Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hiely Lucullus - Avignon - France - review

Name: Hiely Lucullus
Address: 5 Rue de la République
84000 Avignon,

04 90 86 17 07

Food: French, Modern French
Average price: $

Complimentary: Bread roll

The roll was warm and soft but there was no butter to eat with it.

Melon three ways with ham

The sorbet, melon and melon juice were all sweet - and therefore this dish was overly sweet. The sorbet had a wonderful texture though.

We ordered:

Entree: Artichoke and lettuce 

This was bland, bland, bland. The soup was just stock with a few pieces of tough artichoke with wilted soggy lettuce on top, barely ate it despite my hunger.

Les escargots petits gris des Alpilles

R said the snails tasted like mushrooms and he didn't find the dish particularly tasty.

Main: Duck with cherry

R loved this, he said cherries went beautifully

Asparagus risotto

The rice was still chalky and needed lots of seasoning. Some asparagus spears were brown and unattractive. I did not like this dish.

 Dessert: Fig tart with vanilla icecream and lavender

I adored the addition of lavender. The ice cream was smooth and full of fragrant vanilla. The figs were sweet but crunchy. The biscuit base let the rest of the tart down, so basically this was just figs with ice cream.

Raspberry tart with lemon verbena

The herbs were languid and bruised. The raspberries were nice but the syrup was too sweet even for their tanginess and the acidity of the lemon curd. Once again the biscuit base, the same as above, was below par.

Cost: $85Euro for two entrees, two mains and two desserts.

Service: Bad/Inexperienced. At a Michelin starred restaurant I was hoping at least one of the waiters would know how to speak English, unfortunately only one knew about as much English as I knew French, which isn't much. Language barrier aside, our water was rarely topped up and the food was painfully slow to arrive and to be taken away. Towards the end of the meal I got a stomach pain and wanted to get the check to leave, despite asking for the check four times it took 30mins and us walking to the door before someone came with it.

Atmosphere: Golden hued elegance. I really loved the combination of warm woods and sunburnt hues with flourishes of jade green, it gave the room warmth and life. The windows that looked over the main street allowed light to flood in and gave the room a feeling of even more space. There are very few tables and they are spaced far apart so that it does feel at times you are the only ones eating.

Parking: Risky. There are even less car parks in Avignon town which is geared towards pedestrians so take the bus or train and leg it.


Hours:  Open Daily 12pm-2pm, 7pm-10pm

Would I return: No.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cafe des Deux Moulins - France - Paris - review

Name: Cafe des Deux  Moulins

Address: 15 Rue Lepic
18eme Arrondissement


Average price: $2.80-$18.50 Euro.

Complimentary: Glass of water.

We ordered: Pain au chocolat - $1.30 Euro

Nice, not the best nor the worst.

Amelie's breakfast - $9.90Euro
Also pictured above

Quite generous portion of half a bread stick, a croissant, jam, butter, coffee, orange juice and an omelet (I forgot to photograph it, but it was quite large).

Everything was cooked fine, not fantastic but good value.

Cost: $11.20Euro for one breakfast meal and a chocolate croissant.

Service:  OK. The waiters were fairly rushed and it took a while to get our menus. But the food itself came out quickly.

Atmosphere: Kitschy. The decor remains mostly true to the movie with its tiled floor and pale green accents with pink ceilings, the glass partition that Amelie wrote on has disappeared and a large picture of her sits at the back of the cafe as well as another above the bar. The cigarette counter is also gone.The patrons are a mixture of locals, who sit at the front of the cafe, whilst at the back are the groups of tourists no doubt on an Amelie tour, behind us is a tour group of 15 Asian tourists happily taking a million snapshots of everything, including their cutlery. There was this one moment when a homeless person came in and stood in the middle of the cafe whilst the staff walked around him as if he were part of the furniture, eventually he made his way to the bathroom where he stayed until after we departed. I didn't quite gel with the atmosphere which felt so divided and also rushed.

Parking: Forget about it. Parking in France is a nightmare (and sometimes laughable at how ridiculous it is, we saw an instance where are car was so pinned in, both cars next to it were touching its bumpers). Do yourself a favour and take the Metro (trains every 3mins) or a bus.

Website: None.

Hours:  Daily 7am - 2am.

Would I return: No.

Friday, September 17, 2010

L'Opera Cafe - Avignon - France - review

Name:L'Opera Cafe 

Address: 24 Place de l'Horloge
Avignon 84000
Average price: Lunch 15.90 - 18.90 € - Dinner menu 24 - 30 €

Complimentary: Just bread, three cold, chewy loaves.

