Yuye took me to Chez Olivier Le Bistro in Prahran for my birthday the other week (I know, I had a lot of birthday dinners, another one with my family to come :P). Chez Olivier is set amongst art and fashion stores on a small street in Prahran (near the Prahran Station), it really does feel like the Paris of Melbourne in that neighbourhood. I absolutely adored its petiteness (in other words cuteness), exclusivity and very French decor as well as the lovely waiter/waitress who served us (they spoke in beautiful French accents).
They also have a nice selection of wines (which we unfortunately didn’t have) in their bar area as well as intriguing empty wine bottles that line the walls. There are personalised writing on some of the bottles and some of them even date back to when I was born (now that is old).
We were seated in the front dining room where other couples were enjoying a quiet meal and I just loved their rustic tables with squeaky clean wine glasses and immaculate table settings. It makes me feel classy but yet very comfortable :).
We were served with a basket of fresh French baguette bread and butter. It was very nice bread although I didn’t have many (trying to leave room for the dishes to come :D).
We ordered quite a few things – first up was the Seafood Bisque ($16) with mussels, scallops and prawns in a perfectly laid out dish. The soup was rich and full of flavour – a perfect start to the night (and remained a highlight for me). I finished it off by soaking it up with the remaining bread…so delicious!
We then ordered the Tasting Platter ($20). I was expecting a few more warm things but it was mostly made up of cured meats (which were lovely). There was also a small seafood bisque (which we already ordered so this would have been nicer being another dish), a fresh oyster (I’d have preferred a bit of lemon with this), an escargot in butter, parsley and garlic sauce (which Yuye said needed more salt), smoked salmon with basil pesto, 2 seasoned mussels and finally a piece of tapenade topped baguette. Not my favourite dish of the day but it does give a nice all-rounder of French flavours.
For mains, Yuye ordered the Cuisse de Canard Confite (duck leg confit with cider & Calvados sauce, mushrooms and pommes Sarladaises which is potatoes cooked in duck fat) for $33. This was quite lovely with a hint of sweet and creaminess to the sauce and the mushrooms were quite flavourful. The duck leg was slightly dry and overcooked though (just slightly).
I ordered a special of the day – rib eye with truffled mash in a wild mushroom sauce ($51). The beef was cooked perfectly and I do mean PERFECTLY. I always ask for rare and it was just that – so juicy and tender and red in the middle (silly me for not taking a photo of the inside). However, I was a bit disappointed with the mash. I was expecting a nice truffle aroma (at least in smell), however it wasn’t at all truffled. In this respect, I found this dish to be a bit overpriced (it would have been ok if I could actually smell/taste the truffles). Also, there were no visible mushrooms (nor did it really taste like mushrooms) so wasn’t sure if it was a mistake or there wasn’t meant to be mushrooms? I was almost going to take Yuye’s mushrooms to add it to the steak :S.
We also ordered a side of green beans in garlic and parsley ($9). It was perfectly crunchy and went very well with the veggieless mains. The waitress did a good job in recommending this!
We felt very gluttonous that day (or just me really) and we both ordered coffee and dessert. I believe this was the first time we ordered 2 desserts between us after eating a pretty filling meal and we nearly died from eating too much. The coffees and desserts were quite nice though. Yuye ordered a latte and I ordered a cappuccino. The coffees were served in the cutest glass mugs ever! I wanted to ask them where I can buy some but forgot due to my bloatedness. The mugs were made of very thin glass, made into two layers so it wasn’t hot at all to hold – so very refined and light!
The desserts were also very tasty. Yuye ordered the Orange and Cointreau Creme Brulee ($15) where the waiter actually melted the sugar with a flame torch right in front of our eyes! It was mesmerising and quite fun to watch. The sugar was perfectly melted (he was very skilled indeed) and was just the right crunchiness all around. The creme was richly aromatic from the orange and cointreau flavours. Yuye couldn’t really finish it though so I had to finish the last scoop. Can’t let it go to waste!
I ordered the Self Saucing, Self Indulging Chocolate Fondant ($16) – enough said? I was totally indulged. So much so that I couldn’t walk out the door – it was so big and rich!! A great dessert for chocolate lovers (perhaps I wasn’t as chocolate loving as I thought but it was still great, for the first few mouthfuls). I think next time, we’ll stick to getting only one dessert.
Overall a lovely experience. Although slightly expensive (it was about $167 for the two of us) but we did order quite a few things and most dishes were to our taste (especially the seafood bisque!). Recommended for anyone wanting to try authentic French food coupled with a good ambience and great service. They also have another store in Elsternwick (Chez Olivier L’Epicerie). I think they have the same menu but I wouldn’t mind trying it out to see the difference between the two.
Chez Olivier Le Bistro
Phone: (03) 9525 2273
121 Greville Street, Prahran VIC