Dining Out: Chez Olivier, Prahran

by April@MyFoodTrail on August 26, 2009

in BYO Place, Dining Out, French, Prahran

Chez Olivier Le Bistro
121 Greville Street, Prahran VIC
(03) 9525 2273
http://www.chezolivier.com/

Cuisine: French
BYO: Yes, $8 per bottle
Prices: Entrees $16.90-$19.90, Mains $25.90-$41.90, Sides $7.90-$9.90, Lunch fixed menu 2 courses $25, 3 courses $30, Dinner fixed menu 3 courses $38.50
Parking: Along Greville Street

Hubby & I were lucky enough to go to France last year as part of a tour of Europe. I didn’t have my first French meal until my 20’s (unless you count French onion soup, baguettes and croissants!) and it is not a cuisine we have often, so I was really looking forward to all the fabulous French food we would be experiencing on our trip. The reality however, was very different!

Due to a lack of planning and being oblivious at the time to the wonderful resource known as food blogs, our dining experience in France was way less than fabulous! Coupled with the numerous flight delays on the way to Paris and finding out upon our arrival after midnight that hubby’s luggage had been lost, Paris was indeed memorable but for all the wrong reasons!

When we stepped inside Chez Olivier, it was like being transported back to Paris, arriving for dinner at a cosy little French bistro. The Parisian feel was magnified by the cheerful welcome of “Bonsoir” (good evening), the waiters’ strong French accents and the wonderful sound of French as the waiters conversed with each other.

We were seated at a small table for two, along the side wall which was decorated with a row of used wine bottles – some French, some Australian, mostly expensive! The lighting is extremely dim and the place would work well for a romantic evening, but I am now a food blogger first and a romantic second, so turn up the lights to help my food photos look better I say!

The menu is in French but there are mostly English descriptions and the waiters are more than willing to help explain things to you. We had heard about a 3 course fixed price dinner deal for $38.50, but didn’t receive any information about it. When we asked the waiter, he brought over a separate menu with the details. They don’t give it out with your menus, but don’t hesitate to ask.

We couldn’t go past the value of the dinner deal so we choose to go with that. The fixed price 3 course dinner menu comes with 4 choices, but the courses are fixed within each option, no changes allowed. This might be a bit restrictive if you don’t like any of the dishes within an option. There is a French option, vegetarian option, seafood option or a “Of the Day” option.

Hubby went with the French option which was onion soup for entree, boeuf a la Provencale for main and an orange & Cointreau crème brulee for dessert. I chose the seafood option which was a seafood bisque for entree, saumon de Tasmanie for main and a trio of homemade ice creams for dessert.

Hubby’s onion soup was good, but nothing outstanding. This was the least favourite dish of the night, but that’s because everything else was fabulous! It was a watery soup and had nice onion flavour. There were visible onion pieces in the soup and it came with a toasted piece of cheesy bread on top.

Soupe a L’oignon – Onion soup with cheese “gratine” (usual price $12.90)

My seafood bisque was the stand out dish of the night and if I gave out perfect 10’s, this bisque would probably get one! When I took my first sip, my eyes lighted up and a smile spread across my face and I exclaimed “OH. MY. GOSH. This is so freaking good!” The seafood bisque was so flavoursome, without an overpowering fishy or prawny taste, and the cream and butter in the bisque gave it added dimension. The mussel, prawn and scallop in the bisque was okay, but I would have happily swapped them all for extra bisque!

Seafood bisque (usual price $14.90)

About 15 minutes later, the seafood bisque arrived for the girl sitting at the next table and I realised that the serves are smaller for dishes in the fixed price menu. The amount of actual bisque looked the same, but she got two mussels, two prawns and two scallops. We didn’t mind the smaller serves so long as the quality was the same and anyway, I don’t think we would have been able to fit in 3 courses if they were larger serves!

Hubby’s main was the boeuf a la Provencale, which was a tomato based beef stew and it came with the most delectable mash potatoes. The mash was so creamy and tasty, I wanted to eat it all myself! The beef stew had a wonderful hearty flavour and the beef itself just melted in your mouth.

