I am a big fan of French cuisine. Duck, pastries, frog legs…everything. I will eat anything cooked the French way. So when I saw a voucher for Bouchon Bistro offering $40 for $100 worth of food I jumped at the chance of securing myself a voucher.
Last weekend, L and I finally made it to Wembley along the always busy Cambridge Street in search for this bistro. They open at 6:30pm so when we arrived at 6:28pm the “closed” sign was still displayed on the window. The door was unlocked so we went in anyway and the waitress gladly showed us to our table.
It wasn’t really hard to choose what to order. I confirmed with the waitress that we could have anything on the menu so long as they all come up to $100 worth and we would just pay for the extras.
To start, we were given bread and butter. I cannot even begin to sing my praises for a properly made baguette. The bread was crusty on the outside and soft on the inside and the combination of the crunchiness and the softness was perfect, it was tasty, it was warm, and altogether a great bread experience spread with the butter. If I had that kind of bread for breakfast everyday I think every day would be a great day.
Then we were given a free appetiser of oxtail with garlic parmesan and onion cheese. Don’t fret, it wasn’t the tail in a whole piece. It was chopped up, made into a patty and served nicely. The oxtail had a nice crunch to it from what I’m assuming are the cartilages from the tail. A bit strange to the bite but the taste was not too bad.
After the appetiser we had another round of bread and butter because the waitress asked if we wanted more. As it turns out there’s an extra $4.50 charge for another 4 slices of bread.
L and I shared an entree of braised beef ribs in spices and coconut, pine nut, pear and radishes. Very very tasty beef ribs. Like the oxtail the ribs were removed from the bone and shaped so it was easier and less messy to eat. The pear and radishes provided a contrasting palette to the spices used in the beef.
Mains came not too long after we chatted with the waitress. I was aware of some reviews saying that service here is terrible, that customers are not treated with priority and other things like that but I guess we were lucky to have made a reservation for 6:30pm because the restaurant was not full and so they weren’t stressing out just yet. We talked about France with the waitress and she gave us a few tips here and there while I practiced my French with her.
I had panfried duck breast, confit leg and chestnut, coffee crumble and amaranth. The duck breast could have been less rubbery. I asked for a well done breast but it was not as well done as I had hoped for. The confit leg was not the usual confit you’d find in other places; rather this was, again, without the bone and shaped into a cube and not quite as fatty as confits usually are since they are cooked in duck fat. Taste-wise it was so-so. I was a little hesitant with the coffee crumble and amaranth on the side. I tasted it by itself and thought it was weird to have coffee with duck. But spoon a little crumble on top of the duck breast and actually tastes quite nice. The crumble complements the sauce well.
L had the assiette of pork, which was basically pork cooked in different ways. There was the braised pork belly, pork knuckle and pork with quince (to the best of my memory). They were all very tasty with enough spices and sweetness that goes well with pork. I’ve got to say that the pork belly was the best out of plate. Well give L anything pork and she won’t complain.
We were surprisingly quite full even though the servings were small. It was probably from all the bread we ate. But we decided to have dessert anyway. We shared a chocolate mousse with crumble meringue and berries and yoghurt foam with strawberry jelly. It was interesting to say the least. I would rather have the mousse dark and a little less sweet. The yoghurt foam was surprisingly good with the mousse. Sweet plus sour. L ended up having to eat most of it because it was too sweet for my liking.
Overall a good dining experience. I agree with those who say that this place is overpriced. Average entree price is $20 and mains are $40. Desserts are around the $15-$20 mark. It is overpriced because, although food was not too bad, there was nothing really very spectacular about it. I’d probably come back again if they offer deals. An elderly couple beside our table seemed to be regulars here though. They rate the dishes 10 out of 10.
My rating: 6/10