Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

The months of researching where to eat in Paris had resulted in a long list of restaurants to try.
What I hadn’t realised was that our hotel was in a fabulous position for many of these restaurants. In the streets nearby, Japanese and Chinese restaurants flourished, and gauging by the queues that formed outside many of them, there are some very good ones.

At the end of the street was the restaurant, Les Bistronomes. After our fabulous day exploring the King’s private apartments at Versailles and Marie Antoinette’s Playground and Hamlet, this cozy little bistro was a perfect choice for dinner.

Small and intimate, we were immediately made welcome by one of the owners, Sylvain, who quickly found our table marked with a small blackboard with our name on it. A novel idea for reservations.

When I’m in Paris, I like to try different terrines and pâtés. I was not disappointed here. The pâté, wrapped in a pastry crust, had a knob of foie gras and a slice of duck breast in it. It was served with tasty pickled vegetables. Fabulous.

Pâté en Croûte at Les Bistronomes, Paris

Pâté en Croûte with pickled vegetables


A beautiful red


Merlan with Artichokes at Les Bistronomes, Paris

Merlan with Artichokes

How could I resist the lemon meringue tart!

Lemon meringue Tart at Les Bistronomes, Paris

Lemon meringue Tart

Another popular restaurant, La Regelade Saint- Honoré was just around the corner in Rue Saint- Honoré. Unfortunately we could not get a table but I’m mentioning it so that you can add it to your list!

A bit further from the hotel, but still in the 1er Arr, is the restaurant ‘Spring‘. I was so excited when the hotel emailed me to say that they had been successful in making a reservation. This was no mean feat. Spring is one of the hardest restaurants in Paris to get into at the moment. Since its reopening in 2010 after moving from the 9th Arrondissement the buzz surrounding Chef Daniel Rose’s cooking has not stopped. You must literally ring on the day, one month prior to when you want to go, to make a booking.


On the way to your table, you pass the open kitchen at Spring. We kept popping up during the night to check what was happening but chef Daniel Rose (on the right) had it all under control!

The kitchen at Spring in Paris

Chef, Daniel Rose supervising in the kitchen

The kitchen at Spring, Paris

Another view of the kitchen

It’s always an interesting experience when the chef decides the menu! This is the case at Spring, where set menus prevail and each course is a surprise.
The lobster tail in fish soup starter set the bar very high. The seafood bisque had obviously been simmering for a while and had been reduced to a fabulous soup for the perfectly cooked lobster tail.

Breton Lobster Tail in Fish Soup at Spring, Paris

Breton Lobster Tail in Fish Soup

The Vegetable Torte was an unusual course but at the same time, so perfect. Filled with roasted tomato, capsicum, zucchini, beetroot and enclosed in a pastry case, it was a tasty surprise.

Vegetable Torte at Spring in Paris

Vegetable Torte

Bonito Tuna at Spring in Paris

Stunning Bonito Tuna

Chicken Cheeks at Spring in Paris

Chicken cheeks and leg with bacon

Just when you think you can’t possibly eat another morsel, out comes not one, but two desserts
Needless to say, every crumb disappeared!

Rasberry & Chocolate Mousse at Spring, Paris

Raspberry & Chocolate Mousse

Coconut Icecream with Pistachios at Spring, Paris

Coconut Ice cream with Pistachios

I wonder what the menu will be for our next visit!

Do you like to plan your restaurants or do you prefer to ask the hotel to make a suggestion?

6, Rue Bailleu
Paris 75001
Tel: 33 01 45960572

Les Bistronomes
34 Rue de Richelieu
Paris 75001
Tel: 33 01 42605966
Les Bistronomes 

La Regelade St Honore
123 Rue Saint- Honoré
Paris 75001
Tel: 33 01 42219240

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When I’m in Melbourne, one of my first stops is always ‘Friends of Mine’, a fabulous cafe in Swan St, Richmond. Weekends are always busy so I often pop down during the week for one of their popular all day breakfasts or delicious lunches.

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

As you enter, you a greeted with a fabulous display of cakes and an glimpse of the eclectic interior.
Chandeliers, exposed brick, wooden tables and blackboard signs create a warm welcome.

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Buy your Phoenix Organic Juices and Noisette Organic Bread here.

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Chefs at work

Everywhere the quirkiness shines. The staff’s workbench is a display of collectibles.

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Breakfast here is one of the best in town!

