When an invitation from Edward Chamberlain-Bell, Mr #JoziStyle, lands in your Inbox, you know you are indeed fortunate, but when it’s for a two-fold wine-tasting/lunch, then you know you’re in for a treat!
Lunchtime started at Wine Menu, a boutique wine store in Birnam’s exclusive Blu Bird centre. This is a veritable Aladdin’s cave for any wine lover, with a considerable selection of rare and exclusive wines, as well as the everyday ‘staples’. They also stock a small number of craft beers and spirits. We were treated to an informative (and very
generous) wine tasting of a small variety of some lesser known local wines, with the extremely knowledgeable Corlien Morris, and yes … I remembered the cost of a cork!! Between R10 and R15 each! (So proud of myself!)
And then it was on to lunch …
Bistro Michel, found on the upper level of the Blu Bird centre, is a little slice of French bonhomie, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday tedium.
As guests of #DineJoziStyle, we were privileged to have Chef Michel himself join us for a relaxed lunch, so were able to chat to him about his menu, where he sources his ingredients from (basically everywhere, he sees no reason to be restricted by region), and what inspires him. The menu isn’t a large one. It’s divided into starters and mains, and then there are side dishes or ‘gratins’ that you can choose to accompany your mains. There’s a separate burger menu for those who are so inclined. There is also a specials board available, depending on what Michel has managed to source
The complimentary bread selection (together with butter, olive oil and balsamic) that you’re presented with before your meal, is just divine! Try not to overdo it though because you need to keep space for the delicious meal that you’ve ordered.
I didn’t elect to have a starter but my fellow diners did, and I instantly regretted my decision, especially when I saw the onion soup. This typically traditional French dish looked heavenly with its thick cheesy topping and crisp croutons. Michel himself had the vegetable soup which also looked incredible (can you tell I’m a bit of a soup fiend?)
Onto the mains and my sirloin was cooked to perfection (medium rare). The accompanying Bearnaise sauce was a little cooler than I would have liked, but I know that you can either have it served hot or cold, depending on restaurant preference. It did taste good though.
Some of us chose to order a selection of side dishes
so that we could share a variety (or possibly because they all sounded so good that we just couldn’t choose). This was an excellent choice! So we opted for the Gratin Dauphinois, the macaroni with truffle, the green beans and zucchini. All were really ordinary, everyday ingredients which were elevated to another level and enhanced with just enough subtle flavouring to make them extra special accompaniments to the dishes they were complementing. The presentation, in pretty multi-coloured dishes, was quite delightful – adding that
typical French, stylish flair that one would expect.
And yes … we still had room for dessert! The Creme Caramel was light and the perfect finish to a beautifully balanced meal.
Of course, being a bunch of foodies (social media foodies at that), we all had our noses in each other’s plates, commenting, photographing and admiring. The plating here is simple, yet exquisite. Everything I saw almost looked too good to eat!
Throughout our lunch we were looked after by the delightful Victor – nothing was too much for him. He was friendly, efficient and obliging. Suffice to say the service was unobtrusive yet excellent.
The emphasis at Bistro Michel is on elegant simplicity and fine dining. This isn’t the place to bring the kids – unless you’ve got kids with sophisticated tastes! The interior is classicly designed with an eye-catching map of the Paris Metro covering the entire side wall. During warmer months the outside deck is the perfect place to enjoy your meal.
This is a dining experience to be savoured. Perfect for a special occasion, or perhaps for those with discerning tastes who have tired of the more pedestrian eating spots. You won’t be disappointed.