Jacques – Subiaco

escargotjacques

As mentioned earlier, Toni and I chose Jacques for a celebratory dinner I predicted rather good and wasn’t disappointed.

While I am consistently inspired by the whole French food approach, recipes and regions, I hardly ever go to French restaurants. I think they are somewhere under Chilean meat restaurants on the list. I did, therefore, feel a little like meeting a pen-pal for the first time or being the crew of Galaxy Quest.

The restaurant is small and modestly decorated, which I’ve long taken to be a good sign, and the greeting was warm. Toni was complimented at least five times on her dress and I was good enough to contain my simmering resentment at nothing being said of my favourite green shirt.

The menu was traditional French and was constructed so it could all be done but the one chef – the owner. Unfortunately the restaurant is no longer BYO so our bottle of ’98 Harewood Pinot Noir had to wait in the car where it played with the cigarette lighter and beeped the horn until I went out and asked if it could behave itself for just one night. We ordered had a bottle of Chandon, the Australian Moet vineyard. Best an occasional choice, in both senses of the word. As for the the food, we ordered the Pork and Duck Terrine in Rosemary Aspic with a Port Jelly and half a dozen Escargot Bourguignon

for starters.

The terrine was a little disappointing but only for the reason that, cold, it made me think of being out in the open, on a blanket, under a tree. The snails were lovely. I was gievn I quick run through with snail holders and away I went. They were cooked in oil with shallots basil and garlic which was mopped up with in-house baguette. The texture was squid like gentle resiliance to the bite. Snails are marvellous, they represent a triumph of reason and inqury over ignorance and superstition. The Age of Enlightenment in a spirally shell. And gentlemen, be sure not to describe them as “garden bogeys” while your partner is about to enjoy her second one.

“Lemon Sorbet to cleanse the palate?” What a good idea. Lemon sorbet coated in white chocolate in a glass of sherry – joy.

And for the mains. Toni ordered the Duck a l’Orange, I had my heart set on one thing – Pheasant Marinated for Five Days in Sweet Madera Demi-glace of Pheasant garnished with Black Truffles.

The duck was very good but was overshadowed by the pheasant. So so very very tender with enough taste to match the rich sauce. I forget how rich proper French food is and with a normal sized serving, I was completely full. Toni, wasn’t and had a Cassis Sorbet surrounded by Meringue with a Berry Coulis. It was her favourite for the evening and the table next to us ordered one as well soon after. I had an affogado as a compromise.

We thanked the co-owner for the meal and the excellent service and she replied that they simply wanted guests to have the same experience they would like. Jacques came out and showed us the door (in a nice way).

Well?

The names of the dishes alone should send you there, if not, then I can’t help you. The full dining experience does accumulate a bill but the cost per dish is only a little above what you would pay at a standard restaurant. Perhaps not flashy enough for gaspingly special, but warm, enjoyable, and delicious enough to make it a regular low key treat. We said we’d be back and I think we will.

Jacques 292 Hay St , Subiaco, tel 9388 1323

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14 comments

  1. Reid’s avatar

    Hi Anthony,

    Please wish your wife a Happy Birthday for me. Sounds like you two had a nice evening out. I’m glad it was enjoyable. To tell you the truth, I like French food, but haven’t had it since I’ve moved back to Hawaii from NYC. Many of my friends here don’t eat French food for some reason and I would hate to go alone.

  2. Anthony’s avatar

    Reid

    Thanks. We did have a good night out and much credit to the restaurant. More pity your friends that they don’t like French food, maybe it’s the richness of it that scares them off. Find one and don’t tell them and just drag them along, I can’t imagine them not liking it once they’re there.

  3. Anonymous’s avatar

    Pheasant AND Snails. Talk about going rustic. What a combination. In particular the pheasant sounds dreamy. Many many yonks ago when I lived in the UK one of my colleagues used to shoot pheasant and give me a brace every now and then. Fantastic taste, if not hung too long. Better than turkey or even chicken IMO, but maybe it doesn’t surpass duck. It was kinda fun seeing who would end up with any stray shot left in the bird. Marvellous.

    pieman
    http://www.noodlepie.com

  4. Anthony’s avatar

    Pieman

    True. It was dreamy and in my dream there was a man in a flat cap and a macintosh vest with a shotgun handing me a brace of pheasants. You have lived that dream. I’m very impressed. Domesticated animals are over.

  5. Anonymous’s avatar

    Sounds like an ab fab evening – I want your main course!! French food is jsut so dreamy – I came back from France last year vowing to eat only cassoulet, foie gras and truffles henceforth (clearly that aspiration didn’t last too long!!). Yes, it’s rich, but that’s what makes it such a toe-curlingly, mind-blowingly delicious treat. Vive la France!

    Jeanne
    http://cooksister.typepad.com/cook_sister

  6. Anthony’s avatar

    You’re right. So much better than munching away through passable carbohydrates out of obligation to fill. Think I might go put on my French Rugby top.

  7. Manas’s avatar

    Many Happy returns, Toni.

    The only French food I’ve ever eaten I think, is croissants and pastries…the rest sounds delightful.

    And thankyou for a side-splittingly humorous post Anthony – the wine misbehaving in the front seat of the car was an hilarious touch!

  8. Anthony’s avatar

    Oh bless Manas. I liked the car bit too (nothing to do with my childhood what so ever). We’ll have to do something about your French food education and quickly.

  9. Anonymous’s avatar

    I don’t mean to rub salt in… but… the 60 year old guy who shot the pheasant for me did wear a cloth cap, smoked a pipe, spoke with a very cultivated English accent and took great pleasure in exterminating any and all vermin that crossed his path. Pigeons were another fave.

    pigeonpieman
    http://www.noodlepie.com

  10. FXH’s avatar

    This guy knows what he’s doing. Next he’ll be on Iron Chef.

  11. Anthony’s avatar

    Pieman
    Yuk pigeons, good job that man.

    FX
    : ) I’d love to see the macaroni entree and dessert.

  12. tokyo goat’s avatar

    and the circle is complete…(the angels sang “AHHHH!!”)

  13. Anthony’s avatar

    Spooooooookynet.

  14. Anonymous’s avatar

    are they still running the restaurant?

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