30 November 2013
Booking a table at Bouchon Bistro was a nightmare. The manager cancelled my online booking because I wanted to use a coupon. He said there were “too many” people trying to use their coupons and refused to give me a table on any Friday evening (even when I tried booking 3 weeks in advance). Here’s a tip: don’t sell coupons for your restaurant if you don’t want diners to redeem them.
Despite my troubles, my boyfriend managed to nab a dinner booking for the Friday that I was already told had been booked out. The clever trick was only mentioning the coupon after he confirmed the booking *sigh*. We arrived and were told to sit anywhere, which I found frustrating because there was clearly enough empty seating to accommodate us.
While we only ordered a main dish per person (which seemed to be a massive faux pas), we still received a free morsel before our food arrived. The beef cheek was meaty and paired well with the carrot and parsnip purée. Not sure what the “spiced shard” was but it was fun to crunch on.
Panfried duck breast ($39)
Our waitress asked how we would like our duck cooked and we agreed to go with the chef’s recommendation. Our duck arrived a gorgeous medium-rare and the meat was really tender. I was surprised to find the mushroom and parmesan tart was deconstructed and tiny, but I guess that’s what you get from French fine dining. The sweet flavours of apple mash and cinnamon were awesome with the duck.
Coq au vin ($39)
Our waitress described the Special of the Day and I was pretty excited to taste “traditional rooster”. How often do you see that on the menu? As it turns out, rooster is not a very exotic meat and tastes exactly like chicken to me. The rich broth had mushrooms, shallots, and chunks of bacon. Loved the buttery mashed potato, which is one of my favourite guilty pleasures.
Chestnut panna cotta ($15)
We splashed out and paid extra to order a dessert to share. The dark chocolate and caramel cremeux was divine, a rich dense mousse which tasted awesome with the poached strawberries. I enjoyed the flavour of chestnut panna cotta with dark chocolate cookie crumbles, but the texture was too lumpy for my liking. The matcha (green tea) ice cream seemed out of place on the plate.
Bouchon Bistro really challenged my usual approach of “who cares about service and presentation when the food is good?”. The manager constantly berated the poor waitress (my boyfriend understands French), obviously trains waitstaff to up-sell customers (what is this, McDonalds?!), and counted our change incredibly slowly and reluctantly (sif he deserved a tip). Bouchon Bistro offers tasty French fare, but with a hefty price tag and a seriously bad attitude.
Likes: tasty wholesome French food, fancy dessert
Dislikes: manager is incredibly rude to customers and staff
Value for money: below average (without coupon)
Overall: good food, but I don’t want to give any money to this manager
363A Cambridge St
(08) 9387 3898