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Sous le Soleil (“Under the sun”) have two restaurants, one in St Ives, and one in Roseville. This is about a meal at the St Ives one, in the old Headmaster’s Cottage.

As you walk in to the old house, the rooms at the front have all sorts of French things for sale, including soaps, lotions, and art. The restaurant is in the back half of the house, spilling out onto an outdoor terrace.

There’s something warm and intimate about the rooms inside the house, with the terrace being much more open and airy, so you can choose the location with the atmosphere you prefer. It was a cool day when I visited, so I was glad to be indoors.

While I was waiting for my meal to arrive, I enjoyed nibbling on some very tasty sourdough, which had been toasted, so was crispy on the outside, and soft and warm on the inside. I think the heat brought out the fullness of the flavour, which had an almost nuttiness to it.

They had some tempting things on the menu, such lamb shank pie, or nicoise salad. Normally I choose something which seems unique to each place, to try something different (unless it’s a favourite, like char kway teo, when I’ll choose it frequently). This time I knew I was having dinner out, so didn’t want a heavy meal. And so I chose the carpaccio of peppered veal with fig, grapes, Kipfler potatoes and a salad of beetroot, melba toast, and horseradish cream.

The plate looked a work of art. The kipfler potatoes were in small chunks, half-hidden under the melba toast in the picture above. The horseradish and the pepper added two different sorts of zing to the lightly seared veal. There was a good mix of textures and flavours, which kept every mouthful interesting.

As that was light, there was just enough room for a light dessert, still not wanting to overdo it for lunch. I chose the “Rosedale Delight”: strawberry and rosewater fool, fresh strawberries drizzled with Grand Marnier and topped with a toasted meringue.

The strawberry and rosewater fool was light and not too sweet, with the rosewater not overpowering it, but adding a gentleness to it. A gorgeous, light dessert.

The staff were friendly and helpful. Now I’d like to try the Roseville Sous le Soleil, to see how they compare.

Details

Here are the details for Sous le Soleil at St Ives. Check their web site for current information.

Web site http://www.slshome.com.au
Address 175 Rosedale Road (corner of Mona Vale Rd), St Ives NSW 2075
Phone (02) 9983 1188
Open Tuesday to Saturday:
Lunch: 12.00pm -2.00pm
Dinner: 6.00pm – Close
Menu French, Mains: $18-$31
Sous Le Soleil on Urbanspoon


How do you choose what to order? Tried and true, old favourites? Or, something new?

Istana, Thornleigh

March 21, 2011 — 6 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?