Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar is a French restaurant located inside the 5 star Hotel Realm in Barton, just a few minutes south of the city. Hotel Realm is just one of the hotels in the Doma Hotels group in the area, with the Brassey Hotel, Little National Hotel and Burbury Hotel all located nearby. As well as Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar, there are also other top Canberra restaurants in the same hotel precinct - Maple and Clove, Lilotang, Chairman & Yip, Ostani and High Tea on the Terrace at the Burbury Hotel. This central restaurant area is ideal for business people working nearby, visitors staying at the hotel or anyone who enjoys a unique dining experience with service and sophistication. Buvette fits into this fine dining experience nicely, with a sense of class in every folded napkin and shining piece of silverware.
When you first walk into Hotel Realm, the large hotel foyer is impressive with high ceilings and there is a simple gold "B" on the floor to mark the entrance to Buvette. The decor of this French restaurant exudes elegance and style with its gold, black and white simple colour scheme and quality fittings.
Levels within the restaurant and variety of seating
On our visit, our family went to Buvette for the buffet breakfast, as a generous gift from a friend. When we arrived, a friendly staff member greeted us and took us on a tour of what was available in the buffet and showed us to our table. On our visit on a Saturday morning it was fairly quiet, with only a handful of tables taken with guests, however I imagine it would be busier during the week with business hotel guests from the surrounding Doma Hotels. For our family, who rarely get a chance to dine at such a restaurant, we were more than happy to have it to ourselves and explore every breakfast option available!
Near the entrance to the restaurant there was a hot food station with eggs cooked every way, bacon, mushrooms, beans, sausages, hash browns and cooked tomatoes. Diners could lift up the lids of the blue dishes to make their choice and take in the smells of mushrooms cooked in thyme and their own baked bean recipe bubbling away.
Located further back in the restaurant there was the continental cold buffet station with coffee, juices, cereals, toasts, self-serve pancakes, danishes, yoghurt, bircher muesli, fruits, croissants and more. The variety was extensive, with the French pastries a particular highlight with several choices available. If you plan on staying at Hotel Realm for a "Stay-cation" in your own city, or as a visitor to Canberra, then the Breakfast Buffet is an ideal way to start your day, for $35 per person. Breakfast is available between 6:30am - 10:30am daily and can also be enjoyed by non-guests (like us), for the same price.
Cold options including cereals, toast, yoghurts, fruit, pastries and more...
As expected in a 5 Star Hotel, this restaurant uses only the finest ingredients creatively paired with some of the world's finest wines. Lunch and Dinner are a personal affair, where meals are created, not just cooked, with wines to match each course. The word Buvette loosely translates to "watering hole" and at the time of writing, they have an astounding 25 pages of wines on their wine list.
Another dining option which is particularly popular with the residents of Canberra is the Petit Feast each Saturday - which is a fine dining "brunch" experience of small proportions. Held between 11:30am-2:30pm, these special events are described as a "bountiful spread that includes a selection of savouries, charcuterie and cheeses, and a selection of decadent desserts" . The cost is $60 per guest including a glass of Rosť or sparkling or $50 for brunch only. See their website for details and their Facebook for their latest events, such as Friday Night Soirees (at the time of writing).
I must admit, Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar isn't a restaurant that I would normally visit, as it is designed for lovers of fine dining and for people meeting up for cocktails after a day at the office - however if you get the chance to experience its French flair, then take the opportunity and relish every moment. As well as the delicious food, sumptuous surroundings and general feeling of being looked after, the staff are particularly friendly and welcoming. On our visit, all of them stopped for a quick chat when they took our plates away or gave our young daughter some extra attention when she went up to get something else from the breakfast buffet. It is these 5-star touches that add to an enjoyable restaurant experience.
Dining at Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar is an experience to savour, so allow plenty of time to soak up the surroundings. I look forward to returning one day for a Petit Feast for a special occasion or a Girls Day Out. Why try and resist it - when it looks this good?
Experience a Petit Feast at Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar. Source: Buvette Facebook