Ryan and I used to be quite content with picking a handful of favourite places to eat but ever since I've started blogging I'm always keen to 'try somewhere different', for research purposes of course though the photos and experiences don't always make it onto the blog.
La Grande Bouffe has been marked as a favourite though it has been a long long time since our last visit. As we are travelling overseas next month, Ryan and I didn't really make any plans to celebrate our 11 year anniversary, but decided last minute to have a nice little casual dinner out. So a revisit was a must.
La Grande Bouffe is a little cosy French bistro in Rozelle. They also have a sister restaurant, Apres in Potts Point which Ryan and I also adore. Ryan and I love the food here, and it's convenient that it's not too far from (my) home. I made a booking for 6:30pm to take advantage of their dinner special where you can order 3 courses from the a la carte menu for $60 a person. The only catch was you had to be seated by 6:30pm, place your order for all 3 courses up front and be out of there by 8:30pm (Fridays and Saturdays) - easily done.
Can't resist a warm baguette slathered with butter.
Amuse bouche - escargot in garlic and herb butter.
Our first dinner here was when I had my first taste of escargot, and loved it! It's like eating mussels and clams, without the seafood taste. Am looking forward to the real deal when we visit Paris very soon.
Ryan's entree - Fennel soup with smoked trout.
Ryan let me try a few spoonfuls of his soup. It was smooth, creamy and delicious. The trout added some extra flavour and smokiness to the soup and the roe added some interesting texture, loved how it popped in my mouth.
My entree - Bacon wrapped scallops with leek fondue.
The scallops were nice and plump and cooked nicely, we've tried cooking them at home before and they either came out under or overcooked. These were perfectly cooked and I loved the balance of flavours between the bacon, scallops and creamy leek.
The only issue I had was that towards the end of my second scallop I experienced a bit of 'gravel'. Not really sure what it was but I just sifted it out and kept eating my scallop. By the time I had my third scallop the 'gravel' was alot more noticeable and the bits I spat out were quite large and it was just unbearable to chew as every mouthful was just gritty.
I alerted one of the waitresses who came back telling me that supposedly it was some sort of bones in the scallop. Never heard of that one before but perhaps I was just unlucky. I was however disappointed that I had left half a scallop behind and the kitchen didn't do anything to compensate for the fact that the scallop was totally inedible due to these 'bones'.
Ryan's main -
Soft, melt in your mouth goodness these cheeks were thanks to them being twice cooked. The perfect dish on a cold winter's night, loved all the flavours coming together in one mouthful.
My main - Roasted Salmon fillet with potato scales, cauliflower puree and school prawns.
It's been a while since I've had salmon so thought it would be nice to follow my seafood entree with a seafood main. I love the detail of the 'potato scales' on the fillet of salmon. It was perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside, still soft and opaque on the inside. I loved the capers which added a little zestiness to the dish.
Ryan's dessert - Pear Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream.Originally he said he was just going to get petite fours with coffee for dessert, which totally disappointed me, how can someone pass on dessert? In the end he changed his mind and ordered the tart tatin, something that he wants to make but hasn't quite mastered yet (burnt toffeed apple/pear anyone?). The pear was nice but we found the pastry a little on the soggy side rather than crispy. The ice cream was DElicious, generously flavoured with vanilla bean.
My dessert - Sour cherry clafoutis with vanilla ice cream
I've seen numerous recipes for clafoutis (cla-foo-tie), which is normally made with cherries, but whenever cherries are in season I can't help but down them by the handful just as they are. So this makes it my first taste of a clafoutis. I've imagined it to be almost like a frangipan tart, but it was more like a dense eggy and custardy pancake. I liked how sour cherries were used as it was a welcome tartness to counteract the sweetness of the batter and ice cream. Will have to try another one when I get to Paris ;)
All in all it was a wonderful evening to mark the occasion. Still can't believe it's been 11 years! We have practically grown up together, and no one knows me better than he does. And I am the hand that feeds him =p. Looking forward to our first big trip together, let's see if we survive past the 11 years after this hey ;)