Bonjour Baroque!

What better way to begin honey and soy than with the best dinner we’ve had out in a while! This was some time back- Anzac Day weekend, which, if you remember, was cold and rainy :( I actually stumbled upon Baroque Bistro Patisserie quite accidentally. I had been searching for a nice place to go for a light Saturday night dinner- plugged “sydney” and “desserts” into Google, and- Voila! I was sold from the time I laid eyes on the website. Ok I lie, I was sold from the time I laid eyes on the dessert menu! I read that the owners of Baroque had operated La Renaissance round the corner, also in the Rocks, since the 1970s. And that the bistro was a labour of love and a tribute to the late family patriarch. Now, who doesn’t love a story like that? So, though I planned where we were going, it was a surprise for soy. 120 “SO tell me where we’re going!”s later, I could finally say “Surprise!” as we turned up on the doorstep of the building right at the end of George St.

When I say MAKE A RESERVATION, I mean make a reservation! There was a line at the door, and every single drop-in hopeful was turned away that night. Remember I said it had been raining? Well, even the outdoor seats were full. So, a really warm and bubbly front of house (we didn’t get her name, sadly) showed us to our table at the front of the restaurant. Initially I was disappointed that we weren’t seated further in, where we could have a quiet corner and views of the harbour bridge. Plus, probably the only thing I did not enjoy that night was the acoustics, and we were sandwiched between 2 very energetic groups, to say the least. THEN I realised that this was my view:

Straight into the pastry kitchen!! I would have happily pulled my chair right up and watched the patissière all night! (Which I mostly did anyway) I knew that I had made the right choice cos while I was drooling over the pastry kitchen, soy was gushing over the menu. She usually prefers savoury, but she said that it was the first time she felt like ordering all the desserts.

We decided to share 4 entreés cos they spoke more to us than the mains. And it was imperative that we leave space for dessert!

Braised snails, garlic cassonade, orange, clove and sherry emulsion, textured onions

Escargots for me are always strong-flavoured, with garlic and butter. These escargots, however were quite plain on their own. But cram all the components of the dish in one mouthful, and bam! The salty crust of the onions and the sweetness of the orange, and the texture of the foam and the squishy escargot just go brilliantly!

Boudin of snapper and Crystal Bay prawns, terrine of skate, cured scallop, green olives, arugula

If I had to choose a favourite dish, I think this would be it. Both soy and I love seafood, and the flavour packed into the boudin was amazing! The skate was paired with sticky caramelised onion, and the scallop was really refreshing with the rocket.

slow cooked egg, roasted wild and cultivated mushrooms, shaved beaufort, watercress

The combination of mushrooms and cheesy sauce was just comforting. And a really tasty vegetarian option. And look at that egg yolk….. I think it speaks for itself!

This was venison tartare, with eggplant smear and a sticky, sweet balsamic reduction. Probably my least favourite, but I’m coming to realise that tartare isn’t really my thing, unless it’s beef tataki. But, the battered deep fried egg yolk was something out of this world!

Soy, the egg fanatic, was really happy that Baroque found a good use for all their egg yolks from their macaron-making. These macarons are legendary! Some tout it as Sydney’s best. And they DO look scrumptious!

There were also people dropping in to take away boxes of macarons all night. (They’re $2.50 each) Soy and I aren’t really fans of macarons, cos we find them generally too sweet. They’re beautiful to look at, and I’ve always vowed to learn how to make them just because they’re so pretty. I actually had the pleasure of tasting a Ladurée macaron 2 Christmases ago when a friend brought them back from Paris (hello Reuben!), but I found it too cloyingly sweet. So, while we oohed and aahed at how pretty the macarons were, we turned our attention to the patisserie menu for dessert.

I’m told that traditional French crème brulée is shallow dish, like this one from Baroque. I find that I personally prefer a deeper dish crème brulée, but it was lovely all the same, with home made pistachio ice cream and vanilla beans throughout the velvety cream.

Fleur de Lys- Valrhona “Guanaja 70%”chocolate mousse with crunchy praline

How amazing does this look?!! And we ate every last bit! I was still recovering from the flu, so the chocolate probably didn’t help my throat, but ohmygoodness, it was WORTH IT! Even aesthetically, the gloss of the dark chocolate ganache just screams “eat me” but when you slide your fork into the fleur de lys, you get all the soft, mousse-y layers and the velvety mousse and the praline just melt in your mouth… Heaven!! I feel like having some NOW as I’m typing!

Needless to say, that was a very satisfying dinner, that was also really reasonable! We liked that, and the non-pretentiousness of the place and the staff. And of course, the food was actually good, and not trying too hard to be a really cool French eatery (which it inadvertently is- the best kind). As we were leaving full and happy though, Baroque had another surprise for us. Remember the lovely front of house? Well, as we were saying our goodbyes, she gave us some complimentary macarons!

These are the 2 most popular flavours- salted caramel and jasmine. I was really interested to see if they would change my opinion of macarons, and I must say, while I can’t say I now LOVE macarons, the jasmine macaron was much more delicate than any macaron I’ve had before. The salted caramel was well, caramel, and so had a much stronger, sweeter flavour. But I would have that jasmine macaron again, and am interested in trying out the other flavours now! So, 2 sweet treats to top off a really brilliant meal.

Baroque also does weekday specials and we can’t wait to go back on a Monday for the bouillabaisse… yum!

Baroque Bistro Bar Patisserie

The Rocks, Sydney

(02) 9241 4811

www.baroquebistro.com.au

Baroque | Bistro Bar Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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