Starting off the year always requires a little more motivation on my part to keep my everyday routine going, and having fully realised that the festive season has truly passed, I needed some sort of joy to keep my balance in life, and nothing brings me more joy than a girls night out for a long chat over wonderful food. Wanting to try something new, we headed over to the long established Lutece in Bardon for a memorable night's dinner over exceptional company.
Having made a booking beforehand, we were promptly seated. Unfortunately for us though, we didn't get one of the much coveted window seats. Must make a note to come back next time for it. Being a Thursday night, the restaurant was completely booked out though, and it was definitely bustling, to the point where it was a little difficult to flag down a waiter during the busy periods.
Our table was immaculately set, and menus came out quickly.
Being a French Bistro, the menu was of course, French. Having made a point to peruse the options beforehand online, I was slightly surprised though to find that the menu had been updated, and a few things that I wanted to try were not available that night. Nevertheless, we promptly made our order with the friendly waiter, and awaited our food.
Before long, our entrees started to arrive. My first companion ordered the serve of six escargot. It was a first time for all of us to receive the contraption that it came with, which is apparently used to grip the shell whilst you dig out the snail flesh. I tried one myself and found the flesh to be surprisingly firmer than expected, and a little fishy, but tasty given the garlic and herb butter.
My second companion and I both had the Steak Tartare. Hers came with an unbroken yolk, and mine had a broken yolk. It was deliciously seasoned with considerable capers and mustard, and served with crispy waffle chips. The beef was wonderfully fresh and the egg added a smooth texture to the meat. We really enjoyed this dish but only wish there were a couple more waffles to allow us to eat the whole amount of beef.
After our entrees, our mains came very quickly. My first companion ordered the daily special of Bouillabaisse, a traditional French provincial fish stew. Usually made with considerable herbs and spices, my friend asked to make it not as spicy, and she found the taste to be quite agreeable.
My second companion ordered the Free Range Lamb sirloin with white bean salad and lime jus. Trying a piece myself, I quite enjoyed the tender texture of the lamb, which was not over or undercooked. It was complimented well by the sharp and tangy lime jus which gave it depth and character different from other lamb dishes I've had before.
As readers will know, I never back down from a Steak Frites at a French restaurant, so I had the Black Angus Sirloin, Pomme Frites and two pepper sauce. Asking for it to be cooked rare, it was most definitely rare, but well rested so the meat wasn't too bloody. The beef had a good texture to it and wasn't too chewy. The frites were hand cut, and thick. Readers will know of my preference for thin cut, which this wasn't, nor was it particularly crunchy either. Compared to other pepper sauces I've tried before, this one didn't pack as much spice as I would have otherwise liked.
For the table, we had two sides, including the Mixed Salad Leaves and Peas a la Francaise. Both were refreshing and tasty, with a light sauce and dressing respectively, that kept our meals well balanced.
Whilst entrees and mains came promptly, desserts were a considerable wait. Not wanting to have to settle on one dessert, the three of us shared all the desserts (as all girlfriends do!). After a very long wait, they showed up.
First up was the Passion fruit Souffle, which was completed before our very eyes. The souffle was light and fluffy, and unlike ones I've had recently, it didn't have an overbearing egg flavour to it. The passionfruit juice ensured that it wasn't overly sweet, and had a strong tang to it.
Next was the Apple tart. Despite the fact that its presentation was far less theatrical than the passionfruit souffle, it was by far our favourite dessert of the night. The apple was thinly sliced and the ice cream was deliciously rich and sweet, but the standout for us was most definitely the pastry. It was exceptionally fluffy and light, with the most delicate pastry that we've had for some time now. One bite and it left the three of us lost for words.
Last but not least, we had the Cafe Gourmand, being petite fours with a serve of coffee. The coffee was quite rich, but could have been a bit stronger, nevertheless, it made for a delicious after dinner drink. Petite fours consisted of some rich and smooth chocolate truffle, caramelised creme brulee which was quite sweet and had a good texture, ice cream and chopped fruits. It made for a well balanced dessert, but we were hoping for something a little more unique given the other two desserts. Nevertheless, we still found it quite enjoyable.
Price Range: $60 - $80pp