Archives For prawns

Café Lyon, Lindfield

October 17, 2011 — 2 Comments

A month or two back I’d read in the SMH about the opening of a new French bistro in Lindfield, Café Lyon, so I just had to try it out.

The menu is fixed, with the choice of 3 dishes for each of the 3 courses, at $65. The menu mostly changes every week, with a few favourites staying on there, and other favourites make repeat appearances every so often.

On a Saturday night there are two “sittings”, the first starting about 6pm, and we were told on booking, and again several times that we needed to be out by 8pm. That seemed limiting at first, but worked out OK, although it did mean eating and running, rather than lingering over the meal for more conversation. If a longer time is needed, I would suggest booking the later session.

Seeing we knew the time was limited we were there right on time at 6pm, but it took a bit for the staff to get their act together, which I thought was a bit odd seeing the time limit had been stressed. Once they did get going, the service was friendly and helpful. Maybe that’s all part of learning what works in a new-ish restaurant.

The tables were close together (although not as close as in France), with starched-white table cloths topped with white paper. The atmosphere was elegant but relaxed.

The wine list was not huge, but had enough choices between local and French wines.

Appetiser

I wasn’t going to take any photos of the dinner – sometimes you just want to be “in the moment” without any distractions – but when one of my friends asked about not taking any photos, well from then on I just had to. So… there are no photos of the first course.

I ordered a delightful dish with smoked salmon, topped with prawns in a tempura batter, drizzled with a citrus sauce and decorated with fish roe. Apparently this is one of the dishes which stays on the menu, and I can understand why: it’s light, tasty, with a combination of textures.

Mains

One of my friends ordered the barramundi, served on a bed of potatoes and onions:

I ordered the quail ballotine, stuffed with spinach, and also served on a bed of potatoes and onions, but with peas. The sauce was rich, full of flavour.

And then another friend had the lamb shanks, served on polenta. It was all that you would expect: rich tomato sauce and vegies, with tender meat.

Dessert

There was a parfait with white chocolate and honeycomb, with strawberries:

The ice-cream in the parfait was firm, with the honeycomb providing crunch.

And I ordered the pear tarte tatin:

The pastry was wonderfully caramelized, sitting on a rich caramel sauce dotted with finely crushed nuts, and served with vanilla ice-cream. I loved it all, with the caramel sauce and tarte and ice-cream all complementing each other well. I’d order it again.

The third option on the dessert menu was a cheese dish. None of my group ordered that, so I didn’t see how that looked.

Afters

The coffee was served in gorgeous red cups (alas, I didn’t take a photo!). Along with the coffee came some tiny treats: mini almond biscotti and berry jellies. Both gorgeous, and a good finish to the meal.

Petit fours

Conclusion

The serves were not huge, but you realized by the end of the meal that they were just right. It’s not haute cuisine or a 3-hatted restaurant, providing lots of “wow!”, but good bistro food. Three courses for $65 is a good price. Knowing that the menu changes regularly, I can imagine quite a few people make regular returns. I know I will.

Details

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

Web site http://cafelyon.com.au/
Address 366 Pacific Highway, Lindfield 2070, NSW
Phone (02) 9416 5026
Open lunch, Mon-Fri; dinner, Mon-Sat
Menu $65 for the 3-course meal, plus more for drinks
Cafe Lyon on Urbanspoon


What’s your favourite local French restaurant?

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Istana, Thornleigh

March 21, 2011 — 7 Comments

We called and made a reservation for dinner at Istana on a Saturday night, and we were very glad when we arrived that we had done that, with people queuing at the door, and a full restaurant. Istana is ordinary decor-wise, with table-cloths and decor looking a bit dated.

We had planned to order the Hainanese chicken, a curry prawns dish and a curry eggplant, wanting a few spicy things. The fellow taking our order said that the Shangtung chicken, with chicken rice, would be better. All a bit funny the way that happened, but we were willing to give it a try.

Here are the prawns we started with, cut in half lengthwise, still in their shells:

They were tasty, tasting of chili and a fish-sauce mix. Maybe it’s just my background, but I didn’t so much enjoy the prawn shells still being on, extracting the prawns from the shells. Seemed a bit fiddly.

The eggplant tasted just how it looks in the photo, not like what we expected, which was for it to be in a curry sauce.

The dishes so far were so-so, in my view. It was the next dishes that I loved. The chicken rice was so full of flavour I would be happy to just eat that and nothing else. This is not a good photo, but I have included it because it does show the glistening of the rice:

The flavour was full of chicken, edged with lemongrass. Oh so good.

The photo at the top shows the Shantung chicken, deliciously tender, but with the skin crispy. Served with a sauce which was a little sweet, and vinegary, with some chili. Also very good.

In summary, then, some elements of the experience were ordinary, but I’d go back for the Shangtung chicken and the chicken rice. Maybe some of others would also be as good.

Details

Here are the details about Istana at time of publishing this post. Call them for current details.

Web site Istana doesn’t have a web site yet.
Address Shop 15a, 230-238 Pennant Hills Rd, Thornleigh, NSW 2120
Phone (02) 9481 8855
Menu Malaysian Chinese, mains $20-35
Istana on Urbanspoon


So, where is your favourite Malaysian restaurant?