Friday, October 2, 2009

Les Amis Review

Last night we decided to try having dinner at Les Amis after I read a little mention about it in the Brisbane News. I don't know why, but I was pleasantly surprised by the decor. It was casual, chic, cosy and modern - just the way I like it. The colours were warm and soothing, the single chandelier provided class and it was very 'french' indeed. The venue is small and it is pretty much alfresco as the inside opens up to the outside. Once the weather warms up, sitting outside would be beautiful.

It was 8.15pm when we arrived and there were a few tables occupied. T and I guessed that it would be pretty packed during the day because of all the offices in the building. We were presented with the menu and the two specials of the night were explained to us. Les Amis is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday except Monday and their menu was pretty big which made T and I a little nervous, being avid watchers of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. One of the things he repeatedly says is "You want to do a few things and you want to do them right".. and then he drastically downsizes the menu!

We were immediately sucked into the entrees and the charcuterie (cured meat) and weren't too impressed with the meats/mains SO, typically of T and I, we ordered a whole heap of entrees - the soup of the day (cauliflower soup) with fresh bread roll and butter ($10.90), twice baked goats cheese souffle ($14.90), confit pork belly ($16.90) and the Les Amis salad ($14.90) - and the assiette de charcuterie ($27) which is a tasting plate of all on the charcuterie menu. I ordered a chocolate milkshake as an afterthought and I have to admit, it wasn't as good as Pearl Cafe - might've been the chocolate they used but nevertheless, I didn't finish it (which says alot).

Almost immediately after ordering, we were presented with an amuse bouche of scallop and pea soup which T liked but I definitely didn't because, if you didn't know already, I am NOT a fan of vegetables. I only started eating veggies this year and I'm still getting used to them. I don't know what half of them are called/look like, I still hate peas, broccoli and probably many more. Anyway, this soup was extremely green and pea-y so T had mine :) yay!

The cauliflower soup was for T but I had a few spoonfuls and it was good! Creamy with just a hint of cauliflower (which is probably why I liked it) BUT the winner waaaas *drum roll* the BUTTER that came with the bread roll. Why, you ask? Because, finally someone had the sense to soften the butter so that we, the starving customers, could immediately and easily spread it on our fresh, warm bread roll!! *Hallelujah music* I mean, how hard can it be? T and I have been waiting and waiting for someone to do that and finally, on the night of the 1st of October 2009, we were granted our wish. Yeesssss!!! NB: If you're reading this and you work for a restaurant that serves bread rolls with bread, pleeeeze suggest softening the butter for customers, pleeeze!

I thought the twice baked goats cheese souffle looked incredible, just sitting there on top of a smear of fennel puree on the plate instead of being in some ramekin or other. It made me just want to dive into it! A spoon cut into it oh so easily, it was fluffy and light with a good taste of goats cheese and the line of tomato and black olive mini salad was delicious too!

T wasn't too keen on ordering the confit pork belly, probably because we've had it to death in the last few months (on an apple puree, no less) but I insisted because come on, I just have a thing for pork belly okay?! The dish was beautifully presented (again), the skin crispy, the meat succulent and the apple and vanilla puree, the dried apple cracker and the marinated slice of pumpkin delicious. After having a bite, T just had to nod his head in satisfaction and there we were nodding our heads like a couple of donkeys.

The Les Amis salad consisted of haloumi cheese, roasted fennel, crispy speck, mixed leaves and balsamic dressing. I thought that the haloumi cheese was dry and not cut thinly enough but the crispy speck was tasty! Everything else was pretty average, don't think I would get it again.

The assiette of cured meat had foie gras and duck liver parfait, Toulouse sausage, confit rolled chicken thigh with artichoke, prosciutto and truffle mash and lastly the pork rillette. I didn't have any foie gras this time but T said it was good, the sausage tasted really nice and porky (some people may not like that but I do) and the winner was the confit rolled chicken thigh. It was juicy and tender and morsels of delight, really. The pork rillette was interesting, a scoop of shredded pork molded together and a heap of celeriac remoulade to pile onto a mini toast which suprisingly worked really well and tasted cold and fresh.

For the part that everyone's waiting for (or maybe just me) - dessert! I got the white chocolate creme brulee with raspberry compote ($9.50) and we shared that. The white chocolate was prominent in the creme brulee and it tasted wonderfully rich and velvety and of course, the classic partnering with raspberries never goes wrong!

All in all, it was a wonderful dining experience. The wait staff and even the chefs were pleasant and friendly. The food went down a treat and we are already planning to go back to try the breakfast and lunch menu! Les Amis takes bookings, is licensed but accepts BYO. It also has a display cabinet that offers the daily specials of pastries and sandwiches. They also do caterings and functions and seems pretty well run for a place that has been open for only 4 months.

Rating: 8/10

Les Amis
Shop 1, Green Square North Tower
515 St Paul's Terrace
Fortitude Valley

Phone: 07 3852 6100

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