Restaurant and food reviews from Perth, Australia

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bouchon Bistro, Wembley (June 2010)

There's something about French food that gives it that perception of refinement and classiness.  With a host of delicacies, fine wines and champagnes, and their like of long drawn out meals eating slowly, it's no wonder why their way of eating can be seen as a basis for many fine dining eating establishments.

So here I am, brought back to one of my favourite French restaurants in Perth - Bouchon Bistro.  Although I have reviewed/blogged this restaurant before (click here for more details about the restaurant and a prior review), I thought that it might be an idea to show off more of chef de cuisine or head chef Gwenaël Lesle’s creations… and hey, I can’t see the harm in revisiting restaurants with a view to disseminating more photos and reviews.

Walking into the French bistro style restaurant very soon after its 6:30pm opening time, I am greeted by a familiar face - restaurant manager Philippe Kordics who upon seeing me smiles and says “no truffle ice cream” referring to my own unfortunate dislike of truffle infused ice cream which was included in a degustation I had there some time ago.

As I said in my earlier review, despite an a la carte and set menu available, I tend to only have the ever evolving degustation meal these days (currently $100 per head) which requires at least one day's advance notice. However, due to this being a weeknight dinner, I opted not to have any alcohol that night (including the 6 matching wines for $50 extra).

That crusty baguette with French butter

Snail Croquette on goats cheese; Anchovy on pea, and apple and sultana; Profiterole of garlic mash and mushroom

The snail croquette had a slice of snail that had quite a strong snail taste to it. The rest of the croquette was filled with matching savoury tasting minced filling, and the croquette was crumbed and fried. The goats cheese base was very light and soft with a mild goats cheese flavour.

The anchovy was deep fried with a light batter, and put on a bed of half an opened baby pea and lightly caramelised apple and sultana. The anchovy was not at all strongly flavoured and didn’t seem salty either. It had been lightly battered similar to a tempura batter and fried. The baby pea was so “baby” it looked quite cute and had a very subtle young taste to it, whilst the apple and sultana gave a sweetness to contrast the otherwise light fishy and fried anchovy taste.

The profiterole was cut in half and filled like a sandwich with a garlic mash and a slice of a mushroom. The profiterole was placed on a thin layer of a sticky, thick and sweet sauce. Eating this profiterole in whole had a good combined flavour with the light garlic mash, and the mushroom’s nearly delicate taste and slight crunch working together for an overall light savoury bite sized piece.

Spatchcock sausage on white bean remoulade; spatchcock liver parfait; fruit and nut bread

The spatchcock sausage, which was a slice of a bigger and thicker sausage and lightly pan-fried, was light yet marinated with flavour and a nice modest amount of saltiness. The sausage meat was soft and meaty, didn’t seem fatty, and then covered with a sausage skin made of spatchcock skin. Not a standard sausage for sure - not even close; but rather a light and meaty way to serve spatchcock that seemed to fall halfway between a sausage and lightly pan-fried spatchcock.

The spatchcock sausage

The spatchcock liver parfait had all the makings of a parfait with a liver taste, a reasonably smooth but still parfait-like texture; and the medium-dark parfait colour and look.

The fruit and nut bread was buttered and toaster pressed such that it was slightly crispy and dense, whilst the fruit gave the moderate sweetness you would expect when added to bread.

Beef cheek croquette; Corn custard with green pea

The beef cheek filling was cooked till it was completely softened and unlike previous times I have had a beef cheek croquette, this one came with a fair amount of carrot and a type of mushroom similar to straw mushroom. The baby carrot was carved into little slices whilst the mushroom added an almost refreshing like texture and subtle taste that was welcome in an otherwise strong and beef cheek heavy serving. The croquette came in an overall cube shape, lightly crumbed and fried golden brown with a lightly crispy exterior.

The corn custard had a prominent corn taste with a nice blend of corn sweetness and lightly added salt that made this very edible (I find that large amounts of corn that is made too sweet or salty can be a bit too much for my palate). The corn custard had a blended pea topping that whilst having a green pea colour was very mild in green pea taste and very light and nearly fluffy in texture that it helped make the corn custard the centre of this part of the dish rather than overpower it.

