When I speak with fellow food lovers about French cuisine in the south-eastern suburbs, only two names rise to the surface – Bistro Thierry or France Soir (11 Toorak Road, South Yarra), ‘or’ being the operative word. Everybody thinks that one is better or worse than the other. I must ask why? Why is it that human nature specifies a stronger and a weaker and then evaluate so intensely? I look at these two beauties and say with confidence that both are different and special in their individual ways. On the topic of french food, I hear that Chez Bob – tucked away in Beatty avenue, Toorak and Chez Olivier in Greville Street Praharn are also serving up some fine produce too.
Bistro Thierry is positioned on Malvern Road, Toorak. You might know the area as Hawksburn village. This section of Malvern Road is a very popular destination for pricey ladieswear, homeware stores as well as multiple cafes and high-end gourmet produce stores. Thierry fits right into this precinct and is a local favourite. A classic french facade with a dark, striking awning and some tables outside - I would recommend to eat indoors any day of the week. How great to see the French and Australian flags flying high and mighty side by side from the roof of the popular destination.
The dining room is typically French, with waiters in shirts and vests and opulent table settings covered by white table cloths. An older crowd is usually drawn here although I am a typical Gen Y and this is one of my (many) favourite places. My feelings are so strong for Bistro that we went here for my birthday. If the MD Chommery went here for his birthday, then that is a big statement.
Salade Belge – Salad of Belgian endive, pears, walnuts and a mustard honey dressing ($17.50). A basic, yet delicious salad. Good to place in the middle and accompany a main dish. Pears are way too underused!
Coquilles – Pan seared scallops with blue swimmer crab bisque and pea puree ($39.00 – main). I ordered this dish last time I was here as an entree size, but four scallops did not suffice. The main size was just perfect. The scallops were very lightly cooked and pretty much melted in my mouth. The puree did not overpower the delicate flavour of the scallop and created a nice accompaniment. A pricey but delightful mouthful.
Yellow fin tuna tartare with mustard oil avacado mousse and horseradish foam ($25.50). Delightful.
Harictos verts Sautes – Sauteed beans with garlic and toasted almonds ($9.00). Heavily buttered and obviously very tasty. It almost defeats the purpose of aiming to put some healthy greens on the plate. What can you do?
Jarret de veau glace en cocotte – Braised veal shank with parsnips, baby carrots and a sweet garlic mash ($35.50). If I didn’t order the eye fillet, this would be my back up option. The veal was braised particularly well. You could tell this by how soft the meat was and how easily it fell apart. The addition of the steamed carrots and creamy mash only increased my fondness towards this choice. Top notch.
Bavette Grillee – Minute fillet steak with fries, salad and bearnaise sauce ($35.50). This would not be my dish of choice, I am more of the eye fillet man myself. Each to their own. This meal was still lapped up like all the food we had at Bistro. The bearnaise sauce is to die for. I fully support ordering it. Rich, creamy, mayonnaise mustard spread to put all over your meat. Heaven. Not to forget thin (almost Maccas style) chips. USE the sauce for the chips to. You will not regret it.
Boeuf a la Bourguignonne en croute – Beef braised in red wine, onions and mushrooms with a puff pastry shell, served with mash potato ($33.50). A typically french dish, the beef bourguignonne is a hearty, winter warmer with heavy red wine and onion flavours. The accompanying mash was silky and smooth. The ham chunks included in the dish were not particularly enjoyed but the beef was very tender.
Snapper on mash ($39.50). Not any marvellous comments to write, but a nice piece of fish. This is the healthy chommers option at Bistro. I am sure you can easily tell that the food offered here is on the heavier and richer side – as you would expect french food to be.
How can anyone go past an eye fillet steak? Above is the Le Steak-Frites 250gm – Eye fillet steak served with fries (alternative sauces are available – red wine or mushroom) ($39.50). A piece of beef cooked exactly to my liking (medium rare – naturally). A piece of meat that is to be eaten calmly and steadily in order to enjoy every bite (and not get indigestion). For this heavy piece of meat, 250 gram portion was the optimal size. Even enough to share a little with fellow diners. This is one truly epic dish that I would recommend you order when visiting this Bistro.
Magret de canard, sauce orange et coing – Oven roasted duck Magret, pumpkin puree and Szechuan pepper with sweet sherry, orange and quince sauce ($39.50). The duck was boneless and super tender. The outer layer was a thin, slightly crusted duck skin which made for a little crunch. The sauce was not heavy like the bearnaise, rather lightly sweet and not too overpowering. My third top dish from the nights escapades.
Bistro Thierry is an ideal spot to go to for a birthday, date, anniversary or any other celebratory rendevouz. I was very happy with my decision to dine here on my birthday and would recommend a visit. For convenience, bookings are gladly accepted and it is very suitable for oldies. Take note, there are no bargains to be found here by a long shot. We did drink some bottles of pinot, but we did not indulge in desserts and to a lesser extent entrees. Nevertheless, you only live once and the occasional special chom is always in order!
The Important Details…
Noise: Quite a bit
Suitable for: All – Older will appreciate more
Dress: More formal than usual
Price: $65 – $70 per head including alcohol
My View: A top place for a celebration
Address: 511 Malvern Road, Toorak
Phone: (03) 9824 0888