Having learnt French for 5 years of my schooling life, I’ve developed a love of France, its culture, language and food. I’ve never had the chance to travel to France but I think when I do, I will never want to leave! This love of all things French comes from my mother, who first introduced me to the French language and helped me through all my assignments. It was only fitting to take her to a French restaurant for her birthday.
Between the 7 of us, we managed to cover most of the menu, which is $53 for 2 courses or $65 for 3 courses. The oysters are incredibly fresh and shucked with the shell being replaced back on top. They’re so fresh that most of us eat them with a simple squeeze of lemon, not needing the dressing.
Charm orders the prosciutto, haloumi, asparagus and artichoke heart salad. It’s surprisingly moreish with silky strips of prosciutto and the crispiest chunks of haloumi I’ve ever had, and is simply dressed with olive oil.
Featured on the specials menu tonight is the scotch egg which Sir D has no hesitation in ordering as soon as he hears it.
The crisp, crumbed cylinder holds a perfectly cooked egg with an oozy yolk, with sausage meat around the egg. Accompanying the scotch egg are spinach leaves and cubes of root vegetables in a red wine sauce. It’s quite a rich entree to start with but delicious nonetheless.
I opt for the lighter option of citrus cured salmon with a creamy celeriac remoulade, two crumbed and deep fried prawns and bubbles of salmon roe. I can’t detect any citrus flavour with the salmon pieces but they go nicely with the celeriac and roe.
The lamb shanks are the special main for tonight and is fragrant with rosemary. I didn’t taste this dish but it looked amazing with colourful strips of roasted capsicum draped over the shank and a neat cube of polenta underneath.
Dad goes with the steak frites option of the sirloin which is juicy and cooked perfectly. The onion sauce is sweet from the caramelisation and so flavoursome – it really makes the dish.
The thick-cut fries comes in a cute little red cast iron pot. The fries are freshly fried and crisp on the outside.
The duck confit is a popular choice, featuring a crispy skinned duck leg with fall-apart meat on the inside. The dish is on the salty side for me, and the richness of it all is thankfully helped by the red cabbage. The pommes anna is a rectangle of ever so thin potato slices layered one on top of the other, with a crispy layer on top.
One of two fish options, the ocean trout is served with an interesting mix of fennel, capsicum, a cassoulet of chorizo with the usual beans, all in a crab bisque. The fish is cooked well with a crisp skin, and I was hoping for a stronger flavour in the crab bisque but this was overshadowed by all the other ingredients in the dish. I’m not sure that the chorizo cassoulet, the fennel and the roasted capsicum come together well flavour wise, but on their own they are tasty elements.
My barramundi is cooked well and juicy with a crispy skin. The dish has a nice earthy flavour from the mushrooms which contrasts with the delicate fish, and the wood mushrooms in the risotto are particularly meaty and delicious.
Onto desserts! I actually picked out which desserts I wanted prior to choosing my main and entree so I was quite excited about this course. There was also the option of cheese (featuring my new favourite blue – Gippsland Shadows of Blue!) but the draw of sugar was too strong to resist. The pear tart tatin features a whole pear encased in a flaky puff pastry. The caramelised bits of pear and pastry are the best bits, and the butterscotch sauce is the perfect sweet addition to the pear.
A slice of lemon tart is the dessert special for the night and it’s accompanied by a scoop of raspberry ripple ice cream, fresh raspberries and dots of raspberry coulis.
My favourite dessert is the meringue rouge, which didn’t sound particularly interesting on paper but was a sight to behold. The dish is a tall, stacked affair with a meringue nest at the bottom filled with creme diplomat (a mixture of creme patissiere and whipped cream), a scoop of berry sorbet and a crown of white meringue. Surrounding the meringue nest is a sweet mixture of macerated strawberries and rhubarb. The thing I loved most about this dessert was meringue at the top which was crisp on the outside but still soft and marshmallowy on the inside. Some passionfruit was also added to the fruit at the bottom to prevent the dessert from being overly sweet.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our little culinary trip to Lyon and back. The service was friendly and welcoming, and the portions were generous. I can’t wait until I get the opportunity to travel to France but for now, a trip to Cafe Lyon will have to do.
366 Pacific Highway
Lindfield NSW 2070
Ph: +61 2 9416 5026
Lunch: Thursday and Friday from noon
Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm