Saturday, 8 February 2014

Bistro des Artistes

Happy birthday DT! 

For DT's birthday dinner, I gave her a list of restaurants to choose from to ensure that both her and RN are able to choose something they can eat on the menu. DT chose Bistro des Artistes in Subiaco opened by master chefs Alain Fabregues (who created The Loose Box in Mundaring) and Emmanuel Mollois (who created Choux Cafe in Swanborne); both of whom have a wealth of experience in their field and very impressive CVs.

Bistro des Artistes offers a 3 course menu for $75 with extra components (bread, cheese, pre-dessert, coffee/tea and petits fours) in between or if you decide you don't want to go for the full menu, you can order separately entrees for $25, mains for $45 and desserts for $15. Of course, with two pregnant women in tow, we opted for the full menu.

It took a little while to decide on our order as we had to ask the waiter how some of the dishes were cooked to ensure it was pregnant women friendly.

Our order
Les 6 Huitres Ouvertes a la Minute, Vinaigre a l'Echalote (6 new season Albany oysters open a la minute and served with shallots in vinegar and rye bread)
Rillette de Saumon Frais et Fume, Romaine Craquante (Fresh and smoked Tasmanian salmon served as a rillettes with crispy cos lettuce)
Oeuf Cocotte aux Cepes, Mouillettes de Pain de Campagne (Egg cocotte garnished with cepes mushroom, cooked in a verrine, served with bread soldiers)

Minute d'Encornets Frais a la Plancha, Piment d'Espelette (Fresh squids seared a la plancha, seasoned with piment d'Espelette garnished with roasted aubergine and baby zucchini; presented with scented oil)
Cote d'Agneau Juste Saisi, Panisse et Jus au Romarin (Lamb chops sealed medium rare garnished with rosemary infused lamb jus)
Cuisse de Canard aux Peches, Pommes Mascaires et Pois Gourmands (Braised duck leg served with fresh peaches, potato Macaire and flat peas)

Ile Flottante
Creme Brulee Traditionnelle
Tarte du Jour

It was nearly 8pm by the time we settled in and ordered, so we were very grateful for the bread (which I would've preferred warm but it was nice bread all the same). The last time I dined here was over a year ago so I was hoping it is as good as it was last time.

Food and presentation - 4/5
The food at Bistro des Artistes was fantastic. It's been a while since we've enjoyed every morsel of our meal without complaints before dessert! Usually RN or I will always have some complaint by mains.

My oysters were really fresh and I liked the vinaigrette that accompanied the oysters. DT's salmon was perfectly seasoned and went well with the sourdough and salad but my favourite entree of all would have to be RN's oeuf coccotte with cepes mushroom, it tasted absolutely sensational and had a rich mushroom taste which was so good with the bread soldiers.
Les 6 Huitres Ouvertes a la Minute, Vinaigre a l'Echalote
Rilettes de Saumon Frais et Fume, Romaine Craquante
Oeuf Cocotte aux Cepes, Mouillettes de Pain de Campagne
Our mains were all really yummy. My squid was cooked perfectly and the squid was so fresh and naturally sweet, it was amazing. DT's lamb was perfectly medium rare and again was just beautiful and RN's duck was so tasty. We could not fault anything and were all nice and quiet during mains because we were enjoying it so much.
Minute d'Encornets Frais a la Plancha, Piment d'Espelette
Cote d'Agneau Juste Saisi, Panisse et Jus au Romarin
Cuisse de Carnard aux Peches, Pommes Macaires et Pois Gourmands
After mains, we were presented with a platter of cheese with grapes and bread, unfortunately or fortunately I was the only one who can eat all the cheeses. I can't exactly remember what cheeses they were but it was a blue cheese, aged cheddar and a brie. Beautiful cheeses which were wasted because I could not finish it all by myself.
Le Plateau de Fromages Affines
Before dessert was served, we were given a pre-dessert of caramel rice pudding, it was nice but nothing spectacular. 
Pre-Dessert - Caramel Rice Pudding
Our desserts arrived and they were all nice but nothing spectacular and this was the point when the complaints started. Actually, RN loved her dessert and was still quiet, the berry tart was pretty good. DT's creme brulee was good although nothing special, DT commented that it was a bit too big (not sure if that is a positive or negative comment). Okay, it was me that had the complaint, it's always me...the il flottante (or floating island) is basically meringue with a custard sauce and drizzled with praline and caramel sauce. The first couple of bites were not bad, it was not something I've had before and the texture was interesting but it quickly became way too sweet and I was unable to finish it - it just didn't do much for me. 
Il Flottante
Creme Brulee Traditionnelle
Tarte du Jour - Berry
Our petits fours arrived with our coffee and tea but it was a bit of a shame that they were slightly wet. I couldn't quite tell what flavour they were and we weren't told but it had a hint of lemon flavour and I've had better macaroons. 
Petits Fours - Macaroons
I would've given them a higher score if dessert was better because I really do think the entree and mains deserve at least a 4.5/5 but dessert which was nice but just not great brought the score down. Shame.  

Service - 3.5/5
Our waiter was cute and French and we had some communication problems. He was ever so helpful, checked in on us and was very friendly but unfortunately was also a bit forgetful and didn't quite understand what pregnancy means in terms of what they can and can't eat. For example, for the oeuf cocotte we explained to him that pregnant women can't have raw egg and can we have the egg cooked through but the dish came out with raw egg on top so we asked him if it can be cooked through. He took it back to the kitchen and it returned without the egg or the bread soldiers with no explanation of why the egg was removed but we just assumed it probably works better without the raw egg than to ruin the dish by overcooking it (we had ask for the bread soldiers). We also had another lady serve us now and again but she was not very friendly.

Alain was here tonight looking after the front of house and he was so lovely and friendly. I was walking around taking photos and the chef said hi and he said I could take a photo of him and Alain was also there and we had a nice casual chat. Later that night, I walked past the kitchen again and told the chef that the food was awesome and Alain and the chef both said thank you and said they would like to see us again. I feel a bit rude that I didn't ask the chef his name. It may not seem like anything special but in Perth it is rare that you can 1. speak to the chef directly and 2. have a friendly and welcoming chat with the owner.
The Chef
Atmosphere and decor - 4.5/5
I absolutely love the decor at Bistro des Artistes, especially the mirror lined wall. I didn't give them 5/5 because the bar area was not as immaculate as one would expect at such a restaurant. There was a nice atmosphere in the restaurant and indeed felt like a bistro. A nice mix of patrons contributed to the nice atmosphere; patrons ranged from young lovey dovey dressed up couples who feed each other (yes they were feeding each other...), to friends having celebratory dinners (like us) to quite casually dressed locals. Not pretentious at all.
Value for money - 5/5
Definitely worth the money especially when you compare it to similar places. I would be happy to pay more for the quality of the food, friendly service and great atmosphere.

Will be back with the hubby I think!

Taste Test Total Score 17/20

Address: 424 Hay St, Subiaco WA 6008
Telephone: (08) 9382 2546
Reservations: Yes

Opening times
Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday to Friday: 10:30am - 10pm
Saturday: 10:30am - 10:30pm
Sunday: CLOSED

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