A glass of red wine sits at the table, with house bread and home made butter resting behind it. All on a dark wood table.Not too long ago a good friend on mine posted a photo from her Instagram account of a wonderful meal she had at Les Bistronomes. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to go there. Fast forward a couple of months and I still hadn’t managed to get there, instead I was taking my daughter to a birthday party for a little girl at her preschool. Low and behold, the dad of one of her friends is Clement Chauvin, the head chef and owner of Les Bistronomes. Fantastic you think! Yeah… could be – but I wanted to go to his restaurant and write a review. What if I went there and I hated the food, or the service was terrible. What then? Will I ruin my daughter’s friendship with his little girl?

Obviously this wasn’t the case! (This would be a very different blog post – or none at all if that had been the case) I used the excuse for a long overdue mummy/daughter catch up time to take my mum to Les Bistronomes.

I didn’t tell Clement that I was going as I didn’t want him to feel obliged to treat me any differently – given he’d be likely to see me a lot at drop off and pick up. Even as a teacher I know that it can sometimes be awkward when your work and home life intersect. So when we turned up, we were just another booking for lunch.

LesBistronomes_tables

The decor is simple and belies the quality of the food you are about to be served. But yet at the same time, the simplicity of the decor is refreshing, it’s almost like eating at home – except there is no way I can cook what his kitchen delivers!

Feeling hungry, we chose the crépinette which was designed to be eaten by two people. Although, our version of feeling hungry means getting a main course and having dessert, as opposed to having an entree, main and dessert. We might skimp on many things but we never forgo dessert! I chose the chocolate fondant cake with pistachio ice-cream for dessert.

As you might expect, by the time our order was chosen, Clement has spied us. Very kindly he sent out his salmon gravlax while we waited for our main course. Inside I cringed. He’d been so generous – but how do I tell him that I don’t actually eat salmon? Easy, I don’t. I just eat it. And I’m so glad I did. It was amazing. I was concerned that it would have that ‘fishy’ smell that turns my stomach, but it didn’t. According to Clement, my issue with salmon is not the salmon at all, it’s the quality of salmon that I’ve been eating. Yes. That would make sense. His dish was sublime. Please consider me now a salmon convert – a big call if you know my aversion to seafood… maybe I’m growing up? And seriously, how pretty is his salmon gravlax?

LesBistronomes Salmon Gravlax. Four slices of salmon sit on a large white plate, with edible flowers and zucchini flower scattered decadently over it.

It was interesting listening to Clement who chatted to us about the challenges of catering to a Canberra crowd. He commented that when he was learning, his mentor told him that you feed your patrons, you don’t fatten them. However in Canberra, and I’d noticed this myself, quality is often viewed as linked to quantity. Clement told us that when he first opened he’d gone to great lengths to source the best produce, creating dishes of the highest quality… but unfortunately, given the feedback he received, his meals weren’t the size that Canberrans seemed to prefer. Clement revisted his menu, changing his dishes slightly so that he could serve dishes that were much larger in size and this won his Canberra audience over. I could see his point, and our inability to finish our main course spoke to the generous portion of the crépinette. I think we could’ve easily made it a main course for four adults, instead of two! But in achieving quantity, he hadn’t compromised on flavour. It was a hearty meal and was quickly devoured. And it was sort of meal that you devoured. This was not a dainty dish – unlike most nearly everything else on the menu!

It may not photograph as beautifully as his other dishes, but it was just as delicious!

The crépinette may not photograph as beautifully as Les Bistronome’s other dishes, but it was just as delicious!

We finished our meal with the chocolate fondant cake and pistachio ice-cream. Oh. My. Goodness. I’d seen this cooked on Masterchef. I know that it isn’t the easiest of cakes to get right which is why I’ve never been bothered attempting it myself, and also why I ordered it. It tasted just how it looks. Amazing.

LesBistronomes FondantCake. The cake is surrounded by delicate purple flowers and topped with fresh raspberries.The cake was perfect, moist but still most definitely a cake, complete with a soft, light texture… and the fondant centre just oozed. You only have to look at the photograph. Yes, it was so good I think I we need two photographs to do it justice.

LesBistronomes FondantCake. The cake is surrounded by delicate purple flowers and topped with fresh raspberries. The chocolate is slowly oozing out of the corner which has been cut.Les Bistronomes is located on the corner of Elouera and Mort Street in Braddon, Canberra.

The menu is seasonal, so please check the Les Bistronomes website for what is currently being served. There are also many special menus created for various holidays and occassions.

Entrees start around $14 and mains start from around $30 (prices change according to the menu)

I stand beside Clement, the head chef and owner of Les Bistronomes

I fail to understand how Clement can look so relaxed after cooking up a storm, and I’m the one who looks disheveled.

Written by Nadia

24 Comments

Kirsty

Nadia, your menu selections look mighty impressive, especially your ooey gooey chocolate fondant cake. So glad you tried and liked the salmon. It looked divine.

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nadiamc

He does, doesn’t he! Clement is lovely and always happy to chat about his creations.

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Paula McInerney

We ate at Les Bistronomes late last year and found the portions very fair. I liked the ambience and we did enjoy the food very much. The night before we had been to a Japanese influenced on trend restaurant and felt as though we needed to go for a meal after. It is a balancing act and Les Bistronomes got to right.

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nadiamc

That’s great to hear! I think he’s achieved a good balance between portion size and flavour – and at a good price too! It’s always disappointing when you finish a meal and are still hungry.

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Lauren

I love the striped seat coverings, so quirky! I’ve never seen such a colourful and elegant looking dessert either, big tick in my book!

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Serina aka Ms Frugal Ears

Oh, what a lovely place. I have a weakness for a good pistachio ice-cream (harder to find than you might think), so I will put this on my wishlist. A little sad that most Australians/Canberrans expect large portion sizes. I did find it hard to get used to after living in Asia. Sadly for my waistline I got used to it very quickly.

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nadiamc

The dessert was amazing. I would’ve liked to have ordered two… but I was so full from the main!

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Rosemary

Always love hearing stories of people opening up to new tastes and flavors. Glad you loved the salmon. The crepinette looks gorgeous and stuffed with much goodness. Delicious. Love your pictures..they make me very hungry!

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nadiamc

I need to be more of an adult and try new food. I’m such a fussy eater! It was an amazing meal.

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Anna @ shenANNAgans

The food looks magnificent, as does Clement. Ha! You can tell the thought that has gone into element of the dish, the colours and ingredients are balanced, and gotta say, it is refreshing to be able to look at the pictures and know what you are eating. Adding to my list cause I want some of that fondant cake, holy wow it looks yarm. 🙂

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