Posted by March 17, 2011 in Cuisine, French, Modern European, Reviewson
We love food. We don't care if it costs a little or a lot... as long as it is good. We would prefer to pay $50 for a great steak, than $5 for a mediocre one. That's just the way we roll. That said if we can get a great steak for $5 all the better! We write about food as a labour of love; we enjoy eating & sharing our experiences and hope that our blog inspires others to try out some places they may not have otherwise.See other articles by Buggles & Squeak »
We have wanted to dine at Bistro Ortolan since it opened back in 2006.
A last minute decision has us securing a ‘rare’ Saturday night table; sure we have to arrive at 6 and be out by 8.30, but it is a compromise we are willing to make.
We are excited as we approach this quaint, two storey terrace and certainly not disappointed with our table. It is close to the door sure, but the tables up front are a little better spaced, so we’re happy.
We place our order, sit back and each enjoy a glass of 2004 Kreglinger Brut from the Pipers Brook Vineyard.
An icy cold amuse bouche of Heirloom tomato essence with a herbed granita is a thing of beauty, to look at and to devour. The clear liquid is pure, unadulterated tomato in all its glory. Spectacular! The granita, as it melts, slowly gives up more of its herbaceous goodness. The anchovy toast is to die for. Buggles and Squeak have reached Nirvana early.
Entrees include Tortellini of Queensland mudcrab with fig and mudcrab salad, silken tofu and roasted crab consommé; thin pasta encases gloriously sweet, abundant slivers of mudcrab. The salad that tops it is fresh and crunchy, while the crab consommé is rich and clean.
The Terrine, ‘black and blue’ and tartare of 400 day, grain-fed Black Angus beef is essentially beef 3 ways: an unctuous oxtail terrine full of bold, gutsy flavour; an Angus fillet, charred outside and wonderfully rare within; and a mound of perfectly seasoned tartare topped with a delicate, silver leaf encased quail egg.
After a long 40 minute wait our mains arrive.
Roast Macleay Valley White rabbit and its’ tortellini is a symphony of rabbit. Loin, rack, confit leg and crumbed belly sit alongside kidney and liver. The tortellini contains rich and melting braised meat.
Twice-cooked sirloin and tenderloin of Wildes Meadow bio-dynamic milk-fed veal is gloriously tender, giving way easily under the knife. The Soubise purée is creamy, with a sweet onion flavour and the bone marrow dauphinoise is rich and extravagant.
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we do still have room for dessert.
Banana and salted caramel ‘Bombe Alaska’ is a lovely sweet end to the meal. While it might lack banana flavour – the thick, salted caramel sauce more than makes up for it, as do the tiny, salty caramel jellies.
The Date and armagnac crème brûlée with caramelised brioche French toast and fennel ice-cream arrives at the table still flaming. Cracking open the shell reveals that it is still quite runny. The ice cream captures that wonderful anise flavour beautifully while the brioche is exceptionally buttery.
Service at Bistro Ortolan is friendly, if a little ‘neglectful’. No explanation was offered, nor an apology made, for the long wait between entree and main.
No effort was made to top up our water and we were quite parched before we were asked if we wanted to order another bottle of mineral water.
It is the exceptional food however, that is guaranteed to have us return.
134 Marion Street
(02) 9568 4610
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