The service crew wear floor-length white aprons, a nod to the old-fashioned, 7th-century bourgeois bistros, but they wear them with sneakers and jeans.
The chef is clearly experienced, properly trained. His name is Tim Breden. He has teamed up in this venture with his brother Rob Breden and sister-in-law Michelle Natta, both hospo newbies. Rounding out the team is Jack Miarro, the renowned Perth-based winemaker and front-of-house chef.
It started with the oysters. The chef’s mignonette dressing is unlike any we’ve had in Perth. Typically, this mixture of red wine vinegar and chopped shallots is twitchy sour. Breden adds tons more than the few scanty shallot slivers you often get with this dressing, resulting in the onion doing the vinegar cure and giving loads of sweet shallot sugar back to the vinegar in return. We have never tasted mignonette so naturally sweet and balanced. best ever
Terrine de rilettes de canard was a deliciously light, compressed terrine served simply with mustard, gherkins and baguette. It had the easy pull of charcuterie spice mix, quatre epices and a well modulated fat content, a smooth goo as opposed to a greasy sip.
The duck preparation is meticulous. The whole bird is gently cured in a delicate 8% brine for an hour. It is then dried in the fridge for 24 hours, followed by sous vide at 60 degrees for an hour, and is then finished on the grill for serving.
These times and percentages might not mean much to the average diner, but in commercial cooking they show a light and deft touch, meaning the breast meat gets all the benefits of brining and sous vide eating without being overwhelmed by long cooks to be strapped and strong brine.
In other words, you can taste the duck. It’s the most tender duck breast we’ve eaten in decades.
The gravy is made from a blond broth of (unroasted) duck bones and chicken wings, which spills into a separately prepared dark broth (roasted bones), the combination of which builds flavor on flavor. It is rounded off with a reduction of wine, Madeira, shallots and spices. For service, it’s completed with a Cointreau Gastrique for sweet acidity and butter for shine.
The duck was served with a tiny dauphinoise potato pavé, cooked with cream and pressed. The chef’s secret is a dusting of potato starch between each layer to keep them from slipping apart when sliced. Brilliant. Perfect.
Steak is grain fed for the last 100 days of its life and air dried for a day or two before cooking. It’s served with La Bastide-brand Café de Paris butter, with no curry powder but all the herbs, anchovies, capers and lemon juice you’d expect. It dissolves into a wonderful jumble of herbs and flavor on the meat.
Even the way the chef slices the meat is different and very welcome. It cuts deep at an angle so you can see the color of the meat when it’s on the plate. It also eats better that way.
Tim Breden’s dishes are a master class in bistro cooking, using techniques and preparations as old as Escoffier but as relevant and modern as the chicest Parisian bistro. And like all proper bistros, there is a good selection of vegetable dishes for vegetarians.
The space, too, has been badly renovated after the Star Anise and Petite Mort days, and exudes the mannerisms and energy of not just a bistro, but bistro life.
225 Onslow Road, Shenton Park
0422 269 991
Open: lunch and dinner, Thursday-Saturday; Breakfast, Saturday-Sunday
Prices: Entrees, $24-$28; caviar service, $135 per 30g; entrees, $38-$45; sides, $12-$16; Desserts, all $18.
18/20 (highest score 2022)
https://www.smh.com.au/national/western-australia/what-dish-earned-la-bastide-our-highest-restaurant-score-of-2022-20221228-p5c95l.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Which dish earned La Bastide our highest restaurant rating of 2022?