Second day back from my whirlwind trip across Japan, and it was time for a long overdue catch up with my two besties, and what better opportunity than over a scrumptious French dinner. Which is what we did when I received a gracious invite from Chef Americo, to try out the recently opened Margo Restaurant in Paddington. We were especially pleased to get to try out the new French menu, which had only been released and was already quite popular according to the reviews online. Arriving at the time of our reservation, I was surprised to realise that Margo had actually taken up the shopfront that used to house the legendary Montrachet. It had big shoes to fill indeed.
Furnishings inside retrained the classic French rustic charm of painted brick walls and the red leather seats. I found it very inviting.
We had a seat near the window, next to the bar, allowing us a good view of the interior and exterior.
Menus were soon provided, and the food menu comprised of two pages, spanning a large selection of entrees, mains, sides and desserts, which were all very captivating, so we ordered a few to share.
Complimentary bread was provided for the table, served with smoked butter. The bread was fresh, very hot, with a nice crusty exterior and a dense but versatile interior. Coupled with the smoked butter, it made for a very delicious appetiser to our meal.
Our drinks for the night included the Ginger glow and the French Martini. My companion really enjoyed the bitter tanginess of the ginger glow, and I liked the sweetness of the French Martini which was also very refreshing and crisp.
Very quickly after ordering, our entrees were served. Between the three of us, we had four items to share, and it was definitely a sight to behold.
First was the classical Soufflé au bleu, poire et noix - Twice baked blue cheese soufflé with pear and walnut. Unlike other souffles we have had previously, it was served out of the ramekin, garnished with some greens along with the aforementioned pear and walnut. The souffle was smooth and fluffy in texture, and definitely cheesy. The walnut gave it some added texture, whilst the pear's sweetness gave the dish a lot more dimension.
Our second entree was the Poitrine de porc croustillante et pomme fruit - Crispy skin pork belly with apple two ways. The pork belly had a deliciously crispy skin, and tender meat which erred on the side of salty. This was alleviated by the delicious cooked apples, which were caramelised wonderfully to give the pork a sweet tang which was well received around the table.
Third, and my favourite of the entrees was the St Jacques poelée, carottes au gingembre, riz soufflé et ponzu vinaigrette - Seared scallops, carrot and ginger puree, puffed rice and ponzu dressing. Whilst the seared scallops were doubtlessly delicious with their crispy top and bottom, we found the dukkah scallop mousse to be very innovative and tasty, with its light fluffy texture, strong scallop taste and crispy exterior, coupled with the carrot and ginger puree, we loved it.
Last of the entrees, was the Assiette de charcuterie et parfait de canard avec condiments - Charcuterie, liver parfait + pickles. The meats were quite salty and went well with the bread, but for me, the highlight was without a doubt the parfait, which was rich, smooth and creamy.
Very quickly after our entrees, mains and sides were then served. Whilst the entrees were somewhat petite, the mains were definitely substantial in size, much to our enjoyment.
My first companion ordered the Longe d’agneau, gratin dauphinoise, beignet d’ail et jus au thym - Lamb saddle with gratin dauphinois, garlic beignet and thyme jus. Of course, I got to try some. The lamb was very tender and the meat had a wonderful pink hue to it, soaking up a considerable amount of thyme jus. I found the skin a little chewy though. The gratin dauphinoise also went quite well with the thyme jus, and the layering of the potato provided a good contrast in texture to the silky lamb.
My other companion ordered the Cassoulet de Julia - White bean and tomato stew with pork belly, confit duck leg and chorizo. The pork belly in this dish turned out to be quite small, and the main attraction was without a doubt the confit duck leg, which had a deliciously crispy skin, although a little salty. More crunch was added through the delectable chorizo shavings, which was then contrasted by the white bean stew.
Readers will have guessed by now that my order is always the classical Steak Frites, with bearnaise sauce. Tonight's cut was the fillet, and it was delightfully soft whilst retaining a strong beefy flavour. Upon ordering, I found it curious that I was not asked how I would like my steak cooked, but it was still served rare. The frites were more chips than fries, and being a fan of shoestring fries, I definitely would have liked a thinner cut, but they were definitely very crispy on the outside with a fluffy interior which soaked up the meat juices and leftover sauce wonderfully.
The two sides we shared were the mixed salad and greens, to balance out our meaty mains. Both were executed very well, and whilst my companions enjoyed the greens, I definitely preferred the salad, with its impeccable presentation and light french dressing, it was thoroughly appreciated.
Despite being as full as we were from our mains, we didn't want to miss the opportunity to try out the desserts, so we settled on two to share. Like the other courses, they were served remarkably quickly (which is great, cos I don't like to wait).
Readers may have realised by now that my bestie loves her apple pie, so of course we had the Tarte tatin, prune macérée a l’armagnac, crème a la vanilla - Apple tarte tatin and cognac prunes with vanilla cream. Caramelised apple is always a wonderfully warm and sweet way to round off any meal, and this was no different. I would have preferred a little more pastry to cover the top of the pie, but I did really relish the very rich vanilla creme, giving the apple a smooth buttery texture.
Our last dessert was the Profiterole facon éclair. It was an interesting mix between an eclair and a profiterole. The eclair was fresh and had a good crunch to it, and again, we loved the vanilla creme with its remarkable texture. Topped with rich dark chocolate, it made for a wonderful dessert to finish off a delightful meal.
Espresso and Matcha were invited guests of Margo Restaurant, but as always, our opinions are solely our own.
Price Range: $50 - $70pp