Monday, 20 April 2015

Baguette - Ascot

Racecourse road is often a favourite for me when it comes to finding a special place to enjoy a nice dinner. One of the places that has long held my attention has been Baguette, which has long been on my list of places to attend. Sadly, I've always pushed it further and further back due to new openings and other things that caught my attention.

Eventually though, after raising it with a close friend, he expressed quite a strong interest in going, so I decided not to delay it anymore, and go immediately. We drove to racecourse road, and it was not easy to find parking. We parked a couple streets away and took a nice stroll to get there.

As I've mentioned previously, I really enjoy having a menu outside to decide whether I want to eat. I was pleased to see that Baguette had it available, although in this instance, I had already decided what I wanted significantly earlier.

We entered through the bar, which I found to be very elegant and stylish.

As we had made a reservation, we were seated quite promptly. I was surprised to see the restaurant was really quite packed already.

The decor inside was also just as elegant and simple. It was dimly lit and there were candles on each table. I was quite surprised that they did not have air conditioning actually, as it was a bit too warm for me (because I overdressed when I expected a chilly night), additionally because it wasnt exactly an enclosed area, I became a feast for mosquitoes. Other than that, the atmosphere was relaxed and the ambiance was awfully romantic.

We started our meal with a serve of the herb and garlic butter sourdough baguette. As mentioned in a previous post, I really love sourdough bread. Since the restaurant named itself Baguette, I was pretty sure that it would be something we couldnt miss. Indeed this was definitely the case. The bread was deliciously hot and toasty. It was crispy but not overly hard on the outside, but soft and comforting on the inside. The garlic and herb butter was slathered generously over the top, it was not overly salty, but it had a super strong garlic taste to it. I really enjoyed it.

Our mains came next. It is probably noteworthy that it took around 30 mins from the delivery our mains, luckily we werent' very rushed that night, and my companion was a relatively good conversationalist. Due to my insistence, my companion and I shared our mains (so that I could try both). This is the Pan seared duck breast, parsnip puree, land cress, honey jus. I found the portion to be rather small actually, comprising of two large strips of duck breast. Thankfully we shared mains, because if I ate this by myself, I would definitely not be full. In terms of the texture, the duck was cooked pretty perfectly. It was cooked just right, not overdone but not under cooked at all. The duck skin was cooked very nicely too, caramelized just right to lock in the flavour of the duck.
The parsnip puree was really quite delicious, with a subtle flavour. The land cress also added another layer of complexity to the dish, as well as lightening up what would have been a very meaty dish.

Other than duck, we also tried the Steak au Poivre, which was Ribeye, truffle mash, Baked Tomato, Portobello Mushroom, Peppercorn Sauce. We ordered the steak rare, and it definitely came out rare, just the way I like it. For a restaurant that was not a specialised steakhouse (Morrison, Embers, Breakfast Creek), it was probably one of the best steaks that I've had. The steak was fresh and well textured. The peppercorn sauce was rather comforting, but had the added zing of quite a lot of peppercorns. I also really appreciated that the beef was not overly fatty. It made me feel a lot less guilty about my meal.

The truffle mash was very delicious, I would have liked it to be more buttery, but that is a matter of personal preference. The herbs really set it apart from the other mashed potatoes I have tried. The roasted tomato was dry on the outside, but exploded with juices when bitten into. I really liked it. On the the other hand, one thing that stuck me was the lack of the mushroom, but we didnt mind too much. 
We really had a great time at Baguette. I really regret not trying earlier, and can see why it has such a strong following.

Price Range: $40 - $60 per person

Taste: 9/10
Service: 8/10
Environment: 7.5/10 (lack of a/c and my encounter with mosquitoes)

Baguette Bistrot + Bar on Urbanspoon

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