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:
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
SIMON FAVOURITE :-)
Chef Morgan in the kitchen
Nice toilet tiles
Toilet 3 doors down outside