I don't know about you Dear Reader but whenever I look for somewhere to eat with my parents, I look for a different sort of place than I would with friends. They don't like perching on bar stools, excess noise or having to queue to get in. My parents are old skool and they like good service, good food and they don't like long, drawn out meals. So I sought to find a place that she would love for Mothers Day dinner. Enter Mistelle in Double Bay.
Although Double Bay has a reputation for being pricey (often dubbed Double Pay), and I certainly won't be buying property there any time soon, I've never found it overly expensive to eat out at. And on little Kiaora Lane parallel to busy New South Head Road there's a collective of shops and eateries including Mistelle. From the outside it looks like a French cafe with chairs pointed outside towards the street for people watching (a popular Double Bay past time). On the inside it's like a bistro.
I really thought I had everything covered and then we discuss having escargot. "Will you eat some?" I ask my father. My mother will eat anything but he is a former food scientist and the idea of eating rare steak, sashimi, raw egg yolk is simply unacceptable. "Better not," he says closing his lips for further emphasis.
"Baah don't worry about him," says my mother shooing him away and we order away. Dinner starts at 5:30pm and in the afternoon a bar snacks menu operates. It is also a wine bar and on Mother's Day all mums are offered a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Except my mother. She doesn't drink. One sip of alcohol and it's all downhill - I'm pretty sure she thinks this. It's a shame because Mistelle's owner Alicia Wadsworth is a member of the Commanderie du Bordeaux (so she represents Bordeaux Wines outside of Bordeaux) and is a graduate of the Gastronomicom Wine School in Languedox, South of France.
Croquettes, black garlic aioli $14 plus 1 extra $3.50
We are however big croquette fans and they automatically upgrade this to 4 pieces for us (without asking) so that we don't need to share. The croquettes are rectangular blocks with rich, creamy potato inside and crumbed on the outside on dabs of black garlic aioli. Despite the fact that plain potato might not sound as exciting as other croquette fillings, they are very good indeed especially when you get a good dab of black aioli.
Escargot en cocotte $18
My father sat this course out which was fine by my mother because that meant that she got a whole serve to herself. There are two small ceramic pots each with three escargot inside them baked with a garlic and parsley butter and a lid of puff pastry. We ordered a Lucienne bread stick to go with it and they're nice enough to bring us four pats of Pepe Saya butter so we get one each. The bread is needed to dip into the escargot sauce to mop every little flavoursome trace out of it.
Lucienne bread stick, Pepe Saya butter $6
Lobster ravioli $30 plus extra ravioli $10 extra
Again they upgraded the size to include another so that we had one each. The ravioli are filled with lobster, crab and salmon mousse and is served with a pea puree and Mistelle house smoked salmon beurre blanc.
Double baked Gruyere souffle, sand crab, bisque, caviar $27
The prices for mains are reasonable and we start with a Winter favourite: double baked souffle with sand crab, bisque, caviar and a scallop on top. My mother is quite smitten with this soft, delicate but richly flavoured souffle. It's a nice change from a regular cheese souffle too.
Cassoulet is one of those winter heavy dishes and perhaps it's not cold enough quite yet for it. It's a stew of confit duck, smoked pork belly, cannellini beans, toulouse sausage and topped with a crunchy herb crumb on top. But I think it was perhaps a bit too rich for us given that we had rather heavy choices.
Pappardelle pasta $22
The pappardelle pasta is made in house and served with a wild mushroom ragout, slow cooked egg and goat's cheddar. We break the egg yolk and mix it up so that it coats the pasta with the creamy, liquid gold sauce. It's a favourite at the table and even my mother who doesn't eat pasta much goes for several serves of this.
300gm grass fed sirloin steak cafe de Paris butter $30
I like steak but's not often that the steak is my favourite main out of a whole host of items but in this case the steak is divine. The melted cafe de Paris butter is so rich and blankets the steak that comes pink in the centre and sliced up. There's also a fresh salad on each end and the steak benefits from the freshness provided from the salad.
Unfortunately, they have run out of the caramelised tarte tatin with marshmallow ice cream and pecan caramel and the other two desserts don't quite grab us. And while I love cheese, my parents are less keen on it and we have a cake at home so we ask for the bill. It's reasonable at $50 per person which meets my dad's approval. You know they're still talking about "that dinner incident"! ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, what did you end up doing for Mother's Day? And what is your ideal restaurant experience? I have a big thing about noise, if I can't talk to my friends, I hot foot it out of there!
This meal was independently paid for.
16 Kiaora Ln, Double Bay NSW 2028
Phone:(02) 9326 1900
Wednesday - Saturday 11.30am till late
Sunday 11.30am till 10pm