Boeuf a la Provencale – Beef stew with olive & tomatoes with mash potatoes (usual price $28.90)

My main was saumon de Tasmanie which was a Tasmanian salmon fillet served on a bed of ratatouille (vegetable stew). I never had ratatouille before and didn’t think I would like it as it contained vegies I don’t like, but I really enjoyed it. The vegies were so soft and I think the delicious marinade helped mask the vegetable taste! The salmon was cooked perfectly and the skin was crispy. It matched so well with the ratatouille.

Saumon de Tasmanie – Baked salmon fillet, prepared to Chef’s choice of the day (usual price $33.90)

Normally hubby and I have trouble tackling dessert if we have had an entree and main each but at the end of the main meals, we felt satisfied but not too full. The desserts menu was so mouth watering, but our desserts had already been selected as part of the fixed menu. It’s probably a good thing since I would have had trouble choosing otherwise!

The waiter brought the crème brulee to our table with the sugar still on top and proceeded to use the blow torch to crystallise the sugar in front of us. The top probably wasn’t as dark as I would have liked it, but it still gave a nice crunch. The crème brulee was so yummy – it had a very refreshing orange taste, not overpowering at all.

Orange & Cointreau Creme Brulee (usual price $13.90)

My trio of homemade icecreams was okay but nothing outstanding. There was a vanilla flavour, chocolate flavour and a coffee flavour. Hubby really like the coffee flavour. Icecream would be the last thing I would normally order from a dessert menu!

Ice cream trio – delicious, traditional, homemade, French icecream (usual price $11.90)

Overall: The 3 course fixed price dinner is extremely good value for $38.50 (valid Sunday to Thursday). The serves are smaller than ordering the dish straight off the menu but you still get your money’s worth and the quality is not compromised. The food was magnificent, service was fantastic and the 3 courses were perfectly timed.

Would I return? Yes, definitely. I am looking forward to trying other dishes.

Over & Out, Rilsta xx

Chez Olivier - Le Bistro on Urbanspoon

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Food lover August 26, 2009 at 9:04 pm

The food looks great! I LOVE French food, so will definitely give it a go! I really enjoyed reading the post:)

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella August 27, 2009 at 9:40 am

Hehe I have the absolute same reaction to romantic lighting! 😛 The bisque looks like such a vivid coral shade which is just beautiful and interesting them torching the brulee in front of you! 🙂

Reply

OohLookBel August 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm

What a great meal, and good value, too. It's always nice to find a proper French place, and French waiters always make it more authentic, n'est pas?

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Conor @ HoldtheBeef August 27, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Wow, even with the dodgy lighting the colour of the bisque is pretty outstanding.

I wonder if they've had any mishaps with the blowtorch out on the floor..?

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penny aka jeroxie August 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Such a good deal! And I love the colours and plating of the Seafood bisque.

LOL about the lighting! Seems like being a partner of a foodblogger aint too romantic.

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Iron Chef Shellie August 27, 2009 at 10:23 pm

mmmm french onion soup! my favorite!

everything looks so delicious!

you did a good job with romantic lighting though!

This is on my list of places to try.

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spatulaspoonandsaturday August 27, 2009 at 10:43 pm

oh i absolutely must give this place a go!

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Rilsta August 28, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Hi Food Lover: Thanks! 🙂 Look forward to reading what you thought of it on your blog!

Hi Lorraine: I think it is a common trait among foodbloggers!

Hi Belle: Yes, hearing the accents or the people speaking the language of the cuisine you are eating always makes it feel more authentic!

Hi Conor: I know! I was thinking the same thing when that blue flame was so close to hubby! Imagine if someone walked past and knocked the waiter! Yikes!

Hi Penny: The seafood bisque was a wonderful colour! LOL abt your comment on partners of foodbloggers!

Hi IronChefShellie: I'm getting used to romantic lighting now – knowing what settings to put my camera and trying to hold as still as possible!

Hi Kat: It's good value – nice dinner out without the huge bill!

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msloveridge October 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Definitely a must go – next time, try the bouillabaise.. SUPERB!

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Rilsta October 18, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Hi msloveridge: Will definitely have to try the bouillabaise next time! Thanks!

Reply

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