22 January 2011

A night at Boire

A night in Melbourne during the Australian Open tennis season, without a restaurant reservation booked months in advance, can be a nightmare.  But not for us on this lucky occasion.  We arrived at our hotel in Fitzroy, dumped our bags and headed straight out to Smith Street where we had heard of a fairly new restaurant called Boire, which didn't require a reservation.  With kids in tow we arrived to find one table vacant (don't be fooled by the empty outside tables as they don't have a license to serve alcohol out on the street - very un-French!).

Boire is a very lively place with the tables turning over frequently.  Long painted blackboard wall down one side with changing menu and wine list. Several whites and reds are served by the glass and a longer list by the bottle.  Polished concrete floors and long white wall down the other side with an interesting variety of hooks, paintings, an antique clock and paper hand towel rolls (a novel alternative to serviettes) provide an interesting and useful mix.  All the hard services and the volume of customers make for a noisy space which in turn is heightened by the choice of background music..... or maybe I'm just getting old!

Wine buckets brought to the tables fit into a snazzy compartment in the centre of the round tables. Bottles of cold tap water are provided without asking.  Air-conditioning and service weren't at their best on this occasion, despite the floor staff doing their best to keep pace.

But enough about the place!  It was the food and the wine that we were most interested in.  For entrée we ordered the olives, saucisse (salami), free range rustic porc paté and mussels served at room temperature with pastis, tomatoes, basil and parsley - mmmmm.  All delicious and served with a rustic sourdough.  We enjoyed these dishes with wines by the glass.  I was not disappointed with my selection of Chantegrave blanc "Caroline" 2007 (Bordeaux Sauvignon Semillon), a dry white 'Graves' with buttery tones and a palate of tropical fruits - great on its own or with food.  We also tried the Marionnet Touraine Chenin Blanc Vinifera 2008, a non grafted grape from the Loire Valley.

For our main course we enjoyed two reds by the glass -  the Sainte Foy Franc de Ferrierie 2006 (Bordeaux Cabernet Merlot) and the Cosse-Maisonneuve 2004 from Cahors (Lot et Garonne, Malbec) which were both perfect with the with the duck (Duck breast and leg paupiette with green beans, nectarine, almonds and pink potatoes).  The vegetable dish (Roasted yellow courgettes with breadcrumbs, aubergine puree, chickpeas, tomatoes and shallots) was a delicious accompanyment.  For dessert I couldn't resist the Chocolate Trio, whilst the husband had a dessert wine by the glass -  Gaillac Doux - not too cloying and would have been fantastic with cheese or a fruity dessert.

Our kids also loved the salami, olives, paté, mussels and boiled eggs, followed by the creme caramel.  Oh, and they were delighted to be offered the homemade lemonade from the elegant wine glasses that we also enjoyed.  All in all a good night out and we all went home with contented tummies and palates!

Now .... anyone for tennis?

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