Claire's Kitchen at Le Salon Review

Couldn't believe my eyes when I stumbled onto Eatability to see their featured specials- one Emmilou Tapas Bar & Lounge, the other Claire's Kitchen at Le Salon both offering 50% OFF (just let me get a paper bag so I can start breathing into it because that's how amazing it is to the point where I need to fake hyperventilation). Of course there is a catch as always, a deal this great cannot have no strings attached, there is a set date that you have to book by, bookings are done online via Dimmi if you want to access the specials and the special is only available on certain days at a set time but other than those few considerations it is as spectacular as it sounds 50% OFF!!!! So when I saw this restaurant being featured, I first browsed through their Eatability profile then their Urbanspoon profile which was 95% like rate and I've said it before it get over 90% with 100+ votes is a feat so you know it has to be good, and that was instantly confirmed by the menu. After seeing how good of an opportunity it was, I quickly checked the dates and I found out about this offer on the last day that you could book it so I frantically arranged a dinner appointment with one of my beloved friends and stole the last available booking on the only available day left. Lucky I know!

I don't know if it is sad to say this or not but it may have been my highlight of the week because it was just an amazing experience and even if Claire's Kitchen doesn't run another promotional offer for a while I sincerely urge you all to dine here whether that be just for a casual dinner, an intimate date (best atmosphere ever), birthday celebration, you name it.

Butter, Salt and Pepper for the appetiser bread
Seated near the bar which has this amazing clock mural, I'm going to remember this for when I build my dream house
Lovely decor, my favourite interior design theme is Provincial French so you can probably guess that I was loving their interior design because it is exactly how I would love to style my house. On a similar note, they do have adorable bathrooms.

NB all prices are full price but just remember that what I ended up paying is half of that.

Complementary bread as an appetiser, quick nice definitely needed the butter as it was a bit dry. Someone correct if I'm wrong on this but I'm assuming that the French don't eat bread with olive oil as you do in other restaurants but rather with just butter as an alternative.

Escargots Bourguignons- Traditional French snails in garlic, parsley and Cognac butter 
dozen $22 or half-dozen $14

First of all, I must confess that I do adore delicacies and exotic food that most would send most people squirming but no I love to eat them all, though I won't mention what I've eaten and enjoyed for fear of being judged. I found it really innovative and cute how the plate had holes so that the snails could sit in them neatly rather than just being sprawled randomly onto a plate. To eat the snails you're given a set of special tongs and a small skewer to get the snail out of its shell. The tongs work differently to what you're used to, by that I mean you press the handle of the tong to release it and let go of the tong to grab something, perhaps that was a bad description but I guess you might just have to try them for yourself. As for the snails themselves, OMG OMG OMG they were so nice, the garlic, parsley and butter sauce was to die for, a classic combination but executed perfectly. Those snails just absorbed so much flavour, let me tell you, if you're scared of snails don't be if you get them done at Claire's Kitchen at Le Salon. 
Soufflé Aux Fromages- Twice cooked three cheese soufflé $24
My first soufflé, savoury though not sweet so you cannot expect that the same amount of fluffiness or height but nonetheless it was a soufflé worthy of being my first soufflé. It was incredibly light, the cheese was mixed through really well so that its texture was almost quiche like. A part from stating the blatant obvious, that it was really cheesy I do recommend that it be shared between two because you may find the cheese to be very substantial and thus filling which means you won't have room for mains or dessert and you should also ensure against that. So again, a great set of entrees that left high expectations for mains which certainly did not disappoint either.


Canard En Croute- Duck and Pinot Noir pie with melted brie under the puff pastry crust $36

If you watch My Kitchen Rules like I do, the plating of this pie resembles that of the NSW couple's pie that they served during their instant restaurant (second group). You have the Pinot Noir jus or red wine based sauce with a bed of mash potatoes that have been combined with brie so that it was silky smooth and together they were just divine. I couldn't believe myself but I turned down the duck that was just practically falling apart- that's how tender it was, to eat and practically devour all of the mash first which had a generous coating of the sauce. As I just mentioned that duck was just so tender, I loved each of those elements so much that I practically ate it as a deconstructed pie and finally the pastry was buttery and flaky but not buttered up to the point in which it feels too oily, I'm sure you guys know of the balance that I'm talking about. I've read on a few sites that this would have to the signature dish and I must agree, if you go to Claire's Kitchen (which you should most definitely do) I don't think that you can overlook this dish when it comes to ordering.

Crepe Bretonne Aux Cepes- Vegetarian French Crepe with sautéed Blue Mountains pine and slippery jacks mushroom 
Entree size $22, main size $30 (we ordered main size)

Let put this out there first of all, usually the traditional rule of 1 entree, 1 main per person applies to most fine dining restaurants but Claire's Kitchen gives you great value for money and if you order the cheese soufflé as your entree of choice you may find yourself a tad too full for main. But fret not, the lovely French waitstaff and their gorgeous accents (like seriously gorgeous) are so understanding and helpful, so you can take your time and wait until you win that mental war against your stomach. Of course you may want to book in advance to ensure a table, I did read on their Facebook page that they had to turn down 120 couples on Valentines Day so that certainly affirms how great the food and atmosphere is at Claire's especially to celebrate an occasion such as Valentines Day.

I thought the crepes, like the rest of the meals ordered were really something special. My friend questioned my choice of crepes because they can be quite ordinary but she rescinded her comment after we started eating it because unlike most crepes the perhaps plain, floury taste of the crepe is wonderfully overwhelmed by the filling. A plentiful combination of assorted vegetables that gave a provided a crunch and pleasant change from the creaminess of the garlic sauce from the snails, or the brie in the mash and the cheese soufflé. Mind you we found ourselves so full from the earlier 3 meals but with such good food placed in front of me I decided to wait it out until my stomach and I were on good terms before I finished what I could leaving room for dessert. 

Rhubarb Creme Brûlée and served with mixed berries and a pistachio (?) macaron $18

First off, I'm not too sure as to the exact flavour of the macaron and since it's green I'm assuming that it's pistachio. I though the macaron was quite nice, not overly sweet, great consistency except I did have a hollow shell. Again a recommendation that you share this dessert, I love the feeling of break the burnt sugar layer and then spooning it together with the custard underneath. I'm so glad that there was a rhubarb base because the custard was quite sweet although I did wish that there was more rhubarb, that way it wouldn't be as sweet as it was.

Berry and Hazelnut Bavarois with mixed berries on the side and a macaron $18
As for what a 'bavarois' is here's what had as their answer:
Bavarois, which is French for Bavarian cream, is a delicate cream dessert with a Creme Anglaise base made from either milk, cream or flavourings such as fruit puree, and then aerated with whipped cream and egg whites. It can be served as dessert or as a filling for a variety of charlottes, cakes and tortes.

I should have asked the waiter for their definition because obviously that would be more reliable (forgetful Bitter). It was like an incredibly light sponge cake with a berry puree centre- so so nice, it looks so simple but of course good luck trying to replicate it at home and that is why I have a soft spot when it comes to ordering desserts at restaurants. 

Options include salted caramel eclair, chocolate fondant, passionfruit sorbet, apple tart, chocolate mousse and lemon meringue pie (note that those shown in the picture are all samples).

Of course the highlight of the evening was definitely the service, waitstaff were so helpful and attentive- the best by far! It was simply one of those days where you cannot help but tip generously. So having read all that I hope I have convinced you to consider dining here because I will certainly be back even if I have to pay full price.

Claire's Kitchen at Le Salon on Urbanspoon


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