the soup was not what she expected. I tried some and thought it wasn't what I expected either. It was very 'strong', by which I partially mean very 'salty' but not entirely in a bad way. Very 'flavorsome' might be a better word but then I think I'm being too nice.
Doc's pick was the pea risotto. It was a lovely, mild green colour and I thought the risotto had a great texture and very delicate flavor. It would have been knocked out of the ring in a flavor match against the French onion soup. I'm amused by the description of 'white rabit' because I think it sounds more edible without the image of a fluffy bunny in your head.
I was tempted to get a steak as main because I've been craving steak these days, but ordering the bone marrow for entree made me think it would be a good idea to get something completely different. That for me was the bouillabaisse. I have no idea how that's supposed to be pronounced but I do know that I said it to the French waiter and he repeated it back to me and it sounded like another word.
The soup was beautiful. This might sound crazy but I ordered it expecting it to be a disappointment. I suppose that's happened to me before with seafood stews. This one had a great balance of light tomato flavor, saffron and herbs. The seafood was fresh and fabulous. Our waiter told me it was all locally sourced too. I was very happy with this soup.
Mochi ordered the choucroute garnie. Even after watching her eat it and tasting some myself, I still didn't know what it was. I just Googled those terms and now know it's French for 'dressed sauerkraut'. Ah... so that's what we were eating. It was a cabbagey thing with sausages and bacon on top. I tried a bit of sausage. Nothing special to me. Not my kinda dish.
Doc's main was the slow-braised wagyu. I am a bit dubious about wagyu being slow-cooked. I don't imagine how it can be a good way to showcase the meat. Kinda like wagyu burgers (which is something I don't see the point of but would order anyway). I tried a bit and yes, it was soft and buttery but my idea of wagyu is a chunk of meat, sizzly and simple. The potato crisps looked cool though.
By now, you'd expect us to be full and rolling around the floor. I kinda was but dessert's dessert and if you're me or Mochi, the rule is that dessert is unskipable.
I have always wanted to get tarte tatin from a restaurant. There's something about it... a bit like 'French onion soup', I guess. It sounds so rediculously simple but everyone harps on about it so you think 'this HAS to be good'. It came with a ball of ice-cream. The ice-cream was like... cream-flavored. If that sounds strange to you, imagine the white part of a Weis bar and transmit that into scooped ice-cream form. Yummy. The tart itself was nice and sticky but a bit too sweet for me. I would have liked the pastry to be crunchier too.
Mochi went with the petit fours. I have never ever ordered petit fours ever. I didn't even know what that meant but assumed it was like... small chocolate pieces or something.
What came out was a platter of tiny desserts. Awesome! The selection included a lemon macaron, chocolate truffle, date and nut slice (that looked like a brownie but disappointed everyone when it tasted fruity) ,meringue and something that I can't remember. I tried a bit here and there. The chocolate truffle was delish. I'm definitely going to ask about the petit fours when I see it mentioned on menus now.
Doc did well to prove Mochi's theory that women like to end on a sweet note and men like to end on a savory note. He chose some goats cheese. It came with a big basket of bread and we queried whether that much bread was necessary. After tasting the cheese and ascertaining its strength, he came to the conclusion that the bread:cheese ratio was bang on. I had a taste and decided it was the goat version of blue cheese. It packed a punch!
I liked Bistrot Bistro heaps. There's just a good feel to the restaurant. It's nice, slightly-fancy food but none of the pretenciousness of actual fine dining. The decor was nice and our waitstaff were friendly and knowledgable. At one point, Doc and I were rudely munching away at our third courses without realizing Mochi hadn't gotten hers and a waiter came and asked "Where's yours? I'll go chase them up". Such responsible service is beyond what I've ever experienced! Way impressed.