Right. Today looked like another rainy day would spoil my plans for a nice meal. My good friend was undeterred though, and decided that he’d drag me off anyway. So we took a train and a bus (so peasant status!) down to Woollahra, which is like this uber posh district. Our destination, Bistro Moncur, although we also got to 3 other nice places to check out. All of them were food related.

Bistro Moncur is owned and run by Damien Pignolet, who’s kinda like a big deal in the Sydney dining scene. Food wise, it’s mostly reknown for 2 items on the menu. One is a French Onion Souffle Gratin and the other is a Grilled Sirloin with Cafe de Paris Butter. We opt for both. The former to share as an entree and the latter all to myself. My mate got himself a bit of Kurobuta Pork Shoulder with Green Olive Tapenade, Roast Pumpkin & Cabbage.

We’re eating at a one hat joint here. The main reason for that is the simple cafe style fare as well as the casual dining style and service. Still, it’s nice, professional and wholly modern.

Inside, we get a ceiling lined with curved wooden slats, with a long black and white graphic on the side wall. My blurry pic above doesn’t really do too much justice but suffice to say, I loved the interior. A good touch was the use of a mirror on the far end, that made the space appear a whole lot larger and more spacious. The semi open kitchen was also beautiful and looked polished. The chefs busily ploughing away behind a glass panel, which provided a proximity as well as privacy.

This pic ripped off wikipedia shows so much more. Simple white linen tables with darkwood chairs, simply dressed waitstaff and a distinctly stylish crowd that day. We get some Sonoma sourdough and butter whilst we browsed the menu. I also got myself a nice little glass Longwood Shiraz, something I don’t normally drink.

If you see souffle on the menu, the restaurant’s either try hard and useless or it’s accomplished. The picture above shows a souffle overturned onto a plate, sauced with some soubise and cheese before being gratinated under a salamander. This is bravado and skill. It’s easy to see why it’s one of their famous dishes. It’s kinda like classic French, but with a twist, an unmoulded and gratinated souffle. Most peeps would freak out at trying to cook one.

It’s also quite perfect. The interior is evenly cooked throughout, neither gooey nor mushy nor dry and hard. It’s light and airy, aided and abetted in no small sum by the copious addition of the cheesey oniony cream sauce. I woulda licked the plate, were it not really warm.

This blurry picture shows a uniformly tender piece of Kurobuta Pork Shoulder that’s been slow roasted. It came sitting on a bed of cabbage and roasted pumpkin and topped with some green olive tapenade. It was a special on the day and my mate can’t resist pork on any menu so it was a no brainer. Flavor wise, I think it was a touch subjective. It went well together but it’s one of those dishes that is kinda disparate at the end of the day. Also, it doesn’t present too well. I had a good bite of some pork that caved in cleanly to one swift chomp of the teeth despite the fact that it was like mostly fatty tissue. It wasn’t chewy in the slightest.

Ah! The piece de resistance. The Grilled Sirloin with Cafe de Paris Butter. The shoestring fries I’ll pass on. They’re not my scene. I ordered it rare, as I always do and it came rare, which is not a common thing. That’s awesome already. Next thing, the meat was rested. No sign of blood or juices spilling out. Not easy given my steak’s rare and still full of juice. Also they have to keep it warm. Then I notice this wonderful aroma of curry and spices, along with butter and beef and parsley. It’s so awesome. The steak was pre cut for me. One thing I was sad about was the missing strip of fat running across the top. I suppose it’s not something most people would eat but I would. Still, the steak was superb. Awesomely tender, it was definitely one good piece of meat cooked very well. The sauce though, the sauce… That shit was on fire. Complex, spiced, earthy but fresh, laced with lemons and complimented the steak so perfectly. I was so enamoured I had to go to Kinokuniya later just to find the recipe for it. Would come back again just for this awesome sauce $41.50 steak. It’s on par with the best steaks I’ve had ever. I don’t give a hoot where you ate or if it was Kobe/Wagyu/USDA Prime/Angus etcetcetc. I’ll take whatever Mr. Pignolet makes instead right now for what I believe is a very fair sum.

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