It's Bastille Day and what better day to go French! Le Bouchon is a French cafe and bistro in Crows Nest on busy Willoughby Street. You'll find French classics like steak tartare, moules marinières and Duck a l'orange or there's also a well priced 3 course lunch available too.
Bouchon is the French word for cork. In the gastronomic city of Lyon, Bouchon is a term referred to informal restaurants known for Lyonnaise cuisine with a menu heavy in meat. The menu at Le Bouchon is less Lyonnaise and more classic French Bistro. Sammie and I were visiting Le Bouchon for my belated birthday lunch. She has a magical knack for finding great places that have outdoor seating and by a sheer miracle we had a sunny, clear and calm day so we sat outside. Sammie has been to Le Bouchon a few times before and tells me that at night it gets very busy.
We flick through the menu and there are quite a few things that catch my eye but then we get to the 3 course lunch for $70 which has most of the things that I want to try (except the steak tartare) and we select that. Although there's a good predominantly French wine and cocktail menu I'm driving so I refrain.
House terrine with cornichons, onion jam and toasted baguette
The terrine is Sammie's choice and it's a nice terrine with aspic and finely chopped pickles with some pureed onion jam and two pieces of toasted baguette. It's quite good although you do have to really like aspic for this. I think I'd prefer the baguette sliced a little thinner too.
Twice Cooked Blue Cheese Soufflé
The twice cooked cheese soufflé was my choice on their recommendation (it was a toss up between this and the French onion soup). It is made with blue cheese with tarragon and confit cherry tomatoes that lend this rich, wobbly soufflé a bit of sweet, tangy contrast. I end up dipping the baguette into the cream.
Pan Roasted Salmon Fillet, Provencale Ratatouille, Shellfish Bisque Beurre Blanc
Onto the mains and these are my favourite courses. The pan roasted salmon fillet is perfectly cooked. It is cooked through but the fish is still luscious and not dry at all with a delightfully crispy skin. It comes with a Provencal ratatouille with zucchini and capsicum and an intense shellfish bisque beurre blanc sauce.
Braised Beef Cheeks a la Bourguignone
My favourite course of the day is the braised beef cheeks. The beef cheeks are done to perfection with soft, tender meat served with fat lardons, carrots and mushrooms on a bed of pommes puree. If anyone was worried about leaving hungry the sizes are enormous and we can't finish both mains mainly because we are saving room for dessert.
Usually I'm not a huge île flottante fan but I'm so glad that Sammie chose this because it was divine. The meringue is torched and then served in a pool of creme anglaise with a toffee decoration and toasted walnuts. Whenever I've had île flottante the meringue hasn't been torched but this adds such an appealing flavour to it.
Chocolate Marquise, White Chocolate Crumble, Raspberry Coulis and Sorbet
The chocolate marquise is a slice of rich chocolate cake with white chocolate crumble, a scoop of raspberry sorbet and raspberry coulis and some Persian fairy floss. It's nice but the île flottante is the definite pick of the two desserts.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you like Ile Flottante?
This meal was independently paid for.
104 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest NSW 2065
Thursday to Saturday 11:30am–2:30pm, 5:30–9:30pm
Tuesday & Wednesday 5:30–9:30pm
Closed Sunday and Monday
Phone: (02) 9966 0906