By Age Good Food Guide
French farmhouse bistro, straight out of an M.F.K Fisher vision.
This restaurant (down a rough-grown garden path, towards a barn-like cottage overlooking a verdant valley) nails the whole French farmhouse bistro thing, with an Antipodean twist. Stuart Bell’s menu seems traditional at first glance – steak tartare, canard a l’orange, crème caramel – but look to prawns poached in vanilla set on fluffy brioche with avocado and a dill-tinged yogurt sauce. Salmon gravlax, thrown in with sweet, pickled beetroot, is lifted with sauce gribiche. Salad nicoise uses barely seared tuna steaks in place of the classic tinned, accompanied by proper soft-boiled, sunrise-yolked eggs, tender potatoes and olive tapenade-dressed beans. The richness of the roasted pork rack, crunched up with a strip of crackling and dressed with pork jus, is offset smartly with the sweetness of juicy, spiced plums. The sense of Franco-reverie is enhanced by both the service and French-leaning wine list. Desserts, including a rough-cut orange-infused crème caramel and a crisp-based tarte tatin, are excellent renditions of long-lived dishes.