chez olivier le bistro – take three

121 Greville Street, Prahran

Third time’s the charm: after an offer by Chez Olivier’s owner to try the restaurant again, and a $100 voucher as motivation, Robyn and I headed back for a quiet, anonymous dîner à deux.

It was a hot Melbourne evening and the cosy restaurant was all but deserted. We chose a table in the cooler back room near the air conditioner but after a few minutes the draught got uncomfortable, so the waiter happily moved us to a larger table away from the direct blast.

A bottle of 2006 Château Noaillac from the Médoc hit the spot despite the heat of the day. We sensibly ordered first and talked later, otherwise we’d never have gotten to the food. For starters, we shared a pissaladière – an onion, anchovy and olive tart – with a serving of coquilles St. Jacques. The tart was tasty but not as substantial as I would have expected. The coquilles were just divine, and I quietly wished that all three were mine. They would be worth going back for themselves.

For main course Robyn chose the confit duck special and I, predictably, chose steak frites. Robyn’s duck was good but, she said, a little overdone. My steak frites was plentiful, perfectly cooked medium-rare and just what I wanted.

Dessert was out of the question but the waiter chose us a glass each of an alternative red to finish the night. All told, the service was friendly, unobtrusive, helpful and attentive. The food and wine were most agreeable, and most importantly, the company wonderful.

At just over $150 for two (most of which was covered by the $100 voucher) Chez Olivier is not a cheap option, and in my opinion it’s still not the best value in town. However, with money no object my conclusion is not to choose Chez Olivier for a large dinner party, but for a smaller table of two or four. At this size, they acquit themselves pretty well.


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