P’tite Ardoise Bistro, Highgate – doing the classics, and doing them well
When you mention good French food in Perth, P’tite Ardoise Bistro always comes to mind.
This restaurant has been on my “to visit” radar for the last few years, but I’ve never found the opportunity to do so until recently.
Tucked away in a little corner off Beaufort Street and Brisbane Street in Highgate, red and white striped awnings just scream “French!” Inside, the atmosphere of the restaurant is quaint and romantic.
Oil paintings of still life food art line the restaurant walls, illuminated by dim warm light. The deep rich brown of the furniture and bar counter is set off by the simple white of the walls, tablecloths and table settings. In a corner of the restaurant, the French flag lies draped across a wooden ladder next to a painting of a woman, presumably from the Aix-Les-Bains region (assumption made mainly because those were the words emblazoned across said painting). The volume drops to a hush the moment you enter the place. And as the place gets busy, the noise rises to a pleasant buzz.
Their menu is filled with old-school staples like beef bourguignon, beef tartare, coc au vin and your good old beef fillet steaks, dishes that have been around for so long that they are now considered old-fashioned and boring.
But boring doesn’t mean bland. There’s a reason the classics have stood the test of time, and dining at P’tite Ardoise Bistro is always a good reminder that traditional can be tasty.
Service was efficient and friendly. Bread and butter were provided as soon as we ordered. The bread was warm and delicious and the butter soft and salty. This was a good start to the meal.
Dining with multiple people has its upsides as we got to order multiple entrée and mains to try.
For entrées, we ordered the duck liver pate, French onion soup and lots of escargot, because buttery snails are so yum.
The pâté was delightfully buttery, with iron-rich undertones from the duck liver. The provided red wine jelly and pickles helped cut through the heavy flavour of the pate. Eaten together on the toasted bread, this entrée was a satisfying flavour bomb in one’s mouth.
The snails were sooo good. They’re soft, garlicky, buttery and creamy, elevated by the herbs in the sauce. The little coin-shaped croutons were amazing and complimented the snails really well. This was the best escargot I’ve had (and I’ve had the ones at the supposedly good Bistro Guillaume, and those were overcooked and rubbery – meh).
The French onion soup was another crowd pleaser. It was well balanced and full of flavour.
All our mains were fantastic, but the one that really stood out was the beef fillet, ordered medium, and delivered exactly medium.
The coc au vin sounds like a boring dish on paper, being just braised chicken and mash. But having tried the real thing here, I’m reminded why this staple has stood the test of time.
A fish dish is always hard to pull off. This dish was cooked to perfection and hit all the right notes. The fish was cooked just right, the sauce enhanced the fish, and the vegetables provided a complimentary sweetness to everything. I’ve had similar dishes at other restaurants before, and have always been disappointed because something was always off. This dish has restored my courage to have fish cooked this way again, if only at P’tite Ardoise Bistro.
The beef bourguignon was my order, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has never been one of my favourite dishes, having had overcooked and underflavoured versions before. But the beef bourguignon from P’tite Ardoise Bistro can do no wrong. It is wonderfully tender, has a flavourful sauce, and lovely buttery fat running through the meat that just melts in the mouth.
Of course, it’s probably so good because of all that fat in the dish, but YOLO + lots of exercise after.
By the time we finished the meal, we were too full to have individual desserts. But in the spirit of completing a three-course meal, we ordered a single creme brulee to share between all of us. And like everything before it, dessert could do no wrong.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Ptite-Ardoise-Bistro-163928677013366
Opening hours: Wednesday – Sunday, from 6 pm (5:30 pm Sun)
How to book: Via calling (08) 9228 2008 or through their online booking request form on their website here.
BYO: The restaurant has a well-curated wine list with wines hailing from both France and Australia, but they offer BYO during weekdays. Call ahead to confirm this service for the day of your booking in case this changes.
Where to find them: