Archives For Northern Beaches

Bistro Rivage, Palm Beach

February 12, 2013 — 4 Comments

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?

Bistro Rivage - outside 2

If you know Palm Beach, I’m sure you recognize this. About 5 months ago Bistro Rivage took over the premises from another restaurant.

Bistro Rivage - outside 1

I didn’t get to the previous restaurant, but I suspect the decor remains as it was.

Bistro Rivage - room

The Food

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.

Bistro Rivage - table

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).

Bistro Rivage - salmon

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.

Bistro Rivage - Coq au Vin

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.

Bistro Rivage - tarte tatin

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.

Bistro Rivage - dessert

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.

Conclusion

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.

Details

Here are the details about Bistro Rivage at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.

Web site http://www.bistrorivage.com.au//
Address 1 Beach Road, Palm Beach, NSW, 2108
Phone +612 9974 1159
Open Friday-Monday: lunch and dinner
Live music Sundays 1-4pm
Menu Entrées: $18.50
Plats: $29.50
Desserts: $14.00
For the details, see the menu.
Bistro Rivage on Urbanspoon


Have you discovered any good French bistros / restaurants lately? Where?

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“My Happy Place”. That’s how I think of The Armchair Collective in Mona Vale. Over the past year or so, it has become a favourite place, a place to which I love returning.

Why is that? Is it the atmosphere, with the fun furniture and other odds and ends for sale, colourful, with lots of textures? Or is it the jumbled collection of things spread throughout the cafe, so there’s always something new or different to see wherever you are? Or is it the consistently good food? Or is it the friendly staff? Or is it that the people and the vibe all fit the beach feel? Or? All of the above.

Armchair Collective Mona Vale

The Armchair Collective is a sister to The Boat House at Palm Beach. It has many things in common with The Boat House, with a similar menu, scaled down a bit, and masses of flowers for sale.

The Environment

While being seated at a table surrounded by furniture or other things sounds like it could be like being in the middle of a furniture shop, it’s nothing like that. The colours and the textures and fabrics add a relaxed and happy vibe.

Armchair Collective, Mona Vale - collection 3

Everywhere you look are things to tempt you – furniture, teapots, teatowels, flowers, yummy food, sweets to take away such as caramels and fudge.

Armchair Collective, Mona Vale - collection 1

Rather than being jumbled and over-full, somehow the large bunches of flowers and all sorts of interesting goodies seem to add to a feeling of abundance.

Armchair Collective, Mona Vale - collection 2

The Food

The food at Armchair is good everyday food, but tasty, interesting, and good quality.  Whatever I’ve eaten there has been better than I was expecting.

Green papaya squid salad - with Thai dressing, peanuts, and crispy fried onion

Green papaya squid salad – with Thai dressing, peanuts, and crispy fried onion

The squid salad was a perfect balance between salty and sweet, with lots of textures and flavours in there.

Berry smoothie (huge) and coffee

Berry smoothie (huge) and coffee

Milkshakes and smoothies are served in those old-fashioned bottles, with huge serves.

Moroccan chicken salad - with chickpeas, pistachio, sweet potato, snow peas, and minted yoghurt

Moroccan chicken salad – with chickpeas, pistachio, sweet potato, snow peas, and minted yoghurt

The menu usually includes a few different salads, so you’d be sure to find something to suit. And not just your average salad, with interesting combinations of ingredients.

Roast vegetable rosti

Roast vegetable rosti

The rosti is something light for breakfast. Breakfast is served daily from 7:30 am.

Wild mushroom bruschetta - with balsamic reduction, fetta cheese, pine nuts on rye toast

Wild mushroom bruschetta – with balsamic reduction, fetta cheese, pine nuts on rye toast

The mushroom is on the part of the menu available all day, from 7:30am – 3pm.

Winter pie

Winter pie

The menu varies with the seasons. A hearty winter pie or freshly made soup are ideal in the middle of winter.

Tomato soup (winter menu)

Tomato soup (winter menu)

And now for one of the Collective classics, the burger. There’s no way that you can that without some disassembly!

Collective beef burger - with beetroot marmalade, tasty cheese, fresh tomato, onion, with thick cut chips

Collective beef burger – with beetroot marmalade, tasty cheese, fresh tomato, onion, with thick cut chips

The thick cut chips at Collective are a specialty: crisp on the outside, soft in the middle. Many people order just a bowl of chips with an aoili or mayonnaise.

Steak sandwich (earlier menu)

Steak sandwich (earlier menu)

It’s all good everyday dining food, with something to suit every palate.

With Mona Vale beach being a short stroll away, after a good meal at Armchair, a walk along the beach is perfect, breathing in that fresh ocean air.

Details

Here are the details about The Armchair Collective at time of posting. Please check their web site for more current details.

Web site http://www.thearmchair.com.au/
Address 9A Darley St East, Mona Vale NSW 2103
Phone 02 9999 2871
Open Open daily 7:00-4:00
Breakfast 7:30-Noon & Lunch Noon-3:00
Menu
  • Breakfast (served before 12pm):
    • Priced from $6-17
    • Includes Sonoma walnut & raisin toast with fruit compote & ricotta, a variety of egg dishes, oatmeal and buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and blueberry ricotta.
  • All day menu (from 7:30 am to 3 pm):
    • Priced $8-17
    • Includes items such as a sesame bagel with smoked ocean trout, neufchatel cream cheese & baby capers, or the wild mushroom bruschetta in a photo above.
  • Lunch menu (12 – 3 pm):
    • Priced $17-25
    • Includes beer battered fish & chips with house-made tartare, or Armchair Salad (with roasted beetroot, quinoa, spinach, goats cheese, sesame seeds and pine nuts), or the Collective Burger (in the photo above), or a Vegetable Burger, or several salads.
The Armchair Collective on Urbanspoon

Where is your favourite “local” – a place you can keep on returning and love it every time?