By now I’m sure you know that I love French food. Recently at the OpenAir Cinema while waiting in the queue we got chatting to the people next to us in the queue. It turns out that that day they had gone to Palm Beach to Bistro Rivage for breakfast (a specially catered event), and I had gone to Palm Beach, to The Boat House. It’s funny that I have driven right past Bistro Rivage many times, on the bend just before the Palm Beach Golf Club / the park leading up to Barrenjoey. And so I just had to get to Bistro Rivage to see what it was like. How close was it to a French bistro? Was it just a restaurant with French-style food, but not really close to being a French bistro?
If you know Palm Beach, I’m sure you recognize this. About 5 months ago Bistro Rivage took over the premises from another restaurant.
I didn’t get to the previous restaurant, but I suspect the decor remains as it was.
The meal had to begin with some kir royal. Also served were some baguette slices which were crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.
The menu is traditional bistro fare, well balanced to be sure to provide something to suit all palates and levels of hunger.
Today I wanted to sample all three courses, so for Entrée chose the Tranche de Saumon avec Haricot Verts (salmon slice with green beans and sauce tartare).
The salmon was so light and tender, melting in the mouth, served with a dill-based tartare. Lovely.
The Bistro Rivage mains includes classics Duck Confit and Steak Frites, plus others such as an organic chicken salad in light provencale spices.
Normally if there’s duck on the menu I’ll choose that, but the special dish today was coq au vin. I’ve cooked that and wondered how it would compare.
The duck was served as a plate with 4 kipfler potatoes and then with a crock full of the chicken mixture. I spooned some of the chicken and mushrooms and eschallots onto the plate with the potatoes. The dish was as rich-flavoured and luscious as I was hoping. The serve was so generous that I could eat only half.
Now, what to choose for dessert? The tarte tatin was recommended, and I decided to go with that.
The tarte tatin, accompanied with a vanilla ice cream, was one of the best I’ve eaten in a long time. The apple melted in your mouth, and was wonderfully caramelized. I hesitate to use superlatives because they can set unrealistic expectations, so I’ll just say this: it was very good.
A suggestion was made to try the RinQuinQuin peach liqueur with the dessert. And I’m so glad I did try it with the dessert and coffee. Sometimes liqueurs and dessert wines can be too sweet, but this was light and a perfect accompaniment to the tarte tatin. Apparently the RinQuinQuin is made by combining white wine with infusions and distillations of peaches and peach leaves, for six months to a year.
The coffee, too, was just what I wanted: good strength long black coffee, strong but not bitter.
Based on one visit only, Bistro Rivage provides traditional French bistro meals, with excellent service. Admittedly it was a quiet day, and so all patrons received plenty of attention. I overheard some people at another table commenting that it was the best meal they’d had in a long time, and these were people who had travelled over the years and knew what to expect in a French meal. I’d agree with them. Now I’d like to return and see what it’s like on a busier day, and to try more items on the menu, with every dish sounding tempting.
Cafe Lyon in Lindfield has bistro-styled food, modernised, also very good. At Bistro Rivage it’s more traditional bistro food.
I hope Bistro Rivage does well. It provides another option for good food on the Pittwater Peninsula, and worth travelling to for some scrumptious French food.
Here are the details about Bistro Rivage at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.
||1 Beach Road, Palm Beach, NSW, 2108
||+612 9974 1159
||Friday-Monday: lunch and dinner
Live music Sundays 1-4pm
For the details, see the menu.
Have you discovered any good French bistros / restaurants lately? Where?