Snails, sweets and a slice of Paris at P’tite Ardoise Bistro

Birthdays are the perfect excuse (when you need one) to indulge in a delicious meal or two in my opinion. When it comes to my boy’s special day I tend to brainstorm for weeks on what location to book. This year I had a few restaurants in mind but there was one that proved the strong contender – P’tite Ardoise Bistro in Northbridge. 
We’ve actually been there before together two years ago and still talk about it to this day. We’ve tried a couple times to return but never quite made it back. So it definitely seemed like the perfect choice for a romantic night out with my boy as we led into his birthday weekend. While I would have preferred to be out on his actual birthday he had a night shift for work so the Friday night was ours instead. 

If you haven’t been, P’tite Ardoise is an intimate, cozy affair with warm yellow walls and charming decor. It’s like an actual Parisian restaurant with French staff and two different menus – one boasting classic fare and the other more modern French cooking. It’s gorgeous and eclectic, appealing the moment you walk inside and are greeted.

Our booking was for 7pm and as we arrive I notice that we’re actually one of the first tables of people seated. This is the sort of place that fills up late with diners toasting the night away with their BYO bottles of wine.

We start the night off with a glass of Malbec each as we choose our dishes for the night. There’s so many amazing sounding menu items and a big part of me just wants to repeat the entire evening from our first visit. In the end I do echo some choices but manage to have a different main at least!

We’re soon offered bread by our waiter which is something I will happily jump on when dining out. It is a bit confusing at P’tite Ardoise in that they offer the bread but don’t actually advise that it’s $3.50 per person. I already knew this ahead of time so I was happy to incur the cost but I can imagine it catches people out.

I choose the white baguette while Jeremy chooses a plain dough before following it up with the baguette later. We’re given condiments to eat with the bread – olive oil, butter and olive tapenade. I try the others but I concentrate on the butter (surprise, surprise) which is creamy and soft enough to spread on the warm bread. I would have loved some salt to sprinkle over the top but it’s absence was a non-issue. I would have kept on going with more bread (it’s unlimited once you agree to have some) but I knew the course sizes here were reasonably generous and I was in this for entree, main and dessert. These are the perfect occasions to splurge!

When our entrees hit the table I can’t help but smile. I love how rustic the dishes look here but with modern twists like the use of blackboardesque plates (an ode to their name which translates into the little blackboard).

Jeremy’s first course is the boudin noir ($19.00) which is black pudding sitting atop of pastry and accompanied by mushrooms, apple relish and greens. I steal a little bite because I love black pudding and it’s so wonderful soft, crumbling a little but with a slightly crisp edge. It’s sweet and lightly spiced – a great entree for sure and he’s really pleased that he went with this dish after tossing up between it and the pork rillette.

For my entree I was torn between trying the duck pate or choosing the snails my way which was the entree I ordered last time I was there. While I desperately wanted to inject some variance into my dining experience, I just couldn’t get past the snails ($19.00). After all I probably eat too much pate as it is!

I’ve raved about these snails to all my friends so a big part of me was hoping that they hadn’t changed. While they weren’t exactly the same, they still tasted delicious. Last time the three pots were filled with a creamy sauce, a tomato sauce and a creamy tomato sauce all with about 4-5 snails in each. This time the sauces were all the same with 3 snails inside each one. While the quantity decrease doesn’t bother me too much, I did miss the different sauces which offered you a journey in flavour as you made your way through.

Thankfully the creamy tomato sauce they’ve kept is rich and flavourful, with each pot topped with herbs and then a buttery toast round which soaks up the sauce and brings some crunch to the dish. It’s very warming and a lovely classic French dish.

There’s a nice break between our entrees and mains at which point more bread is offered – but we both decline despite our longing stares at the warm, aromatic buns. We’re both resting our bellies and thank god we did!

For his main Jeremy has ordered the Margaret River wagyu rump steak ($45.00) which comes with fat chips, red wine jus and béarnaise. When he placed his order they didn’t ask how he wanted it to be cooked so I suspected given it was wagyu and has a high fat content it would come out medium. To our surprise it’s perfectly pink in the middle and yet the fat is easy to cut through and doesn’t result in a chewy bite. It’s tender, succulent and perfectly seasoned. I especially love the béarnaise sauce which is thick and creamy – a real standout.

For the price I would have liked to see a bit more on the plate even if it was just more potato or some wilted greens however I guess I can understand since it is a more expensive cut of meat. Since my dish was quite hearty I told my boy to eat all the complimentary steamed vegetables we were given so that he could round out his meal.