Breakfast at Friends of Mine

Herb and Cheesy toast with eggplant kasundi and smashed avocado

Breakfast at Friends of Mine Cafe in Richmond, Melbourne

Smashed avocado with thyme buttered mushrooms, marinated fetta and basil on wholegrain toast with poached egg

Smoked Salmon at Friends of Mine, Richmond

Smoked salmon on a sweet corn pikelet with herb creme fraiche



Friends of Mine
506 Swan St
Tel: 03 94287516
Friends of Mine

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There’s something magical about sitting at the bar of a 2* Michelin restaurant in Paris and watching the chefs in action in their open kitchen.

A couple of weeks ago I gave you a sneak preview of our fabulous dinner at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. I love eating here. The menu is tantalising, the food outstanding. This is the reason it is listed at number 15 in San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Bookings are only taken for the 12.30 lunch sitting or for a 6.30 dinner. If this doesn’t suit, you arrive and keep your fingers crossed. I’ve tried to figure out how the booking system works but I’m still confused! We were lucky on this visit. Arriving at 7pm, we were fully prepared for the “come back at 9 reply” but instead were seated. Hurray!!

L' Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris

Looking across the bar

The menu features many tasting plates.  Choose a selection of these or you can order traditionally with an entree and main course. Whatever you do, leave room for dessert.
Dishes with names such as Les Anchovies, L’Oeuf, La Langoustine and Le Jambon grace the menu.

Our first dish was ‘Les Tomates’, a lesson in simplicity. A mixture of ‘les tomates anciennes’, was served with sumac and extra virgin olive oil. This was a reminder back to the days when tomatoes tasted like tomatoes.

L' Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris

Les Tomates

We also enjoyed ‘Les Sardine’ – a picture perfect stack of sardines layered with fine melba toast provencale. It bought back memories of our fabulous meals in Sicily.

Les Sardines at L' Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris

Les Sardines

Mozzarella and basil in a mille feuille of aubergine was a french interpretation of a classic Italian dish. Beautifully presented and tasting as good as it looked.

L'Aubergine at L' Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris


I had to try Les Girolles. The combination of wild mushrooms cooked in milk and served with foie gras was perfect.

Les Girolles at L' Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris

Les Girolles

My husband had to have his meat! The most tender and succulent baby lamb cutlets were served with thyme flowers. He was in heaven!

Lamb Cutlets at L' Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris

Lamb cutlets with thyme flowers

From past experiences, we knew the souffle was a must. Sensational as usual.


Always perfect, always fabulous.

What is your favourite restaurant in Paris?

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon
5 Rue de Montalembert
75007 Paris
Tel:+33 1 4222 5656
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

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Finally the day had come for our long awaited dinner at Ze Kitchen Galerie.

I had been wanting to eat at this one star Michelin restaurant for a while now but last minute bookings had proven difficult to obtain on our previous visits. This year, I was smarter and made the reservation before we left.

The restaurant is situated in Rue Des Grands Augustins, a small side street off Quai Grand Augustins in the 6th. It is a popular street for restaurants. Guy Savoy’s bistrot, Les Bouquinistes is on the corner, Ze Kitchen Galerie’s bistrot, KGB (Kitchen Galerie Bis) is down the street and the one star restaurant, Jaques Cagna is on the next corner. The fabulous tea salon, Mariage Frères is over the road.

Ze Galerie Kitchen is an intimate restaurant with an open kitchen at one end. It is also a gallery with exhibitions of modern art displayed on the walls.
The service is friendly and impeccable. We didn’t have to wait long for a glass of champagne to be bought to us as we perused the menu.

Everything sounded delicious. I wanted to try it all, so we ordered the tasting menu, though I did have one small request. I was desperate to try the tempura crab with crab filled zucchini flowers and calamari strips but it was not on the tasting menu. However our gorgous (and good looking) waiter said it was no trouble for it to be included.
Out went the beef and in came the crab. Easy.
This was our dinner!!
We started with an ever so lightly, pan cooked salmon with sweet potato jus and radish. The addition of the radish was interesting and worked perfectly with the salmon.


Salmon with sweet potato jus and radish

Our next dish was an delicious combination of a slightly cooked egg floating in a pea soup with peas, girolles and wasabi.
I popped up to the kitchen to watch the chef making this dish.


Floating egg in pea soup with peas, girolles and wasabi

The kitchen is actually quite small and, with twelve chefs working shoulder to shoulder, it was amazing to watch. Each chef was responsible for one or two courses and had everything they required for their dish ready at their fingertips.
Here the chef is putting the dish together before it is bought to the table where the pea soup was poured into the bowl


Chefs at work

Another salmon dish followed. This was in a completely different style to the first course. It included cappelletti pasta, fresh tomato sauce and bottarga eggs with the salmon.