We ordered:

Tomato gazpacho and salad -$7.50Euro

I was surprised with the frequency tomato gazpacho appeared on all price-ranged French restaurant menus. The salad was limp and completely unappetising, I wouldn't be surprised if it was yesterday's. The soup was quite chunky, was all onion and no tomato and also tasted like yesterday's lunch.

Salmon and salad

Same, scraggly salad as above doused in vinegar. R liked the salmon though.

Steak with potatoes and aioli - $12.90Euro

Worst steak of R's life - chewier than leather and even harder to cut through, he had to spit some out when he got lock-jaw from trying to break it down enough to swallow. Potatoes were soggy (some undercooked) and as tasteless as the aioli.

Lemon tart

The crust was nice but the curd was too runny, too sweet and without that wonderful lemon tang. The syrup was lovely, wish there had been more, and the sorbet was wonderfully surprising with its real strawberry-ness, the only real winner of the day.

Cost: $26.40Euro - for 2 special 2-course lunch deals.

Service:  Almost self-service. The waiters seemed more suited to being doormen and bartenders, barely looking at you whilst taking your order, hurrying back inside without ever refilling your water once. On a positive note the food came out fairly quickly and was cleared just as quickly.

Atmosphere: Bustling bar-cum-daytime eatery. The inside decor is definitely suited towards a bar rather than a cafe. The black floor looked like the Metro nightclub floor, meaning fairly dirty and the chairs inside were more suited to sitting back with a drink in hand rather than hunching over a table to eat, that said the chairs outside were comfy under the incredibly orange awning.

Parking: Risky. There are even less car parks in Avignon town which is geared towards pedestrians so take the bus or train and leg it.

Website: None.

Hours:  Monday - Sunday:  from 9:00am to 1:30pm, reopens at 2:30-7:00pm or 11:30pm (turns into a bar at night).

Would I return: No.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bistro Traptje - Bourgoensch hof hotel - Bruges - Belgium - Review

Name: Bistro Traptje

Address: Wollestraat 39
8000 Brugge,

050 33 16 45

Food: Belgian, Pub
Average price:

Complimentary: 4 slices of cold bread with three packets of butter.

Pretty much your standard supermarket loaf.

We ordered:
Kaaskroketten met salade - $11.60Euro
Two cheese croquettes with salad

If you look past the no-effort presentation the croquettes themselves were quite moorish and satisfying in a simple, oozy fried cheese way. The salad was nothing special but fresh and generous none-the-less.

Mussels with fries - $21Euro

R enjoyed the smell more than the dish. Although he enjoyed the mussels there wasn't much variety in the dish and they soon became monotonous. The chips were stale and unappetising, even with the watered down mayonnaise.

White beer - $4euro

Cost: $36.60Euro for an entree, 1 main and 1 beer. They only accepted cash as payment.

Service: Lacklustre. Despite there being hardly any patrons the one waitress who was there was more often unseen, at the back unpacking stock and various other errands. As a result our water was never refilled and we had to wait a while for her to come back so we could get the cheque. That aside they did make the city's best know dish, mussels, for hubby despite it not being on the menu.

Atmosphere: Reminiscent of an English pub. The maroon carpets patterned with gold were paired with a pale wooden bar and darker wooden chairs. The drapes were heavy and green but parted to show the view of the canal through lattice windows. The room felt a little musty but otherwise it was fine enough, When we went most were seated outside so therefore there was hardly any noise. Business was fairly quiet.

Parking: Take a risk. Whilst less busy than Paris, the city is geared more towards pedestrians and cyclists.


Hours: No idea, but as it is part of the hotel I'd say it be open daily for most meals.

Would I return: No. I'm sure there is a better representation of Belgian food someplace else but we chose this place as we recognised it from the film, In Bruges.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Guy Savoy - Paris - France - Review

Name: Guy Savoy
Address: Rue Troyon, 
75017 Paris, 

01 43 80 40 61

Food: French, Modern French
Average price: - $100Euro -  $345Euro

Complimentary: Lots of bread and butter. We were given a different bread for each course - loved it.

We ordered:

Foie gras and sourdough toast

Despite my disapproval of him eating foie gras, R decided he wanted to try it 'once' - and although he enjoyed it he didn't think it was worth the cost.

Vegetable tart

Nice, but not as flavoursome as the ones from L'arpege.

Soup and a surprise.

R enjoyed this but I found the soup grainy and didn't enjoy it.

The surprise was small but nice. 

