When an ex-colleague who now lives on the North Coast came back to town a few days ago for a rejuvenating plunge in the Big Smoke, he decided to invite me and another colleague for a catch-up lunch at an ol’ favourite haunt of his: Tastevin in Darlinghurst.
We meet on a Thursday around 12:45pm and are greeted warmly by Alex Bourdon, the Owner and Chef of Tastevin. His beautiful wife and Tastevin’s co-owner Natasha is not here today as the couple have just become new parents and she is taking care of their little girl. The place is pretty quiet when we arrive (which is fine by me, as I am not a loud talker!). Tastevin is actually better known as a popular late night spot as they serve food until the wee hours of the morning (around 2am), which is a pity considering that the lunch prices are a steal, with entrees at $15 and mains at $20!
Alex runs us through the menu and I hesitate briefly between the special (Seared scallops in a cauliflower soup) and the Gnocchi à la parisienne. Last time I ate at Tastevin for a Valentine dinner, my boyfriend chose the Gnocchi and I was very jealous as they were to die for! In the end I just can’t resist and get the Gnocchi. My enthusiasm must be contagious, for the boys end up doing the same!
Alex brings us some Olive oil and French butter to spread on the delicious House-made bread. The Laguiole knife brings a very authentic French touch to the table. The little bee (or fly, the mystery remains intact on this matter) on the handle is indeed a very recognisable symbol the world over as a sign of quality and traditional craftsmanship.
We also nibble on some marinated olives, which are very nice as well (I do like my olives).
The entrées arrive and the Gnocchi are as good as I remember, except this time I have a whole dish to myself :-) The Mornay sauce is really creamy and cheesy, with a hint of truffle oil, which works a treat here . These Gnocchi are not the potato gnocchi we are used to, but made out of choux pastry: they are really soft and melting in the mouth! You can actually find the recipe on Gourmet Traveller’s website here.
Two of us have chosen the Grilled eye fillet with pommes frites & Béarnaise sauce for the mains and we are not disappointed, both of them are cooked perfectly. The béarnaise sauce is creamy and moreish and I wipe the dish clean.
The accompanying fries are also nice and crunchy.
N. is happy with his Cassoulet, the Duck leg is very tender and the saucisse toulousaine (hidden under the beans) is another lovely home-made creation.
There is unfortunately no time for desserts, as we have to go back to work…
I know I would have chosen the Grand Marnier flambéed Crêpes Suzette with Vanilla bean ice-cream, to see how the pros do it (cf. my attempt a few months ago)… but it will have to wait until next time!
All in all, a very good value lunch, good food, good company, friendly service… what more can you ask for!
1/292-294 Victoria St
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9356 3429
Open Sun-Thu. 12pm until late
Open Mon & Wed. for dinner
Closed on Tuesdays
PS: You can check out more customer reviews of Tastevin on this website: Customer Underground. They featured my picture of the Eye Fillet to illustrate their page, yay!