Salmon with cappelletti, light tomato sauce and bottarga eggs


A very nice Bordeaux

At last the course I had requested arrived.  The delicate flavour of the crab filled zucchini flowers contrasted with the crispiness of the tempura crab, with the calamari adding yet another dimension to it all. So tasty!


Tempura crab with crab filled zucchini flowers and calamari strips

This was followed by a dish of veal and sweetbreads with turnips and carrots. I’m not usually a sweetbread fan but these were very tasty and perfect with the tender veal. The only trouble was that I started eating and forgot to take the photo!

And then came dessert….


Cherries and lychees with sauce with peach and lemongrass icecream

and another………


White chocolate and wasabi icecream with fruit sauce, meringue and roses

A fabulous finale to one of our best meals in Paris.
Can I book now for next year?

Ze Kitchen Galerie
4 Rue des Grands-Augustins
75006. Paris
Tel: +33 1 44 320032
Ze Kitchen Galerie

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'Les Tomates' at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

A sneak preview of my fabulous dinner at L’ Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris.
The dish is ‘Les Tomates’, a simple but stunning dish of different types of tomatoes dressed with sumac and extra virgin olive oil.
Tomatoes as you don’t often taste them- incredibly flavoursome. If your produce is the best, nothing else is required.
Joel Robuchon never disappoints!

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It was to be our last dinner in Piedmont, so the choice of restaurant was very important!

There were still a few fabulous restaurants on our list that we had not been to but in the end we chose Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d’Asti, about a twenty minute drive from La Villa.

Chef Walter Ferreto and his brother Roberto, run this family restaurant and hotel. Roberto is the wine expert whilst Walter runs a very slick kitchen. He also loves to pop out for a chat and to check that everyone is enjoying their food

The restaurant is in a very ordinary hotel on the side of the main road that joins Asti and Alba but once inside, this is forgotten
This year, a new outside area was opened overlooking the garden and the pool. It also incorporates L’ Altro Cascinale, a casual bistro serving pasta, burgers, pizza and grills

Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d'Asti, Piedmont

Our table at Il Cascinalenuovo


 Now for dinner….and the wine list!

The wine list at Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d'Asti, Piedmont

I love the cover of the wine list

We were presented with the wine list with it’s fabulous cover. With so many wines on offer, my husband enjoyed his chat to Robert about which one to choose. Whilst this was happening, a plate of appetisers appeared.

Appestisers at Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d'Asti, Piedmont


The appetisers included a spoon of  raw salmon and herbs, melon and proscuitto and a zucchini roulade- all very tasty. These were followed by small individual egg, mushroom and zucchini frittatas in a pastry case.
Egg frittatas at Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d'Asti

Individual frittatas

 The wine arrived..
Barbera d' Asti at Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola D'Asti

Stunning Pescaja Barbera d' Asti

And still the appetisers kept coming!

Gelatin of tomato with mozzarello gelato at Il Cascinalenuovo

Gelatin of tomato with mozzarello gelato

We both ordered the homemade tajarin of pepperoncino, garlic and San Marzano tomato as a first course

Homemade tajarin at Il Cascinalenuovo in isola d'Asti

Tasty homemade tajarin

One of the main course choices was  ”Tataki di Ricciola del Mediterraneo, couscous e vedure al fruitto della passione’. Walter explained that  ‘tatki’ was a japanese cooking method he had picked up over the years from the japanese chefs that were working for him. He taught at a nearby culinary school where a lot of Japanese chefs trained and had been able to pick the best chefs to work for him.

The fish, in this case ricciola or amberjack, was seared very quickly on all sides and then finely sliced and seasoned with a sauce. It was very tasty and the flavours of the sauce mixed with the couscous and vegetables, was a treat.

Mediterranean amberjack tataki style,with couscous and vegetables

Mediterranean amberjack tataki style,with couscous and vegetables

My husband loves steak tartare so he ordered the piemontese version with raw veal, fresh vegetables and extra virgin olive oil from Maurizio Menichetti.

Veal Tartare at Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d'Asti

Veal Tartare

A warm chocolate pudding with rasberries and goat’s milk gelato was tempting but after seven weeks on the road and all the divine appetisers we were offered, we reluctantly passed on dessert.  Of course we didn’t say no to the small pastries!!