Pan fried mullet on a bed of shallot and grapefruit and capsicum; Mustard seed cream; Cured duck

The pan fried red mullet had a crispy skin, and was lightly sprinkled with salt and black pepper. The fish was cooked just right, retaining a soft and light texture whilst being cooked through. When added to the mustard cream (which had a savoury and slightly sweet mustard seed and cream taste, but the texture of a paste), this combination was overall light in flavour that enhanced each other. The bed of shallot, grapefruit and capsicum lightened the dish further with a light refreshing feel. Even though for me this was quite a different way of eating fish, I found it rather enjoyable.

The mustard cream

The cured duck had a saltiness to reflect its curing, was slightly moist and near-rubbery, and was served with thin strands of a sweetened orange skin.

Lime granita with fresh orange

This palate cleanser came in chilled shooter glasses of varying colours that made a colourful break in the décor so far. The lime granita was a subtle blend of lime flavour and sweetness, whilst the granita texture was of a flaky and soft iced granita like texture that made it easy to eat.

Lamb loin wrapped in pancetta; Lamb leg with basil pesto; Grape tomato

This was the main course for the meal (out of a choice of salmon or lamb).

The lamb loin was cooked medium rare, with a pink tinge through most of the centre area of the lamb making it tender. The lamb was lightly marinated and coated with some black pepper before being wrapped by the pancetta. The lamb loin was then served on top of a slightly sweet jus and brussel sprout leaves.

The lamb leg

The lamb leg was cooked through and so soft that it nearly effortlessly broke apart when you cut into it. The lamb leg also seemed like it had been post-cooking pan-fried to give it a light crispness and pan-fried taste. The lamb leg was topped with a portion of basil pesto that was light and complimentary in flavour. Below the lamb leg was some chutney jam and a base that seemed like it was made with parsnip and a light cheese taste.

To finish the dish, a thin layer of cooked zucchini was placed at the top of the dish, topped with two grape tomatoes that were almost pickled in a sweet and sour tasting sauce.

Salad (to accompany the mains)

The salad had gourmet lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, and was dressed with vinegar, olive oil, salt and black pepper. The tastes throughout this (and in particular the vinegar and salt) were relatively mild such that they all blended in together to make a nice and simple side salad.


The choice of pre-dessert (or cheese) was selected over the cheese course for this degustation.

The pre-dessert was a multi-layered combination of flavours. On the base was a granny smith and rosemary compote, topped with a cinnamon custard, topped with burnt sugar ice cream, topped with celery foam, and finished with coffee crumble. Each layer contributed to the whole to make this an exciting pre-dessert of multiple flavours and textures.

Dessert: Green tea macadamia tart; chocolate ice cream; pina colada foam; strawberries

The green tea and macadamia tart was served warm and had a flaky and buttery shortcrust pastry. The green tea had a more Japanese green tea like taste to it, though saying that the green tea taste was not overpowering at all in the dessert. The macadamia taste brought on by finely ground macadamias was mildly stronger in taste, whilst the whole warmed pastry finished off the tart into a more savoury style dessert.

The chocolate ice cream was chocolate rich, creamy and smooth, and shaped into a quenelle. Alongside the ice cream were the lightly flavoured pina colada foam and a light, thin and crispy buttery cracker.

To finish off the dish, the strawberry was sliced into quarters, softened a bit and soaked in a thick and sweet sauce.

Once again Bouchon Bistro, with its French chef and obvious French flavours, offers some interesting and well made dishes that sit on the French side of cuisine rather than an all out French influenced modern fusion. Though my own personal preference for fine dining is headed more towards modern Australian/International, it’s always good to revisit favourites that have their own personal touch and style.

Points to note: French cuisine with a touch of modern offered as a la carte, set menu, or "surprise" degustation. The restaurant is true to its name a bistro style restaurant, and fully licensed with a range of wines including many French selections, and there is an option to have six (pretty much) full pours of wine to go with the degustation meal.

Go for: Excellent French cuisine, including a 7 course degustation for those who would like to sample head chef Gwenaël Lesle’s latest creations.

Bouchon Bistro
363A Cambridge Street
(08) 9387 3898

Trading Hours:
Tuesday to Saturday: 6:30 to late

Bouchon Bistro on Urbanspoon

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