A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published November 9th 2017
Artisanal Alsatian Delicacies to Die For
Resto Bobo is a French restaurant with a difference. Instead of fussy, creamy dishes, it's simple fare. The emphasis is on shared food in a casual environment, which you can pair with a selection from an extensive drinks menu which includes French and Australian wines, cocktails and beers.
Resto Bobo has been open for just seven months, in the highly competitive Chapel Street, Windsor precinct. The decor is fresh and modern. It is a long, narrow space, and has a great feel to it.
The interior of Resto Bobo - fresh and modern
To survive in this part of Chapel Street, a restaurant needs a niche, something that differentiates it from other venues. Resto Bobo has that point of difference - it is the only restaurant in this country to specialise in tarte flambée. For the uninitiated, tarte flambée hails from the Alsatian region of eastern France. It is a super thin, crisp pastry base, traditionally topped with simple ingredients: cheese, onion, garlic, bacon.
However, restaurateur Daniel Xerri and his team have taken the tarte flambee to another level. Dan learned about the dish while living in France. "While I was in France, there were signs that the French were starting to break away from the traditional recipe with their tarte flambée, and experiment with other toppings. I've brought the flambée concept back to Melbourne and am giving it a Melbourne twist", said Dan.
While flambée is the restaurant's signature dish, there are other dishes on offer, including salads (from $10 for a green salad), a charcuterie platter ($21), even steak and greens ($24). You can view the full menu here.
There is a "feed me" option on the menu - leave it to the staff to decide what to bring to the table - and that is largely what we did.
Chorizo butter bread tartine - a tangly opener
We started with the chorizo butter bread tartine ($9), a simple yet delightfully tangy opener. We also had the salmon tartare (raw salmon, avocado, Asian lime sauce, egg yolk dust with lettuce leaves) ($19). A delicate dish, that looked appealing on the plate, the tartare was lifted by the citrus zing in the sauce. It is a 'build your own' dish, where you take a lettuce leaf, and fill it to your desired level with the salmon, piped avocado and pickled radish.
Salmon tartare - delicate and appealing
This was paired with a glass of pinot blanc Domaine Mittnacht Freres (Alsace) ($15) - hard to argue that it was the right drop for the meal, given its origins. It has a beautiful fresh palate - a little spicy, a little fruity. The restaurant has a robust drinks menu, which you can view in full here.
But I haven't yet mentioned the next course that came out, which was (swoon), Frenchified mac & cheese (panfried housemade Spaetzle (Alsatian pasta) and cream cheese). Dan explained that the chefs make a dough-like 'slurry', which they then push through something like a colander to produce fine pellets of pasta. The dish is panfried, to give it a consistency similar to gnocchi. It had a flavour that was to die for, which I couldn't quite put my finger on. "Duck fat", Dan confided. "It's panfried in duck fat". I'm going back for that dish!
Mac & cheese - French style.
We needed a break before moving onto the next round of dishes. The Salade Alsacienne (rocket, crispy lardon smoked bacon, pine nuts, parmesan, cranberries, vinaigrette) ($16) which followed was, for me, another winner. What a delightful salad! A gorgeous combination of sweet, sour and salty elements.
Salade Alsacienne (foreground), with the garlic and chive flambée behind
Then it was time for the long-awaited flambées. These are normally served in a 12" x 8" ("approximately A4") size, but to give us the opportunity to try a few different flavours, we were served 'slider' sized portions (pictured in this article).
We started with the traditional garlic and chive flambée (smoked bacon, confit garlic, chive, Emmental cheese, onion) ($21 full sized portion). What I first noticed when the dish hit the table was the rich and complex aroma from the garlic. On first bite, I noted the crispness of the base - like an oven-baked flatbread, and the succulent layers of cheese, bacon and onion. It's like a pizza, I realised, but more sophisticated, more complex, more FRENCH!
The second flambée was one that the team is trialling - with pecans and fresh pear topping the cheese base. The pear was a fresh flavour and texture contrast to the other ingredients and it worked beautifully.
Finally, we were presented with Le Top du Top ('the best of the best') (carved black Angus steak, mixed salad, vinaigrette, parmesan) ($26 for full sized portion). I admit I had been wondering how I could possibly consume another dish at this point, especially one involving red meat. 'Too heavy', groaned my inner voice. I couldn't have been more wrong. I don't know how the chefs had managed to prepare the beef in such a way that it was melt in the mouth tender, and (in some weird way) not really meaty. It was light and delicate. Definitely another dish to put on the return list.
Le Top du Top - light and delicate
Dan offered us dessert, but there was just no way we could manage it.
Resto Bobo is offering something a little different and special, at reasonable prices. It would be a great place to drop in with a few friends and enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine while sharing a couple of their signature flambées. Do give it a try!
Resto Bobo is located at 110 Chapel Street, Windsor (a short walk from Windsor railway station), and is open from 5 - 11 pm Tuesday to Saturday, plus 12 noon to 3 pm for lunch on Fridays (closed Sunday, Monday).
Click here to make an online booking, or call the restaurant on (03) 9042 8168.
The images in this article were taken by the writer. They are not to be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Weekend Notes.