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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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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?