Why do people return to the same place to dine? There a multitude of reasons; brand loyalty, good food, efficient customer service and location are just a few to name.
Le Bistrot Pierre on Friargate, Derby knows the magic formula, which is why I’m a returning diner who doesn’t mind reviewing this restaurant for the second time.
Having undergone a £250K refurbishment last year, this is one cosy place to be. The exposed brickwork, the thousand fairy lights that could light the whole of the DE1 postcode, the welcoming smiles of the greeters – all these set the scene for an evening of culinary excellence.
We had a 5:30pm reservation and were part of a queue that had started to form outside the restaurant. Suddenly the door burst open and Joanna, the manager in charge on the night greeted us to show us to our table. We took our seats at the table for two and awaited delicious food from the pre-theatre menu (order by 6:45pm for 2 courses at £14.95).
Imagine my surprise when I saw a couple being seated at the table of four that I had originally requested. I felt a little disheartened by this, but didn’t say anything at the time. Why? I just wanted to have peaceful meal sans drama. And it had been one hell of a day at work – the last thing I wanted was to get pernickety about tables.
Table trauma aside, we kicked off with the complimentary bread basket and butter. The butter was delicious and served at room temperature (a mean feat – you’d be surprised how many eateries serve rock hard, ice-cold lumps of butter). They also source the best butter, which is AOP certified (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) meaning only the best ingredients are used from one specific region. It’s these little touches and attention to detail which makes Le Bistrot Pierre stand out from the crowd. The bread was fresh and cut into cute diamond-esque batons and complemented the salty, gorgeously creamy butter perfectly.
My dining partner had a starter of St. Marcellin (baked cheese from Isère, in the Rhône-Alpes region, with rosemary, served with lightly spiced pear chutney and sourdough toast). I managed to snaffle a few bites and it was gorgeous. The cheese was slightly nutty, which went beautifully well with the sweet pear and earthiness of the sourdough toast.
For main, I had the Jambon Tartes Flambées. This French-style flatbread reminiscent of a French pizza is one of my favourite dishes on the menu. Flaky light layers of pastry were a joy to eat. The oozy cheesy topping with generous chunks of ham put a very big smile on my face. Apologies to my fellow diners who may have been alarmed by my Cheshire Cat impression, you know, with the massive grin. You have the option of having salad or pommes frites as a side (I chose the salad which looked wonderfully fresh).
My dining partner had the Steak-Frites (7oz flattened pan-seared bavette steak, green peppercorn and brandy sauce) with pommes frites. She loved her steak, commenting that the meat was deliciously tender and the sauce the perfect add-on which made her dish come alive.
I had the dessert of Tarte au Chocolat (chocolate and praline tart, pear purée, vanilla ice-cream) which delivered that chocolate hit I had been craving all day. The pastry was wonderfully short, the vanilla ice-cream melting into the purée creating a sweet, heavenly lake of cool cream that had me reaching for my spoon as I greedily scooped up the elixir which would be blasphemy to waste.
I love Le Bistrot Pierre. The food is authentically French and excellent value for money. The restaurant does need to iron out a few niggles (one of the waiters who served us, was also a little brusque and over efficient), but apart from that, this is a place I can highly recommend.
Value for money: 10/10
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