Mesdames et Messieurs, there is a new French restaurant in Sydney. Bistrot Gavroche has opened up in the culinary hotspot Chippendale, right opposite Kensington Street Social.
The menu covers French classics like terrine, onion soup and steak frites. For starters, I opt for the Burgundy snails baked in their shells. With the snail tong and picker in my hands, I gingerly tease the snail meat out of their shells. The snails are cooked just right, with the parsley and garlic butter add flavour without overpowering the dish. By the way, if you haven’t tried snails before, they taste like mussels when cooked correctly. If your snails turn out chewy and rubbery, then the chef messed up.
For mains, I pick a classic French dish – parmentier de canard confit. Which is a gratin stuffed with shredded duck confit, bacon and crushed potatoes. Make sure you are hungry if you want to order this as it’s certainly a generous and hearty meal.
My friend, L picked the Pork confit with beluga lentils. Which comes in a Chasseur pot and a wooden spoon. The crackling is crisp while the pork is tender. The beluga lentils are a surprising ingredient but help bring an extra dimension of texture (and it’s healthy for you!). Two small pots of mustard are presented with the pork to allow diners to add a little (or a lot) bite to the juicy meat.
Somehow, L and I find some space for dessert, which unsurprisingly are all French with the exception of ice cream. We decided to go with the Tarte Tatin, which is served with sliced almonds and vanilla ice cream. The apples are caramelised to sweet perfection and the cool ice cream helps cut through the richness.
During the lunch service, a mix of French and local wines were on offer including the Saint-Pourçain Gamay pictured above. The light bodied red is very similar in taste and aroma to its cousin, the Pinot Noir. The wine glasses etched with the restaurant name is a nice detail.
Service is attentive and careful, even when the waiters were handing out the comically large framed menus. The oversized menus list each dish in both French and English, which saved me from mangling the beautiful Romantic language when I was ordering. Being wished Bon Appétit countless times (seriously, every single waitstaff said Bon Appétit) really added to the illusion of being in a Parisian Bistro.
The decor is decidedly French, with several pieces of furniture hand picked by the co-owners from France and other parts of Europe. There’s even rare antiques on display at the restaurant like the 1950 Solex moped and pâte de verre ceiling lights. The intimate space is well suited for a romantic date or a small gathering.
Dining at Bistrot Gavroche temporarily transports you to France, making it a welcomed addition to Sydney’s French dining scene.
Level 1, 2-10 Kensington Street