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Published May 4th 2014
Affordable Fine French Gem For All Special Occasions
We think this cover photo encapsulate everything that Cafe Lyon is about; the beautiful French food, the intimate dining atmosphere and the attention to details. North Shore really does have some of the finest and they are keeping this a secret.
Cafe Lyon is a small restaurant inconspicuously located on Pacific Highway, relatively close to the Lindfield station. As the name suggested, I was expecting home-style, hearty slow-cooked French meal. Little did I know this humble neighbourhood bistro served up some of the finest French dishes in the area.
We walked into a warm cosy restaurant with an inviting ambience. Our host for the night took our coats and showed us to our reserved table. I looked around, the restaurant was already 90% full, every diner was merry and genuinely enjoyed themselves.
Tonight we were offered a fixed banquet menu, which consisted of 4 dishes for each of the 3 course, at $65 per person. Like most French cuisine, the menu would change accordingly to match the local seasonal produce.
We started with the fried haloumi cheese with aged prosciutto and artichoke entree, which was the special for tonight. This dish was such a delight. The battered haloumi cheese was fried to perfection. It was light and golden crispy on the outside, while the cheese remained fresh and soft. It tasted better than battered fish and I would return for this dish alone.
The next entree dish was the Quail Ballantine and it delivered the most exquisite range of distinct flavours. The quails were superbly tender with a rich boudin noir center. The escargot and the lentils de puny in a light acidic ravigotte dressing balanced the quail rolls extremely well. It was a satisfying dish.
These were classy cuisines, artfully presented and generated a lot of wow factors. We received a lot of 'food envy' looks from nearby tables.
For the main course, the ocean trout arrived delicately balanced on French onion purée, with endive marmalade and surrounded by pommes. It was an enticing ensemble that tasted as good as it looked. The ocean trout was so succulent and deliciously moist; it felt like I was cutting through a butter. Of course, the crackling crisp skin was a superb finish.
The duck confit in cassoulet style was all you would expect. It was again perfectly presented with a fine balancing act. The duck was tenderly soft with a sweet buttery flavour. We weren't sure if it matched well the with haricot blanc beans, but on their own, the beans were wonderfully braised.
The serving sizes were quite substantial. After our 2 courses. we sighed with content.
The tables were placed quite close together, but that didn't bother us at all, we ended up having a nice conversation with other diners and it was quite pleasant. Most of the diners were regulars and lived close by. They were full of praise about Cafe Lyon, to the point they made the waitstaff blush.
Our first dessert was Cafe Lyon's signature apple tart fine. It was delicious with salted caramel sauce, cinnamon ice cream & almond brittle. It's easy to see why Cafe Lyon has developed such a strong local following. My friend absolutely loved their desserts.
The final act was reserved for the profiteroles au chocolat filled with Grand Marnier cream & raspberry Coulis. Three delicate profiteroles topped with crispy golden malt crackle and ice cream. It was definitely a show-stopper when our host gently poured the chocolate lava on top. This was the real treat for chocolate lovers of the highest order. A dessert dish I would recommend.
Our dining experience was quite elegant and relaxed. We were very impressed with the standard of food and service here. The staff were attentive and knowledgeable, especially our host, his service was impeccable matched with a great sense of personality and humor. He made every diner like they were a VIP at Ritz Paris. We felt very spoiled.
Dessert from next table whom were so friendly and insisted that we should take a photo of their beautiful dessert :) So sweet!
Cafe Lyon is one of those sophisticated dining venue that you would look forward to return to again. It's romantic yet family friendly and a good place to go to celebrate those special occasions....did I mention its French, too?