Sunday, September 23, 2018

Bistro Gitan, South Yarra

For my birthday this year, Tim asked me where I would like to go to dinner.  Three years ago, we had gone to 25 Toorak Road, a lovely French restaurant, so I nominated to repeat the experience.  Sadly, 25 Toorak Road is no more, so Tim nominated three other French restaurants for me to choose from.  

I selected Bistro Gitan, as having done my research, I liked the sound of the atmosphere and the location, and the service and food also received great reviews. 

Bistro Gitan did not disappoint.  It is located in a Victorian building opposite leafy Fawkner Park, and has a warm, cosy atmosphere, enhanced by an open fireplace:

The restaurant is a collaboration between Melbourne restaurateur, Jacques Reymond, and his children, and its name means "Gypsy".  The food draws from French bistros, with Spanish, Italian and Mediterranean influences.

The service was charming from start to finish, with the front of house staff being friendly, informative and efficient.

We started our meal with three "petite" dishes to share.  First up was the escargot with garlic butter and almonds ($15): 

We ordered this because neither of us had ever tried escargot before.  Before the dish arrived, I was anticipating a Pretty Woman moment.  However, with the chefs wisely knowing that the majority of us have no idea how to eat snails out of a shell, they came served in a little dish with individual wells, sans shell.  I enjoyed the escargot, but will have to admit the overwhelming taste was garlic, so I am not sure if that means I like snails or not.  The toast served with the escargot was perfect for soaking up all the beautiful garlicky, buttery sauce left in the wells.

Next up, we ordered on the daily specials, pork rillettes with pickled onion, cucumber and cornichons ($10):

This was delicious, though we could have used a couple of extra slices of toast so that there was enough to spread the glorious rillettes on.

Our other petite dish was another daily special, carrots with pistachio and yoghurt ($8): 

The carrots were tender and sweet, and complemented by the creamy yoghurt and crunchy pistachios.  This was another lovely dish. 

Onto main courses, and Tim ordered a 250g grass fed eye fillet steak with pommes Pont Neuf (aka French fries) and Gitan dressing ($44), served medium rare:

I ordered a daily special, barramundi with fennel, white beans and peas ($40):

I loved the crispy, flavourful skin on the flaky barramundi, and the choice of vegetables was subtle enough that the flavour of the fish was not overwhelmed.

We also ordered two sides - the beautifully smooth spinach a la crème ($9):

and the steamed seasonal vegetables ($9):

Of course, no birthday dinner is complete without dessert.  I ordered the quince tarte tatin ($16) -

The pastry was beautifully caramelised and crunchy, while the quince was perfectly jammy.  Delicious!

Tim ordered a citrus dacquoise made with pistachio, and yuzu sorbet ($16):

Tim was not as enamoured of his dessert as I was with mine, and felt that my dessert was the pick.  Having a small taste of Tim's dessert, I would have to agree.  It wasn't bad by any means, but just wasn't as good as the tarte tatin.

We had a lovely evening at Bistro Gitan, and I would happily return there. 

Bistro Gitan
52 Toorak Road West
South Yarra VIC 3141

1 comment:

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe at Pretty Woman moment-I always think of that film when I see snails and I always mutter "slippery little suckers" under my breath. Happy Birthday Cakelaw! :D