Tag Archives: french

Baroque Pantry and Bistro, The Rocks

Updated visit:

We recently went back to Baroque, for dinner this time, on a Tuesday night for their Baroque Bouchon $48 three course plus wine menu. This is an changing weekly menu, its name inspired Bouchons of Lyons, which is well known for bistro meals and wines at a low price.

Baroque
Baroque

On this visit, we were lucky enough to be there for the last Bouchon menu! After being seated, we were offered a choice between the house white or red wine, with top up. They were very generous with this!

MOULES À LA NORMANDE Mussells with cider, cream and eschallots
MOULES À LA NORMANDE Mussells with cider, cream and eschallots

Entree was a mussels dish with yummy sauce. You can’t really go wrong with mussels and a cream sauce…

Free bread!
Free bread!

We also received complimentary baguette bread with a slab of butter. This went well to mop up the mussel’s sauce as well.

POULET AUX 40 GOUSSES D'AIL Chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic
POULET AUX 40 GOUSSES D’AIL Chicken cooked with 40 cloves of garlic

This was the main – beautifully presented and a very tasty collection of different elements.  No wonder – it had 40 cloves of garlic!! Good way to keep the vampires away…

There was vegetables, some beans, mash and what seemed to be a small croquette.

SAINT HONORE ROSE FRAMBOISE Raspberry and rose gateau St Honore
SAINT HONORE ROSE FRAMBOISE Raspberry and rose gateau St Honore

The dessert was also a highlight! This was quite interestingly pieced together, with a slightly hard/crunchy pastry for the bottom square and those five spheres topped on top. Quite delightful and well presented.

All in all, we enjoyed the Bouchon menu and hope they keep going with it! The $48 three course is a good deal, though the portions are quite small. I imagine some people may not feel quite full… Still, a very tasty way to try entree, main and dessert, plus wine and free bread!

Original post:

It’s 8am on a Sunday and we’re headed out to the City for a trip to Cockatoo Island for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. The plan is to breakfast at Cafe Sopra in Walsh Bay but it turns out they don’t open until noon! What kind of cafe opens so late…

Pretty interior
Pretty interior

Instead, we head for Baroque (Pantry by day, Bistro by night). Even at 9am, when the Rocks Markets are still being setup, the tables are getting filled up. There’s tables inside and outside but they still don’t seem to be enough. Soon, there’s even a waiting area for people to get seated.

Baroque Pantry and Bistro
Baroque Pantry and Bistro

Baroque Pantry and Bistro

  • Website: http://www.baroquebistro.com.au/
  • Address: 88 George Street, The Rocks
  • Pantry hours: 8am-3pm daily
  • Bistro hours: Tues to Sun from 6pm
  • Bookings: recommended, do it online via Dimmi and earn points (see their website)

Baroque is pretty much located on the corner of George Street and Hickson Road in The Rocks area. There’s cobblestone paths and markets every Sat and Sun surrounding this popular eatery.

Baroque is kind of a mixed bag. Their website describes it as a pantry, bistro, restaurant and patisserie all rolled into one. Opening in 2009 by the Charkos family who own the popular La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie just down the road, Baroque is headed by Chef Drew Bolton. There’s a lot going on here, including cooking classes (including macaron masterclass!).

Since we there for breakfast, I’ll only talk about Baroque Pantry. So what’s there to eat?

Baroque menu
Baroque menu

Baroque is a modern French style restaurant. Their menu is quite extensive and you can read up on it here. The price is about $10-$30 for breakfast and lunch items. They also serve wines, cocktails and beers.

Flat white $4.50
Flat white $4.50

D2D’s flat white arrives. It’s a bit hot sitting in the sun in the alfresco dining and it’s a shame they don’t have more indoor seats or shaded areas.

Egg Cocotte 15.5 Bacon, mushroom, tomato, hollandaise, served with Sonoma sourdough toast
Egg Cocotte $15.5
Bacon, mushroom, tomato, hollandaise, served with Sonoma sourdough toast

This is my little pot of baked eggs served with Sonoma bread. Although the pot is quite small, it’s packed with bacon, mushroom, tomato and even some spinach. Because of the depth of the bowl (usually baked eggs is in a shallow pan), the egg is less cooked than normal. This might put some people off?

The bread is from Sonoma and must have been slathered in butter before it was toasted, because it tastes so good and feels a bit oily when I pull it apart.

Quite a filling breakfast.

Croque Madame 22 Croque Monsieur served with a fried free range egg
Croque Madame $22
Croque Monsieur served with a fried free range egg

This is D2D’s croque madam – basically a ham and cheese toast with fried free range egg on top, served with a side of salad. This is a very fried dish! So the salad helps to balance it out.   This is a pretty big serving, much bigger than my mini baked eggs.

All up, the bill comes to $42 for two breakfasts and a coffee. Pay inside and you’ll see:

Inside Baroque
Inside Baroque

Their patisserie kitchen! No wonder there is little seating inside, they have a big open kitchen taking up most of the space. Here’s a couple paying before us, sporting sunnies for the day ahead.

Macarons
Macarons

Baroque Macarons are quite a favourite in this town. They are $3 each (or $2.70 takeaway), and you can get 3 macarons plus a coffee for $12. As I said above, you can even make your own in a Baroque Macaron Masterclass.

