I love the seasons in Canberra because I love food. I love new menus and being drawn back to my favourite restaurants to try exciting dishes that celebrate the change in weather—especially winter warmer dishes that help us to take comfort from the cold.
Multiple award-winning Les Bistronomes in Braddon has recently launched its autumn/winter menu, with a stack of mouth-watering dishes. It’s a true experience dining at Les Bistronomes and it’s no wonder the restaurant holds two Australian Good Food and Travel Guide Chef Hats. Where do I begin?
I worship Chef Clement Chauvin for his amazing beef tartare and this special version is mandatory. The beef is grain fed and treated with total respect. A confit egg yolk sits pretty on top. All you do is gently mix, pop some mixture on top of the mandolin sliced, micro thin, crispy, gaufrette potatoes (served everywhere in France with tartar) and indulge. The horseradish element is the ‘winter warmer’ part of the dish. Favs remain on the entrée section (Les Bistronomes wouldn’t dare remove some), including the decadent garlic snails—for which the restaurant is famous.
New is the black pudding. Don’t hesitate to treat yourself to this dish, even if you’re not sure you’re a fan. Trust me, it’s delish. It’s made with pork and apple and served with a fried free range egg and a salad Lyonnaise, so very French, and, without giving any secrets away, the new French onion soup is delightful. Two of us couldn’t pass by the beef burgundy, a new star on the mains. No need to use a knife to cut through the braised beef cheeks in red wine. This dish is so soul satisfying, especially as it’s served with creamy soft polenta, mushrooms, and slow cooked onions.
The whole New Zealand lemon sole looks stunning on the plate and the fish, cooked to perfection, was moist and delicate. The forest mushrooms, and chestnut and beef burnt butter sauce ramped matters up considerably. And what about the sides? The kitchen excels at French peas and Les Bistronomes makes the most amazing fries. The simple fine-leaf salad with hazelnut vinaigrette is a perfect accompaniment to any dish.
Les Bistronomes has several mains for two to share (pre-ordering is recommended because they take 25 or 30 minutes to cook). Options include Clement’s signature ash-crusted duck a l’orange (served at the table in a dramatic way) and a Beef Wellington with foie gras.
Desserts are to die for and a feast for the eyes. Plating is so beautiful at Les Bistronomes. One of my favourite fruits is lemon and the Tarte Au Citron with blackberry sorbet and toasted meringue packs a punch on flavour. It’s a perfect texture and is bright and chirpy on the plate. If you’re keen on a traditional apple tart tatin for two, just pre-order. You’ll adore the triple vanilla bean ice cream. When you’re at Les Bistronomes, take time to talk to Sommelier Abel Bariller, a professional French Master Sommelier and a ‘Knight of Cognac’. His knowledge of wines, and how to match with food, is astronomical and he never hesitates to discuss options and motivate diners to experiment.
The dishes at Les Bistronomes are fabulous value for money (mains average at around $34; some of Canberra’s better restaurants are creeping beyond mid-$40s). The atmosphere is charming. The furniture is comfy. You simply can’t go wrong. And, beyond the new winter/autumn menu, stay tuned for the special Bastille Day menu (14 July) or the special Truffle Dinner menu (27 July or 3 August).