Tout Petit pois en demi  
egg  & peas

The egg slightly underdone with the whites a little too slippery for my liking. Half of the peas were cooked and half weren't, this 'textural difference' didn't really make much of a difference to me. The bread it was served with was over-toasted and therefore akin to cardboard.

Tomato tart tatin

Simple but tasty.

Tomato medley

Ok, but nothing exciting.

Tomato soup & tartare

Now this was probably my favourite dish of the night. The seaweed ice shaved on top really brought the flavours to life. Very yummy.

Fish with vanilla foam 

One of best dishes of the night for R.

Veggies with coriander sauce.

Ok, but fairly standard.

Carrots & mushrooms

Now this was much better. The sauce on the plate along with the mushrooms themselves were delicious.


R's second favourite dish of the night.

Artichoke soup with black truffles with a mushroom and truffle brioche

The soup was actually heavy on the artichoke and light on the truffle. The consistency was too watery for me had a greasiness; I just didn't particularly like it. The brioche on the other hand was delightful, great balance between crispiness and flakiness, but too heavy for the soup, best eaten on its own.


Ok but a touch one dimensional.

Pidgeon with foie gras

According to R the liver overpowered everything.


Too many to count but the comte was my favourite.

Frozen lollypops

Cherry watermelon
This was ok, but not super cherry or watermelon.

Pistachio chocolate
Not much pistachio flavour and quite icy in texture. 

Textures de fraises 

The strawberry chips were a little overcooked and hard to eat otherwise the flavours were fresh and very strawberry. R found it a little boring though. The marshmallow and filled raspberry were ok, but once again, nothing more than expected.

Chocolate with lime, cardamom, pepper

The chocolate was a base note only with the other flavours heavier on the tongue, they made the dish rather un-sweet and didn't really add any intrigue. I wanted more of a chocolate hit.

earl grey sorbet 

Quite nice and surprisingly lemony.

Apple tart tatin

Slightly overcooked and chewy but nice.

A few dessert tray items (there was quite a smorgasbord)

Chocolate macaron was good, not Pierre Herme great, but good. The chocolate tart was too bitter for me with a slight chalkiness. The mousse was also quite bitter but it did have a wonderfully creamy texture.

Cherry clafoutis

Very cold and quite rubbery. Only had one teaspoonful. I also tried some sort of nut slice but it wasn't great.

Cost: $580Euro for 2 prestige degustations (one vegetarian), and one bottle of Evian Pure.

Service: Very professional and eager. When you walk in you will be greeted repeatedly, we were greeted by no less than eight or so waiters just on the way to our table, which in all honesty, was a touch creepy. The staff was also quite vigilant and quick to respond to any sort of movement. Whilst this ensured my water was never less than 3/4 full and my bread of butter replaced before I had even swallowed, it was just a bit too attentive for me, I always felt watched and felt like I had to self-monitor. That aside they were all very friendly, although the head waiter was circulating the same joke to each table, and after the fifth time we heard his spiel it became slightly annoying - like a repeating record.

I should mention that all of the restaurants in France, especially the Michelin starred ones, were very camera friendly and encouraging of photos. Unfortunately, I was so used to the un-snap-happy vibe in Aussie restaurants that I still felt guilty taking pictures and would shoot super fast despite the chefs at times telling me to take many shots and waiters offering to do different poses and freeze mid pour.

Atmosphere: Refined but a little like an institution. The restaurant is very large and we were seated way down in a side room with only three other tables that seated around 10 other customers. One table of six came individually and each time another person arrived, Guy Savoy came out again to greet them, personally he could have just waited until the entire party was there and said hello once rather than 5 times. For some reason the room felt like a small cafeteria to me as we were all able to clearly hear each others conversations and between lulls in food would try not to stare at each other which was hard to do as we were quite walled in. The decor in our room was wood with coloured glasses and butter dishes as well as a rather intriguing black and white African-abstract painting on the wall which was nice. I should note that men are required to wear jackets AT ALL TIMES. So make sure its comfortable. And ladies, they do crank up the air conditioning, I assume so that the men are comfortable in their coats, so do bring a wrap to keep the chill off.

Parking: Forget about it. Parking in France is a nightmare (and sometimes laughable at how ridiculous it is, we saw an instance where are car was so pinned in, both cars next to it were touching its bumpers). Do yourself a favour and take the Metro (trains every 3mins) or a bus.


Hours: Tue–Fri - 12pm–2pm, 7pm–10:30pm, Sat - 7pm–10:30pm

Would I return: No.  Food was nice, but nothing really stood out and at those prices, you want at least one really memorable dish.