Dessert time
Dessert time

They also have a wide range of other cakes and delightful desserts. Unfortunately we were too full to try any after breakfast.

Before we head off, here’s one other little secret:

Strawberry garden
Strawberry garden

Next to the alfresco dining areas are a series of potted trenches . I initially thought they were just decorative plants, but a closer inspection revealed… strawberries! This one isn’t quite ripe yet. They also had some other herbs like lavendar, mint, oregano and dill!

I guess if you want you can grab some herbs and sprinkle onto your meal!

What else is around?

  • The Rocks Markets set up right outside Baroque and up to the end of George Street every Saturday and Sunday.
  • La Renaissance Cafe Patisserie is just down the road if Baroque is too packed or you want something more casual
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • The Circular Quay wharf area makes a nice walk around the water to either Opera House or Walsh Bay

Baroque | Bistro Bar Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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The Little Snail, Pyrmont

D2D and I are both quite familiar with The Little Snail in Pyrmont. I’ve only gone about 3-5 times, but D2D says he has gone so many times that he has tried everything on the menu!

(This later turns out to be a lie – if you haven’t tried the vegetable mains, you haven’t tried the whole menu…)

The Little Snail

Located at the end of Pyrmont Bridge, The Little Snail is a fairly convenient walk from the Sydney CBD area. Inside, there’s an downstairs and upstairs, waiting lounge and bar seats. I’ve always sat upstairs, but this time we’re downstairs and we come early at like 6pm, even though I’ve booked for 6.30pm…

We’re using a $75 Groupon voucher, which is a 3 course dinner for two, plus drinks. Usually the 3 courses dinner is $60 pp. The 3 course lunch is $38 pp and an a la carte menu is also available.

The Little Snail
The Little Snail

When we arrive that early, the restaurant is basically empty but they’re already open (opening at 5.30pm for dinner).  Maybe it’s the rainy weather, but the view from the ground floor tables is rather lackluster, facing out onto road streets and commuters.

Strawberry daiquiri
Strawberry daiquiri

Our drinks (cocktail and mocktail) – very sweet. Usually $15.

Entree:

Bouillabaisse de Marseille Traditional French seafood soup of mussels - fish fillets and prawns - cooked in tomato and seafood broth - served with garlic baguette
Bouillabaisse de Marseille Traditional French seafood soup of mussels – fish fillets and prawns – cooked in tomato and seafood broth – served with garlic baguette

This is D2D’s favourite entree here: a flavoursome seafood soup with garlic bread. Great for a cold rainy day.

Escargot de Bourgogne Dozen snails marinated in herb-infused court bouillon, oven baked in garlic butter
Escargot de Bourgogne Dozen snails marinated in herb-infused court bouillon, oven baked in garlic butter

I think almost every time I come to The Little Snail, I always order the escargot entree. You get a dozen big snails in this super buttery sauce.

For those who haven’t eaten snails, it’s not really a big deal. They taste kind of earthy – and you can liken them to eating oyster, mussels etc.

What is a bit special is the little snail pinching equipment you get to use. There’s a clamp that lets you grab hold of the shell and a small fork that you use to grab the meat out of the shell.

Main:

Fillet of Beef Tenderloin Served with potato millefeuille and red wine jus
Fillet of Beef Tenderloin Served with potato millefeuille and red wine jus

D2D gets the steak – what he always gets. The steak is quite thick, but quite tender when cooked medium rare. Next to it is layered potato, all sitting in a red wine jus.

Seafood Plate Of grilled salmon - garlic prawns - salt and pepper squid - chilli mussels - beer battered soft shell crab and mesclun salad
Seafood Plate Of grilled salmon – garlic prawns – salt and pepper squid – chilli mussels – beer battered soft shell crab and mesclun salad

For my main, I order the seafood platter. This is pretty much exactly what I ordered last time I was here (snails and seafood), but you can’t fault something that you know is good! The highlights from this platter are the prawns and grilled salmon.

This was very filling and you may struggle to finish it off. It also comes with a side of salad and is served on a bed of lettuce (there is a lot of lettuce).

Dessert

Fourme d'Ambert Mild blue cheese - creamy texture and delicate bouquet
Fourme d’Ambert Mild blue cheese – creamy texture and delicate bouquet

Blue cheese! They give you quite a bit of cheese, and we only finished two of the three slices they gave us. It would be good if we were given more crackers/bread etc though, as otherwise the blue cheese is far too strong/creamy to eat by itself I feel.

 

Warm Sitcky Date Pudding With butterscotch and French vanilla ice cream
Warm Sticky Date Pudding With butterscotch and French vanilla ice cream

We also get warm sticky date pudding, which is D2D’s favourite. It’s really good and even though we’re quite full from entrees and mains, we polish this off anyway!

 

Snail!
Snail!

There’s a cool little engraved snail on each glass panel looking out onto the streets of Pyrmont!

The service that night was a little poorer than usual. The host waitress was noticeably cranky (with all tables) and had an attitude of just plonking down our cutlery or food without a smile or word. She seemed to be in a rush (despite the restaurant not having that many tables that night), so perhaps they are a bit understaffed? For a restaurant like The Little Snail, you would really expect a bit more.

But this was just our most recent experience. I have to say on prior visits, I haven’t noticed any bad service. This was likely a one-off and perhaps due to the gloomy weather that night.

Let’s hope it clears up soon!

What else is around:

Little Snail on Urbanspoon