Petit Fours at Il Cascinalenuovo in Isola d'Asti

Sweet treats to finish the meal


Ristorante Il Cascinalenuovo
Statale Asti-Alba 15
Isola d’Asti
Tel:+39 0141 958166
Il Cascinalenuovo





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Nine years ago, a girlfriend and I made a sudden decision to hop off the train in Asti instead of going on to Turin. After many phone calls, we finally found a room and a taxi driver to take us Locanda del Sant’Uffizio in Penango, north of Asti. A beautiful spot in the heart of the Monferrato!

We could only stay one night, so we arranged for the same taxi driver to take us to our next night’s accommodation at Villa Beccaris in Monforte d’Alba, about an hour south. Whilst we zig-zagged across the stunning countryside, he proceeded to tell us the best restaurants in the area that we should not miss.

What a lucky find. His list was amazing!
Over the next week we went from Monforte to Barola, La Morra, Cherasco, Bra and back again in search of the next amazing food experience.
This was the start of my love affair with Piemonte!

Top of his list at this time was Antica Corona Reale-da Renzo in Cervere. It is still on top having since received a second Michelin star. Renzo’s son, Gian Piero Vivalda has been running the restaurant for a while now but Renzo is always there for a chat.

This year, their new outdoor courtyard was unveiled – a perfect place for lunch.

Courtyard at Antico Corona Reale in Cervere, Piedmont

The new courtyard

Courtyard at Antico Corona Reale in Cervere, Piedmont

Another view of the courtyard

Courtyard at Antico Corona Reale in Cervere, Piedmont

Pefect setting for lunch

Lunch began!!

Omelette with red onion and flower of tiglio at Antica Corona Reale in

Omelette with red onion and flower of tiglio

I asked the waiter about the tiglio flower and he sweetly went off the the garden and picked one to show me.I’m not sure what it was in English but the leaf is shown decorating the omelette.
Porcini mushrooms at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere,

Porcini mushrooms and potato with mountain herbs

Piedmont is home of the slow food movement which promotes using locally grown produce. Each course on the menu mentioned where the produce came from. For our appetiser we shared the ‘Funghi porcini della Valle Pesio con patate di Entracque alle erbette di montagne’. Sounds far more appetising in italian but it is interesting that it is mentioned that the porcini came from the Pesio Valley and the potatoes from Entracque, both south of Cuneo at the base of the Maritime Alps.
Asparagus Tortelli at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere

Tortelli di Asparagi biologici di Satena all' olio extravergine di Lucinasco

 A very tasty dish of  tortelli of organic asparagus served with asparagus spears and asparagus julienne with extra virgin oil from Lucinasco.
The choice of wine was overwhelming, so the waiter suggested a glass of Rocche Costamagna Nebbiolo with our entrees.

I Gobbi della Tradizione Servitti al Tavaglio at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere

I Gobbi della Tradizione Servitti al Tavaglio

Gobbi are a variation of the local speciality, agnolotti filled with a mixture of different cooked meats and served in a serviette.The pasta was so thin you could see through it.
The main course of perfectly cooked veal with a breadcrumb crust and spring vegetables, was so tender and succulent.
With a glass of Barbera D’Alba Trevigne from Domenico Clerico, I was in heaven.
Scamone di Fassone Piemontese in Crosta di Pane a Cottura Rosea con Vedure di Primavera

Scamone di Fassone Piemontese in Crosta di Pane a Cottura Rosea con Vedure di Primavera

Now for dessert!!

Dessert wine at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere, Piedmont

Stunning desserts need a dessert wine!

Apricot dessert at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere,

Apricot dessert

Although not ordered, an apricot mousse with a layer of apricot puree, red current and finely chopped pistachio started the parade.

Tiramisu Moderne at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere, Piedmont

Tiramisu Moderne

 From Sicily to Piedmont, the search for the best tiramisu continued. Da Renzo’s was a modern interpretation of a traditional dish. A layer of biscuit was sandwiched between chocolate icecream and tiramisu icecream with custard cream sauce. It tasted as good as it looked!
My dessert was sensational!
Sentieri di Langhe Dessert at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere,

Sentieri di Langhe

 Sentieri di Langhe was described as a taste of the Langhe with six different desserts – a hazelnut cake, caramel icecream, pannacotta, a rich chocolate pudding, chocolate mousse and homemade hazelnut torrone. Great choice!
Piccolo Pasticceria at Antica Corona Reale in Cervere, Piedmont

Could we eat any more? Yes!!

A plate of piccolo pasticceria  finished another stunning meal!


Antico Corona Reale Ristorante
Via Fossano,131
Tel: +39 0172 474132
Antico Corona Reale Ristorante

Look out for the yellow building on the left hand side of the road just past the first traffic lights after the Cervere sign!!




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