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.