A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to try out Hotel Realm’s “Buvette Bliss” package, a current deal which includes a two course meal at Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar, the five-star property’s fresh French dining option. The package’s set menu is specially designed by the Executive Chef Fabian Wagnon, and also comes with a complimentary glasses of house wine or tap beer. According to the menu, the two course meal alone costs $55 per person, boasting three entrée options, three mains and three desserts. I am assuming you can make any combination of entrée/dessert, entrée/main main/dessert but if you want all three, the third course will come at an additional charge.
To start with, my guest and I had chunks of baguette served to us with rounds of butter. I loved how rustic the bread looked – 10 points for the bread being crusty on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside. Having fresh and warm bread at a restaurant is just a tiny bit of detail but really goes the extra mile in showing me that the overall dining experience is taken seriously.
One of our starters chosen was the French Onion Soup which came topped with slices of bread (ala croutons) and cheese. I loved the presentation however my dining partner said he’d prefer actual croutons in the soup and bread on the side for dunking as it does get soggy quite quick. The soup itself had a great smack of flavour, however I felt it lacked the true depth of french onion soups I’ve had in the past, with this one lingering more on the sweet side.
The second starter we picked was written on the menu as Chicken Liver Parfait with pickled pears and toasted brioche. I say this because when it was served to me the waitress said “duck parfait”. I even asked her again if this was a chicken parfait or a duck, but she said with 100% certainty that it was duck. Although I have no qualms as to what brand of poultry I am eating, it was a little confusing for me that I was essentially served something I didn’t exactly order, nor was this communicated prior to ordering.
In any case the parfait was excellent, and with such a generous serving as well. I really appreciated the little cubes of pear as the tanginess could cut through the richness. The brioche was as buttery as it is golden in the photo and made the perfect vehicle to transport the exceptionally tasty liver parfait to the palate.
On to our mains: the first one up was Beef Bourguinon comprised of a wagyu tri-tip, smoked pork belly, carrots, Swiss brown mushrooms and spring onions. This seemed to be a modern interpretation as the only beef bourguinons I’ve ever had were hearty stews. I liked the tenderness of the wagyu, and it was cooked to my perfection (the pinks really stand out in the image above). Though the aforementioned pork belly turned out to actually be more like bacon strips, which I thought was a little bit strange in this dish – almost like it was breakfast and dinner rolled into one. I did like the vegetable elements, particularly the spring onion which had a bit of a char to it, and I definitely enjoyed picking at the little mushrooms on the plate.
Our final main was the Pan Seared Fish of the Day. That night’s fish was blue-eyed cod which on the menu says it came with a fennel purée, sautéed zucchini, capsicum and basil dressing. So again, I was quite surprised to see pork belly on my plate; perhaps there was a mix up during the plating of the food. I wasn’t too fond of my fish as I found it quite overcooked and it lacked the creaminess one would associate with a fatty fish like cod. However, the vegetable components were great and I found myself on the verge of licking the plate to get more of that superb fennel purée.
There were a couple of misses to the evening, which mostly stemmed from confusion of the menu, the waitstaff, and what was actually served to us. However, if you’re feeling like being a bit fancy without breaking the bank, the two course Buvette Bliss menu isn’t too bad a deal at all.
Originally posted on The AU Review
See my review of Hotel Realm here