Sorry about the long absence, a lot has happened in the last year, which have kept me away from the blog. I regularly post pictures on Facebook and Instagram though, so feel free to follow me there too!
I’d been dying to visit Vincent (by same owners as nearby Buzo and Wine Library) for ages, as I’d heard a lot about their Comté soufflé and their cheese-making efforts (anyone prepared to make their own cheese gets my full admiration!). The birthday of my partner’s mum proved the perfect occasion to visit!
The restaurant is located in a boutique hotel right on Queen Street, on the corner of five ways, in Woollahra. After walking through the hotel lobby and the beautiful bar, we were led to our table on the terrace, protected from the elements by translucent plastic covers and heaters. While it got slightly cooler by the end of the night (the heaters might have been turned off at some stage), we were generally quite comfortable. After nibbling on sourdough bread, homemade “Vincent butter” and an assortment of olives, we ordered a few entrees to share, as our friendly waitress had advised us that the portions were quite generous.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a book signing and Q&A session with Manu Feildel at the Alliance Francaise of Sydney. The 12:30pm session booked out so fast that they had to add another one mid-morning, which booked out just as fast. This man sure has a lot of fans!
Manu, mostly famous for co-hosting popular cooking show My Kitchen Rules, was here to present his third cookbook, French for Everyone, which he hopes will show Australian readers what real French food is about: “We don’t eat confit of duck every day at home, boeuf bourguignon, coq au vin or cassoulet… What we eat is what my mum cooked, which was what you guys cook but with a French accent.” “Every recipe [in the book] is easy to make, but they are very tasty, and there’s a lot of sauce,” he said.
Cafe Opera’s famous Slow-cooked Egg dish
A few weeks ago I was invited by Cafe Opera Executive Sous Chef, Julien Pouteau, to discover their new Spring Menu at the restaurant located on the 1st floor of the InterContinental Hotel, right next to Circular Quay.
Where NSW Wines meet the French palate…
A few weeks ago I attended the NSW Wines competition organised by the French-Australian Chamber of Commerce at the Doltone House in Pyrmont, and had the opportunity to talk to Master Sommelier Franck Moreau from the Merivale Group, and Florent Bouvier from the Travers Wines. I wrote a little article for the Sydney edition of “Le Petit Journal“, an online publication in French for expats all over the world.
I’m going to try to adapt it to the blog, in English, in the version below 🙂
A few months ago, as I was researching an article for the beautiful website Eat Love, I had the opportunity to meet with Ludovic Geyer, a French Chef who runs with partner Xavier Huitorel the popular Bistro Papillon, located in Sydney CBD.
Ludovic generously gave me his time to answer my questions about his experience of food as a French man who has been living in Australia for 8 years now.
Here are his answers… (translated into English by myself)
Chef Darren Templeman and wife Bernadette, Restaurant Manager
A few weeks back I got to attend a superb degustation dinner at Restaurant Atelier, a little cottage located in Glebe Point Road. I had heard a lot about it from my colleagues and when the opportunity of a #twEATup with the regular offenders (& new ones) came up, I jumped on it! It also happens that my boss used to run a crêpe restaurant in the very same building back in the early 80’s, so I was keen to see where it all started!
A few weeks ago, my friend Vanity Fare and I decided to try the recent addition to the Merivale empire in Ash Street laneway, Felix Bistro, run by Lauren Murdoch, who used to operate the kitchen of Ash Street Cellar just across the road. I kept hearing good reports about it, and the few times I had walked past it, I’d thought the place looked beautiful and quite like an authentic brasserie.
Last week I was invited to a French-themed dinner hosted by Cenk, creator of Social Dinner Club, at Garden Court Restaurant, on the 5th floor of Sofitel in the CBD. Sofitel is a 5-star hotel owned by Accor, the famous French multinational corporation.
The Garden Court’s website describes the restaurant serving “modern contemporary cuisine with a French influence”. I was quite impressed when I made my way inside the grand entrance hall, the decor was simple but classy, you could see guests and patrons enjoying a relaxing drink in the lounge on the ground floor and staff members were most polite and friendly when I asked my way to the restaurant.
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!
It’s raining (again) when my partner M. and I are running to Baroque Bistro for dinner during the Easter long weekend.
The Bistro was opened last year by Sally Charkos and her sons Christophe, Olivier and Jeremy as an homage to the late Pierre Charkos, the famous Patissier behind the closely located La Renaissance Patisserie, who had a big influence on the patisserie industry in Sydney.
The restaurant is set up in a warehouse, with a lot of space, high ceilings and windows offering a beautiful view on the Harbour Bridge.
The décor is a mixture of modern (designer translucent plastic chairs, chrome lights-fittings) and traditional (copper pans hanging from the ceiling, old clocks), which would be a good way to describe their cuisine: classical French fare, but reworked with a modern twist.