This week is Festival of Restaurants (sort of like Springalicious all over again) and I managed to reserve a table for two at Chez Patrick, a restaurant that usually gets booked out first in events like this. The set menu is $428 for 2 and you have a choice of any four items off their special menu, consisting of 4 appetisers, 2 mains, and 2 desserts.
The restaurant itself is quite charming and intimate, and we were greeted very warmly by the maitre'd and Chef Patrick Goubier himself (though he seemed to spend as much time playing on his macbook than in the kitchen!)
We started off with delicious warm bread and an amuse-bouche:
I wasn't quite sure whether I was meant to eat the amuse-bouche alone or with the bread - I ended up leaving most of it out of sheer confusion. In terms of taste, it was quite interesting and I thought I detected a hint of seaweed and fish in the spread. However, no one came to explain it so I can't provide much more information that that...
potato cake with home smoked salmon
I enjoyed the gratinated potato and the salmon tasted fresh as well. The cream cheese contained a hint of lemon and dill, which made it yummier than normal. However, a pretty forgettable dish and portions were so small!
confit duck gizzard
This was alright. I quite liked the duck when eaten with the salad as I found the taste a bit too rich on its own. Was also happy to eat brussel sprouts which I rarely find in restaurants!
king prawns tartar
This was light and fresh, and quite a delight to eat :) I really enjoyed the tartare sauce used which was creamy but not overwhelmingly thick or mayonnaise'y. They served the same side salad as they had with the previous starters though, which I was a bit disappointed about.
For our mains:
braised beef cheek
Hm. It came out looking pretty unappealing and I found the taste far too overpowering for my liking. Given this is traditional French cooking, I know I shouldn't be complaining, but I just thought a little subtlety and more flavours (all I could taste was the merlot) would add volumes to this dish.
mini sea bass fillet
This dish fared much better than the meat. I enjoyed the thin crisp potatoes on top of the fish, and the sea bass was cooked very well with lovely flaky meat. I quite liked the creamy watercress sauce it came with until my friend said it tasted like elastic bands which subsequently ruined it for me. Luckily, the pumpkin puree in the small pot at the back was delicious (especially with the melted cheese on top).
baked chestnut candy
The dessert was decent. I expected more from a French restaurant but I did enjoy the flaky pastry with the chestnut paste inside, though the chocolate block below was far too strong.
I didn't have a particularly memorable meal here and left confused about why so many people rave about this restaurant. The service wasn't particularly good - our water was never refilled, waiters didn't introduce the dishes and didn't know who had ordered what, and it seemed a bit disorganised as they brought out the same dish right after we had just finished it...The food did not excite me and felt pretty average, definitely not worth it for the prices you're paying given the tiny size of the dishes... And I wished that Chef Patrick would spend more time in his kitchen than out in the dining room socializing with guests. Perhaps then the food would be up to par.
Probably not worth visiting if you ask me, which is a shame because I really wanted to like the place.
26 Peel Street