Restaurant review: Le Bistrot Pierre – Caroline Street, Cardiff

 

The tiled entrance to Le Bistrot Pierre
Based in Cardiff’s Brewery Quarter on Caroline Street, Le Bistrot Pierre is the latest opening from the French restaurant chain and the newest addition to the Quarter. Joining a handful of restaurants located next to a string of fast food outlets known affectionately by locals as ‘Chippy Lane’, Le Bistrot Pierre brings something new to the Quarter in the form of French cuisine.
 
From outside the restaurant looks elegant and inviting, with rounded steps leading up to a raised tiled entrance bearing the restaurant name. Stepping through the French glass doors, I am met with a warm welcome and escorted to a table where my guest is sitting.
 
 Le Bistrot Pierre: a bistro-style restaurant
 
Inside Le Bistrot Pierre, it’s clear to see the restaurant lives up to it’s name. Low lighting casts a fuzzy glow over the polished wooden tables and cushioned chairs, creating a cosy, relaxed atmosphere. Framed French posters adorn the walls. Every now and then, the smell of slow-cooking meat wafts out from the kitchen. Le Bistrot Pierre has all the characteristics of a traditional French bistro (except for actually being in France, of course).
 
A friendly French waiter approaches our table and greets us, handing us the wine menu. Le Bistrot Pierre belongs to an independent co-operative that buy wines direct from old and new world estates, enabling them to offer no less than 30 varieties of wine each available by the glass, carafe or bottle. Our waiter has a good knowledge of the wine list and helps us to choose a lovely sauvignon blanc to enjoy as we browse the menu.
 
As we ponder over our first courses we share a portion of mini chorizos au miel (£3.50) – mini chorizo sausages roasted in honey. They are quite hot so we reluctantly wait a few minutes before tucking in, but they’re worth the wait. They taste delicious, the saltiness of the chorizo complemented beautifully by the sweet taste of the honey. 
 
Honey-roasted chorizo
 
To start, I order the salade de betterave et chèvre (£4.95) – that’s a warm salad of honey-roasted beetroot with goat’s cheese, garlic croutons and lamb’s lettuce. This is my favourite type of lettuce and it tastes great paired with creamy goat’s cheese, while croutons can boost the appeal of almost any salad. The earthy taste of the beetroot is quite overpowering though, and I can’t taste the honey much.
 
Beetroot, goat’s cheese and lamb’s lettuce salad
 
My guest starts with the saucisse de Toulouse (£5.95), pan-fried Toulouse sausage topped with a soft poached egg and a warm tomato dressing. This dish looks really tasty. All of the starters are served with freshly baked French bread and Lescure butter.
 
 Toulouse sausage
 
Fancying something meaty for my main I choose the agneau au cassoulet (£15.25), a slow-cooked shoulder of lamb served with a cassoulet of bacon, flageolet beans and plum tomatoes. The green topping on the lamb is a lemon, green herb and garlic butter crust and this gives the dish a really unique flavour. I’d never think of serving lamb with a cassoulet myself, especially not with bacon, but the combination works surprisingly well. As for the lamb itself it’s been cooked to perfection, so tender it’s practically falling apart.
 
 Lamb with bacon, bean and tomato cassoulet

For her main, my guest opts for the boeuf bourguignon maison (£13.95), a popular French classic, braised beef with shallots, red wine, mushrooms and bacon. This would be the perfect comfort food dish, just the thing to warm you up on a cold Winter’s evening. We were both extremely pleased with our main courses.

 
 Boeuf bourguignon

Our main courses were accompanied by potato dauphinoise and fresh broccoli, Chantenay carrots and red cabbage.

Potato dauphinoise and fresh veg 
 
After my main course I’m starting to feel rather full so I pick a lighter option for dessert, pink grapefruit and raspberry sorbet with strawberry icecream (£4.95). I love the intense, fruity flavour of sorbet. The raspberry sorbet is sweet and moreish but I don’t think I could handle another scoop of the pink grapefruit one – okay in small doses, but too bitter for a full portion.
 
 Sorbet and icecream
 

Torn between several desserts on the menu my guest eventually settles for the café gourmand (£6.95), miniature portions of favourite desserts served with an espresso coffee. The desserts feature melt-in-the-middle chocolate pudding, ginger soaked sponge, raspberry sorbet and tarte au citron; the perfect choice for anyone who struggles to make up their mind!

Mini desserts served with an espresso

 

My first visit to Le Bistrot Pierre has left me wanting more, and with such reasonable prices and attentive service, I’ll definitely be returning in the not-so-distant future.

Le Bistrot Pierre
The Old Brewery Quarter
Caroline Street
Cardiff
CF10 1FG
(029) 2034 5990
 
Opening hours
 
Lunch
Monday – Friday: 12.00pm – 3.00pm
Saturday: 12.00pm – 3.30pm
Sunday: 12.00pm – 4.00pm
 
Dinner
Monday – Thursday: 5.30pm – 10.00pm
Friday and Saturday: 5.30pm – 11.00pm 
Sunday: 6.00pm – 10.00pm
 
 I was invited to Le Bistrot Pierre as a guest and our food and drinks were complimentary.
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