Bistrot du Drame, Bistrot du Moine…

Pencell is one of the best PR agencies we have collaborated with, their people are funny, friendly, professional and committed, even here… even tonight…

  • Where is the valet parking? I asked
  • He will be back in a minute, he is parking a car…
  • You mean to say there is only one person? I enquired
  • Yes…

Chicho and I had booked at the avant premiere of Star Wars tonight at midnight and were ready for a good meal…

And so it began… A long long time ago in a galaxy far… no… wrong intro…

Oui bon… We Actually had to wait for about 5 min for someone to take our car, mind you… not that I prefer a valet parking, it’s simply because there was no space available and I wasn’t familiar with the area…

We were greeted at the door and showed were the gathering was taking place…

Bistrot du Moine had spared no effort to blend architecturally a modern design with a monastery interior with a “voute” ceiling… (a Jedi Council i thought) wooden chairs and tables were very neat, very classy…  very holy atomosthere until somewhere,  the door of the kitchen opened and yelling was clearly heard in the dining room… stupeur ! It was apparently the chef addressing his staff… vigorously

I was wearing a manteau (coat) and I clearly couldnt be seated with it… so I removed it and looked around to see if the supervisor or a waiter would ask to take it off my hands… but no… so I kept it uncomfortably on my lap and waited to see if someone will ever notice… Peine perdu…

Kate and Leopold were sitting right in front of us and Chicho was on my left, Haru San on my right… The team was complete…

The food started arriving to our table and no one cared about my overwhelmingly obvious coat… so I finally asked a waiter who replied every so politely: of course Monsieur…

It was obvious they had good people for staff: They were polite, however horribly untrained… they were nervous, unsure what to do, with apparently no leadership behind them…

More yelling was heard from the kitchen side…

A waiter came over and asked each one of us about the type of wine we would we want: white or red… I was stunned, I mean, they didn’t present us with the menu, how would we know what to drink if we didn’t know what we were going to eat… so I asked a friend from Pencell who replied that it was a set menu but wasn’t familiar with what’s on it…

  • What was the menu I enquired with a waiter?
  • Mostly fish, he replied…

Mostly fish it is then… so hey, let’s have white wine shall we?

The Butter and Bread were already on the table, (special thumbs up for the butter aux herbes)

Publish 1

The first salad arrived: The Salade Sucrine (baby gem salad), the only decent salad among all what was presented to us, it was fresh and light with its echalottes and 3 different tomato types, brought together with a herbal sauce… the sundried tomatoes were the winning factor inside it, they complimented the fresh acidic taste of the whole dish…

Publish 2

Then came what we all agreed on was a very original salad in its content as in its presentation:

The Salade de Barazek et Chevre (Goat Cheese Barazek Salad) truly a nice salad to look at… but here’s the catch: The salad itself had nothing to do with the barazek topped with very very light goat cheese, there was nothing connecting them as a whole dish… and personally the sweetness of the barazek didn’t go well with the goat cheese, it is a good idea, am not sure it worked though, not to me… besides the salad in the middle was too acidic and almost inedible.. Oh and did I mention a red wine would go with that… not white…

Publish 3

The Thai Salad was gorgeous, the colors were perfectly matching: the shrimps, with the red grapefruits and the fresh and pickled ginger, the mango, the red and yellow peppers, the red and green onions etc… a blooming flower on a plate… Mais le Drame melodrame: It was as horrible as it was beautiful: it was overloaded with ginger both fresh and pickled and with a strong item like ginger, a little quantity is enough to give flavor to a dish, now if you combine it with very bitter grapefruit and those onions and the Thai sauce on top of it… the result is simply a dish that should have never made it on anybody’s plate… Chicho made a very pertinent remark: “If only he used orange instead of the grapefuits”… and he was right… The taste of the force is strong with you my young padawan… oh Pardon, wrong movie… Anyways…, a potentially great dish, destroyed by the uneven and unharmonious quantity of certain ingredient inside it…

Publish 4

Same contradiction happened with the Seabass and Salmon Tartar… such a beautiful dish… just look at the attached picture… it looks perfect… but it does not taste at all as it should be… and here the mistake is simple and single: WAY TOO MUCH ACIDITY !!! You couldn’t taste anything because of the citrus and the rice vinegar… add to that the sourness of the yuzu juice I suspect it contained and you end up with another dish made only to be admired but never to be touched or tasted… again, what could have been a great dish was spoiled by the uneven and overwhelmingly unproportioned quantity of certain ingredients….

My question to you chef: have you tasted those dishes before presenting them to us?

I truly apologies chef for my harsh comments here, but it’s the simple truth, … and hearing you again right now scream from the kitchen isn’t making your case any easier… I mean, it’s a set menu with a limited number of guests… your kitchen should have been ready… your dishes should have been flawless… your staff should have been trained and up to the task…

By that time, we weren’t able to ask anything from the waiters, paying customers had arrived to the restaurant and filled 4 or 5 tables… and the waiters didn’t have eyes anymore except for them… many requests from myself and our friends seated with us remained unanswered…

Publish 6

Came the frankfurter sandwich… a regular frankfurter sandwich with caramelized onions… taste regular, very simple… not an item that should be on the menu of Bistrot du Moine, but okay… pourquoi pas…

Publish 5

The Club Sandwich was good… a regular that is decent enough to be on the menu, unlike a frankfurter…

Publish 7

The time was passing, and the service was getting slower… all of us were getting uncomfortable… but an interesting dish landed in front of us; green colored sauce with a brioche floating on the surface: the Escargot en Surprise, and what a surprise it was… Finally… a plat digne de la place… a dish that honors it’s maker… the escargots were an absolute delight, the butter aioli sauce was just perfect, if it wasn’t for the sake of being decent, I would have eaten the whole plate…  the taste still resound in my mouth as clearly as the day I had it…

It is only because of this dish that I will return and give Bistrot du Moine another chance… but for the moment, Chicho and I had to leave without finishing the full course, only because it took way more time than anticipated (over 2 hours) and we had to watch Star Wars… Come to think of it… a pre-organized seated dinner that didn’t complete in over 2 hours… faut le faire… The force was not with the chef tonight… or was it the taste of the dark side?

There was no one to see us out when we left except the ever so elegant and alert team of Pencell… We still had to wait another 10 min for the lone valet parking to come so we could have our car back… Thankfully we were not late…

Gaston Le Food Jedi – Bringing Balance to F&B

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