Friday, 1 March 2013

Blancmange Bouchon - 1 March 2013

The wife and I decided to venture out to Petersham on a Friday night to try Blancmange. We have wanted eat at Blancmange for a while now but what finally spurred us to go this time was the head chef, Nathan Brindle, who we have been seeing on Masterchef Professional. He is definitely one of our favourite contestants on the show, so I hope he wins or at least makes the final four. Not only does he have great talent in the kitchen, he also seems to be a great team player and is not arrogant (unlike others on the show such as Rhett and Anthony).

Blancmange has recently become Blancmange Bouchon, meaning that it has pared back from being a fine diner to a more casual bistro (similar to what the former Assiete has done). This is the sort of dining that I have been addicted to lately: good honest cooking in a more casual, laid back environment.  The menu here is great value. On weekdays, for $45 you get one entrée and one main (which is what we got today). And on Saturdays, Blancmange offers a $65 5-course tasting menu (must come back to try this, bargain!).  



We were seated at a table that looked directly into the kitchen. So I peered into the kitchen, and yes, I saw Nate from MCP. Score! I was really looking forward to having an excellent meal now! But as I continued to watch the kitchen, I spotted another familiar face. My wife suggested that she looked like Sarah from MCP. How can that be, another MC contestant at Blancmange? So we asked one of the waitresses whether that was Sarah in the kitchen. And  indeed it was Sarah Knights from MC! How awesome is this! Now Blancmange feels like the MC kitchen. The waitress told us that Sarah joined the Blancmange kitchen following the shooting of MC. Sarah and Nathan roomed together during MC and became good friends and since Sarah was not working in any other kitchen at the time, she agreed to join the Blancmange team. Now I am really really looking forward to the meal ahead! Enough blabbing on about MC, and onto the food…

Bread and tastings

  
Here is the house made bread and tastings to kick things off. The bread was great and wonderfully crusty. The bread came with homemade butter. It too was great. Very creamy. There was also some chicken liver pate. I am not a huge pate fan at the best of times, but it was alright. The pickled cauliflower was nice and I loved the crispy pork cracker! And since my wife is a vegetarian, she was also served with a salad of radish, fennel and chives. 

Entree: Ox tongue, radish and mustard

For entrée, I got the Ox tongue, radish and mustard. The ox tongue was amazing. It was slow cooked so it was very tender. The ox tongue just melts in the mouth and had great flavour. You could see the individual strands of the ox tongue as you pull it apart with your fork. There was no need for a knife as the tongue was so soft. The tongue also went very well with the sauce which was a mustard miso. I love miso! Wonderful combination of sweet, salt and umami. 
  
Entree: Couscous, artichoke and labneh

My wife got couscous, artichoke and labneh. All in all, a very enjoyable salad entrée with wonderful combinations. It was Israeli couscous, so much larger than regular couscous. They resembled pearls. There was pomegranate. There was slices of artichoke. And labneh, which is hung yoghurt that resembles cheese. 

Main: Lamb, ricotta, beans
 
For main, I got lamb, ricotta and beans. This was a good main. It was a lamb roast, which I would have preferred to be cooked more rare. The flavour of the lamb was great though. The gravy that it came with was  yummy. I would have licked the plate clean if I was in a room by myself. The dish also came with pillows of spinach and ricotta. I enjoyed these as they were soft like pillows but would have liked a bit more seasoning on them. 

Main: Goats cheese, beetroot, walnuts

My wife got the goat cheese tart with beetroot and walnuts, a classic combination that you can’t go wrong with. She took one bite of the pastry and she was in heaven. So I tried a little bit, and ‘oh my goodness’, the pastry was amazing! It was so short and crumbly. And so buttery! And we both love beetroot. There were both golden and ordinary beetroots.  So overall, a great dish indeed!

Side: Potatoes and rosemary salt

We decided to order the potatoes and rosemary salt for sides. These resembled hot chips more than roasted potatoes. We both enjoyed these potatoes. Fluffy potato in the centre and nice crispy outside!

So after the mains we went straight to dessert. So here is the…

Dessert: Spiced Parfait,  Melon, Sable

This was a perfect summer dessert! Very refreshing, I have never had a rock melon sorbet before and it was amazing. Loved how the dessert was nutty yet light 
We also got the…

Dessert: Chocolate Fondant, Spiced Rum Ice-cream


Chocolate fondants can be hit or miss. We were hoping for a gooey centre with chocolate oozing out like lava when we cut the fondant open. And was this dessert a hit! Lovely, warm, runny chocolate pudding with a delicious ice cream to cut through the richness. A perfect winter dessert! Well it’s not winter right now, but the weather outside is pretty terrible, so a great dessert for the occasion.

Verdict
Highlight: The ox tongue entrée. Melt in your mouth stuff!  
Lowlight: Not much to complain about here. My least favourite course was the lamb main, which could have been cooked more rare.
Overall: A casual suburban dining room with 2 Masterchef Professionals in the kitchen. Great food at reasonable prices. I can see why Blancmange is a favourite amongst the locals of the Inner West. 7.5/10 (Great)  

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