Bistro Ortolan

A great place for a celebration!

Food: 9/10
Drinks: 9/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Service: 7/10
Value for Money: 8/10

Bistro Ortolan recently moved to bustling Kings Cross. The new premises have been nicely renovated and the atmosphere is very pleasant. I would describe the decor as chic French bistro. The predominance of Burgundy indeed reminds me of Parisien brasseries. Bistro Ortolan – the restaurant – is hosted in the verandah at the front of the premises whereas The Ortolan Brasserie spreads across the back. The verandah is lovely, but for the noise emanating from the nearby bars past 10pm.

We opted for the 10-course degustation menu with matching wines. We were warned to allow at least 3 hours. It took us more than 4 hours. I appreciate when restaurants leave a fair amount of time between dishes as it makes each dish more anticipated, however the service on a busy Friday night was a tad slow.

That said, the food and matching wines were all worth it. I’ve rarely had a degustation where all the dishes were consistently good.

A great majority of Sydney’s best restaurants are focussing on fusion dishes, in the hope that unusual mixes of ingredients and textures will provoke and impress our pallets. And I love it for all its originality and wow factor. However, I am glad to still find restaurants offering fine French fare like Bistro Ortolan. The flavours were subtly sophisticated, the “Iced tomato essence with olive oil choux and Port Stephens Rock oyster” dish below being a prime example:

The tomato essence had an intense, but sweet and delicate flavour. It was a very refreshing and appetite-opening starter.

Another highlight was the “Roasted fillet of Tasmanian blue throat wrasse with green vegetables, foie gras and truffle beurre blanc”. The subtle addition of foie gras and truffle was delightful. And so was the match to an Australian Riesling.

The “Roast Loin of Melanda Park free-range pork with Parsnip veloute, roasted root vegetable and grains” was also a success. I really enjoyed the match to an Italian Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.

To finish, we had two desserts. The first one, a “Raspberry and Elderflower sorbet with fresh berry” was intensely refreshing, but came a bit late in the tasting. I would have preferred a sorbet earlier on. The second one was a “Date and armagnac creme brulée with caramelised brioche, French toast and fennel ice-cream”. Fennel ice-cream might sound odd, but it did balance very well the richness of the creme brulée. I am not a big fan of creme brulée, so I won’t judge it on taste, but the presentation was definitely eye-catching!

Overall, we loved the extensive and exciting use of seasonal vegetables. Each dish was very well constructed and balanced. Same can be said of the overall menu, although I could have done with a couple less dishes. It did strech my appetite!

Practical Information

  • Comtemporary fine French fare
  • Recommended for a romantic dinner
  • Two hats in 2012 SMH Good Food Guide (not updated for the move from Leichhardt)
  • Caters for gluten and nut allergies
  • Private dining option available

Contact Details

Bistro Ortolan – 32 Bayswater Road, Potts Point 2011
http://www.theortolanonbayswater.com.au/

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