26 July 2010

Flinders Inn: Bastille Day Dinner, French, Paddington (14 July 2010)

Shop 1, 160 Flinders Street, Paddington NSW 2021

Bastille Day in Paddo

Last year the Alliance Française de Sydney Bastille Day Party was lots of fun but I found the food a bit non-authentic and catering-like so this year I wanted to celebrate Bastille Day at a French restaurant. My first choice based on the menu was to try Manu at L'etoile Restaurant & Bar but found it to be already booked out. My next choice was La Brassiere but they were also booked out. The menus advertised at and weren't quite right for my dining party. A few days beforehand I got a twitter update from Fooderati and Morgan that there were spots still available at Flinders Inn and they were doing a few classic French style dishes so I was sold — and I'd been wanting to try this restaurant as well.

The dining room is quite cosy with minimal decor and is surrounded by large mirrors written with menu specials. Service seemed swift and prompt. Starting with a White Peach Bellini ($16) was a good way to relax into the night. Large slices of Iggy’s bread ($3) was reasonably priced I thought and so tasty. The menu was very tempting and I chose the special of Bouillabaisse ($25) as entree. The seafood broth that was poured over the two scallops and single de-shelled mussel was delicious and full of flavour BUT I couldn't help wonder where's all the other seafood you'd expect to find in a Bouillabaisse :-( — at the very least you'd expect there to be some fish pieces. If this dish included a couple of pieces of fish, king prawns and perhaps a couple more large mussels (in a shell for presentation) along with the two plump scallops then I think it would have become a favourite. Otherwise as it is I'd consider it more of a seafood bisque soup and at $25 it's a bit pricey.

The Pork and Duck Liver Terrine Sauce Gribiche ($25) was rustic in texture and pretty tasty. The Rabbit and pork rillette, spiced orange, toasted sourdough ($23) was quite filling and rich and was provided compliments of the chef. The Yamba prawn risotto, peas, chives ($24) was cooked well and this is when I noticed all hot dishes were served with nice warm plates. The special of Flinders Cassoulet ($37) seemed to be liked by the French born dining companion. The Roasted mulloway, kipfler potatoes, mussels provancale, rouille ($35) was cooked well although seemed rather pricey. My Crispy pork belly, roast cauliflower puree, caramelised apples ($34) certainly provided the very crispy crackling pieces I was hoping for but I found the roast cauliflower puree just a bit too heavy and rich for my liking and would have perhaps preferred a lightly dressed salad of shaved celeriac to cut through the heaviness of the tasty and moist pork. Pomme frites ($8) were decently priced and met expectations.

Being almost full we still were tempted to try the desserts. The Vanilla creme brulee ($14) was great and definitely up there with the best I've had in Sydney. The Honey & lavender parfait, poached pears, lavender salt ($14) had interesting flavours although had mixed reactions. I didn't mind it although I think I might have liked it more without the lavender salt since there was already lavender in the parfait. The decently sized Crêpe Suzette ($15) had some lovely ingredients although I was expecting it to be flambéed with Grand Marnier to give it some nice caramelisation and warmth of the crepes to contrast the ice cream — I think if this was included it would have become a favourite as well. We didn't order the Tarte au Citron ($15) but received it compliments of the chef and it ended up being one of our favourite desserts of the night along with the creme brulee. The pastry was nice and thin and the lemon/lime tart delivered the right amount of citrus flavour although personally I think I would have preferred some vanilla bean ice cream rather than the dollop of crème fraiche which seemed just a tad too creamy for me.

Other reviews of Flinders Inn:

Other French restaurants visited:
Flinders Inn - Paddington, 14 July 2010
Tabou - Surry Hills, 27 June 2010
Sel e Poirve - Darlinghurst, 1 Dec 2009
Tabou - Surry Hills, 9 Oct 2009
Onde - Darlinghurst, 25 Sept 2009
Chez Pascale Cuisine Francaise - Sans Souci, 8 July 2009

PROS: Nice lighting and seating, Swift service, Good food presentation, Nice toilet (but outside), Nice wines on offer, Quality ingredients, Hot plates
CONS: Bouillabaisse needs more seafood including fish, Could be considered a bit pricey
MUST TRY: Iggy's bread, Vanilla Creme Brulee, Tarte au Citron

White Peach Bellini $16 each

Iggy’s bread $3

Rabbit and pork rillette, spiced orange, toasted sourdough $23 (compliments of the chef)

Pork and Duck Liver Terrine Sauce Gribiche $25

Yamba prawn risotto, peas, chives $24

Bouillabaisse $25 — Where art thou seafood?

Flinders Cassoulet $37

Roasted mulloway, kipfler potatoes, mussels provancale, rouille $35

Crispy pork belly, roast cauliflower puree, caramelised apples $34

Pomme frites $8

Vanilla creme brulee $14

Honey & lavender parfait, poached pears, lavender salt $14

Crêpe Suzette $15

Tarte au Citron $15 (compliments of the chef)

2002 Falls Wines Semillon NSW $11, 2007 Steingarten Riesling Barossa Valley $11, 2005 Irvine Merlot Eden Valley SA $11

2007 Triplebank Awatere Valley Sauvigonon Blanc Marlborough NZ $13, 2005 St Hugo Cabernet Sauvignon Coonawarra SA $15, 2008 Radford Shiraz Eden Valley SA $12


The bill $381 for 4 people

Wine bar

Chef Morgan in the kitchen

Key for outside toilet

Nice toilet tiles

Nice toilet hand wash

Toilet 3 doors down outside


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Simon you are so comprehensive! I never really hought I'd ever see a picture of a toilet keyring! :P

YaYa said...

Agree $25 for 2 scallops and a mussel is not good value, maybe all the seafood was pureed in the soup? Looks more like a bisque to me but that brulee is impressive! Crepes should have been flamed before being served but oh those tiles outside the loos, gorgeous!

joey@FoodiePop said...

Glad to see you took a photo of their cool bathrooms; did you bring a disco ball in, as that's the only thing missing! LOL

Cass said...

Simon, that creme brulee looks divine. It's an interesting dish they've used to plate it up with, it almost looks like a slightly curved plate.

The bill wasn't too bad for four people considering the dining experience and quality of food served (other than the honey and lavender parfait, but then again anything would pale in comparison to that creme brulee!).

- Cass

Ms Darlinghurst said...

OMG Simon you've made my mouth water with those delicious photos! Love the look for the honey & lavender parfait. Must say I've never tried lavender salt before!!

xxMs D

john@heneedsfood said...

What a great food spread you all had there. So delicious! Mmm creme brulee!

Simon Food Favourites said...

hi lorraine, hehe but when it's so cute and interesting you gotta take a photo of it though :-)

hi yaya, it would be a shame if the seafood is pureed in the soup though. but it was very tasty. oh yeah, those tiles are so sexy!

hi joey, hehe. i reckon they might put a disco ball in there now. had some cool music playing as well. probably the nicest toilets i've come across in a long time.

hi cass, tabou does the shallow dish as well for the creme brulee. it works well so it's not too thick and has more crackling topping per area.

hi ms darlinghurst, the lavender salt was quite interesting. there's so many salt's out there to try.

hi john, i've yet to try and make my own creme brulee but hopefully one day i'll build up the courage to try it.

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