For my main I choose the braised beef cheek ($36.00) which sits atop a golden pile of mashed potatoes and red wine jus, with garlic greens and confit tomato accompanying. It’s a heavier main than I would normally order but it’s wonderful and comforting. The braised beef cheek is so tender, falling apart with a prod of my spoon. The red wine jus is rich and deeply flavoured, working well with the buttery mash. While it wasn’t paris mash (like the incredible one at Bistro Guillaume that I still can’t get off my mind), it was the perfect vessel to soak up the juices of the meat and the sauce.

I really enjoyed the garlic greens and garlic green sauce which is punchy, fresh and really vibrant. It brings life into the dish which would normally be quite a heavy and filling affair.

After our mains are cleared we’re both feeling pretty full! But these special nights out always call for a sweet ending, and I’ve been especially looking forward to the desserts here after writing about the incredible blood orange vacherin for a Scoop article I was featured in. 
Everything sounds good – especially the cheeses. But in the end I go for a sugary choice because I definitely eat too much cheese already! 
Jeremy’s dessert is the slow cooked cinnamon rice pudding served with a vanilla sable ($12.00). He loves rice pudding, citing it as one of the memorable desserts of his childhood while it’s not something I’ve ever really had experience with. He gives me a bite though and this one is soft, with a nice hit of cinnamon and brown sugar flavour. I like that they’ve given it a brulee top which shatters satisfyingly as his spoon makes contact. There’s also a gorgeous little Eiffel Tower shortbread cookie on the side cementing the French theme of the evening. 
My dessert is the lemon vacherin ($14.00) which is a meringue base topped with lemon curd, lemon sorbet and pashmak fairy floss. There’s a drizzle of raspberry coulis and raspberries and blueberries dotting the dish. And like my boy’s dish there’s also a dedication to the Eiffel Tower in the form of powdered sugar – cute! I love the little P’tite Ardoise Bistro custom chocolates that are completely edible too. 
The dessert is just as good as I remember the alternative version I tried two years ago. While the meringue base was a bit harder than I would have liked, it works well with the sour curd and the icy sorbet. There’s a really great balance between the sour and sweet elements in the dish, and there’s acidity and creaminess too. It’s textural and flavourful and ticks all the boxes. 
And doesn’t it look so pretty! Everyone in the restaurant turned to look at it when it came out – and I don’t blame them. It’s gorgeous!
Finishing up our meal at that point was just the right timing because I was ready to pop! We sleepily made our way up, full of food and wine and completely sated from our celebratory dinner. Making our way through the thicket of tables that are positioned so close together diners are practically sitting on one another, I’m feeling really happy that I chose to return to P’tite Ardoise. It might not be as fancy as previous birthday dinners like Print Hall, Fuku and Must Wine Bar but it is still a gorgeous place to have a wonderful meal and leave feeling full to the brim. 

It might have taken us two years to get back there after our first visit but I’m so pleased to see that it’s exactly as I remembered. Charming, quaint and a Parisian escape in the middle of our fair city. I’d heard some not so good reviews as of late but for me it was a lovely night. For a dinner under $200, it’s also quite good value for money. And to top the night off with a cherry, when you pay the bill you’re offered another sweet nightcap – I chose a strawberry marshmallow and Jeremy picked a caramel stick. Mmm!

P'tite Ardoise Bistro on Urbanspoon

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    takemetofoodieheaven
    28 October 2014 at 2:13 pm

    This is one of the places that I have in mind for my birthday dinner this Thursday. Hope I still can get a table if I try booking it tomorrow! Food looks good by the way 🙂

  • Reply
    Perth Food Explorer
    29 October 2014 at 12:50 am

    I LOVE the snails here, how decadent is all the food. I was in a deep food coma after eating here!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    29 October 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Happy birthday for tomorrow! Hopefully you end up somewhere delicious 🙂 I'm such a fan of this place, it's low key and yet delicious!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    29 October 2014 at 2:06 pm

    The food there is definitely decadent! I may have fallen straight asleep when we got home haha 🙂

  • Reply
    lee
    30 October 2014 at 12:29 am

    What a beautiful dinner and lovely photos. I want to visit now 🙂

  • Reply
    Dumpling Love (@cscc28)
    30 October 2014 at 1:45 am

    I've always wanted to try this place, and it's actually taken a backseat on my list. But after seeing your main and dessert, it's climbed back up the list! haha. Now just have to find an occasion =P

  • Reply
    takemetofoodieheaven
    30 October 2014 at 8:39 am

    Thanks Kristy! I managed to get a booking and I'm actually going there for dinner tonight! Can't wait 😀

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    1 November 2014 at 3:05 pm

    It's a gorgeous restaurant! Hopefully you love it if you do visit, it's so charming!

  • Reply
    Queen of Bad Timing
    1 November 2014 at 3:06 pm

    It took us way too long to make it back but I'm so glad we went! It's so intimate and rustic, a nice place for a special occasion!

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