Sunday, March 16, 2014

BISTRO MONCUR


It was three years ago that I was introduced to my husband for what I believed was the first time. "We've actually met before, in fact we spoke for some time at the work Christmas party", he said as I introduced myself. My memory flashed back to said party. Cocktails at lunchtime; a late evening paper scissors rock contest which involved downing shots of goodness-knows-what heavily potent concoction. I strained to remember him but I drew a compete blank. Luckily, he found it all rather amusing, despite numerous instances in our conversation where he informed me that yes, we'd covered all of this conversational ground before. Fast forward hundreds of text messages and one lucky escape from the Japanese Tsunami, and we found ourselves on one of our first proper dates at Bistro Moncur, a stalwart of the Sydney dining scene. I had called my mum prior and told her of our evening plans. "Mon Couer is French for My Heart, you know" she said. "It isn't spelt like that, mum,  but I'll take it as a good sign!"

Coincidentally, I was so nervous that mon couer was experiencing palpatations. At risk of being overly gushy, the metaphorical connotations of the phrase was ringing true too - the evening turned out to be one that will always be dear to my heart. We've always said we must return when the anniversary of our meeting came along (we're sentimental, let it be known!) but that never eventuated, of course, until this year. James was at work this weekend so I had a ridiculous amount of time to beautify myself. That meant I could indulge in a bit of contouring, hair curling and thoughtful consideration of what to wear. This was how I wound up:

Dress: Forever New / Heels: Tony Bianco

Bistro Moncur has long been known as a no-bookings kind of place (I hear they've started taking limited bookings now). This could be offputting for special-occasion-dates if it wasn't located within a buzzing local hotel, where you can order a drink from the bar and wait for staff to fetch you when your table is ready. We hadn't long been waiting when our lovely hostess came looking for us. That's one thing I can say about all of the staff at this establishment: they're so very polite and friendly. For me, personally, a great evening is made that much more so when this is the case.


The space itself is timelessly chic (look at that ceiling!) and has a wonderfully busy ambience. If you're into wines, you've come to the right place. This is a fact widely accepted but one I can't tell you anything about as I've switched to Vodka-based concoctions (I'm convinced they don't give me the same pounding head and next-day "flatness" that wine has a tendency to do). Thus, I started with a Campari/Vodka cocktail:


The bread bowl looked really enticing.


We ate the best Sydney Rock Oysters I've ever tasted. Plump, juicy and served with a red wine vinaigrette, I could have eaten the dozen to myself. Now, if you're not an oysters person, you should probably start being one. They're full of Zinc, which apparently is the key to avoiding stretch marks. I know this because I've googled "Avoid Stretch Marks Pregnancy" more times than I can justify.


Our mains were out-of-this-world. I am always the girl who orders her meat cooked medium-well. This time I forgot to but I'm so glad I did. Lamb is so much better when it's verging on red! Mine came served with a bean, heirloom tomato and almond salad, which was perfect as I'm trying to keep my meals as light as possible. 


Let's face it, though. Mashed potatoes will always have a place in my heart. James let me help myself to his, which was the accompaniment to some rather spectacular pork sausages and a moreish Spanish salsa that I'd describe as chutney-like in flavour and texture. Who knew Bangers and Mash could be so refined?

I wanted, really really wanted, to avoid the dessert menu. But how could I when my favourite item was on it? They described it as a banana caramel cream pie but I'm calling it Banoffee. And possibly the most genius one I've ever tasted (equal first with the chocolate biscuit based one at Bootleg in Potts Point). The Moncur offering involved a shortbread-like base, dark Dulce de leche, layers of bananas, a brûlée glaze (DROOLING AS I TYPE), whipped cream and the most spectacular chocolate balls on top that  had a centre not unlike the inside of a Crispy M&M. I'd actually love to know what these little chocolate delights are known as because, apart from the pie having the perfect marriage of flavours, those crispy chocolate drops made it the most gratifying textural treat too. Because of both of these things, that tart has now catapulted right up to the top of my Banoffee Pie Hero List.


I couldn't have imagined a better "anniversary" celebration. The icing on the cake was when we decided to take the longest way home possible, playing some romantic tunes through the car's iPod connection. We reached a bit of a quiet reflective point in our journey, while Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' stunningly beautiful song "Into my Arms" was playing. "What are you thinking about?" I asked. His reply?

"Just work, sweetie"

:-\

If you too would like to experience an evening that is pleasing to both your heart and palate, check out Bistro Moncur's website here

2 comments:

  1. Anna and James happy, happy anniversary, look like you had an amazing time and Anna you look so beautiful as always! Love the photos and place you went! Love you D.xxxxx

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    Replies
    1. D, you are so kind and I always feel so happy after reading your comments!!!

      I miss you gorgeous friend. Hopefully not too long before I visit! xoxoxo

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