Ad Lib Bistro in Pymble is another member of Dietmar Sawyere's stable. Though not as fine a restaurant as Berowra Waters Inn, it is a very good bistro and a welcome addition to the dining wasteland that is Sydney's North Shore. Sawyere has opened another Ad Lib Bistro at Double Bay, another dining wasteland, which I also tried in December (more later).
I'd been to this bistro in October with my mother. We loved the food and the service, and collected a card which told us that the restaurant does Degustation Dinners on the first Sunday of every month. We booked in for the December event, which was to be The Best of Ad Lib.
4 of us sat down to dinner on Sunday 5 December.
After ordering a champagne cocktail (superfluous, as the matched wines arrived promptly), we were served bread and an alternative to the Oyster starter, Goats cheese and chilli on a zucchini rosti. A lovely harmony of flavours and it left us wanting more.
Next up was a Duck Liver Parfait with brioche. The parfait was rich and flavourful, though not enough brioche. Luckily I like my liver spread thick on the toast, so was able to get by very well.
This was served with a Chateau Sainte Marie Vielle Vignes 2008 from Bordeaux, France. It was light and crisp and went well with the rich parfait.
Our next course was Onion Soup Gratinee, luckily served in small teacups, else we would have had to declare the dinner over. It was rich with onions and beef stock, the toast and cheese a nice contrast in textures.
Next came Prawns Sauteed in Garlic Butter with Baby Spinach and Paris Mushrooms.
This was a winner, because I love these flavours. Prawns and garlic butter - what could be better??!! The spinach was probably superfluous here also, as the other flavours dominated the dish. But the delicate mushrooms made a lovely textural contrast. This was served with an interesting wine, a Mon Redon Grenache Blanc, Viognier Blend of 2009, from the Cotes du Rhone in France.
Next course was a choice between a Fillet of Barramundi Meuniere, Almonds, Green Beans and Beurre Noisette, which my husband had, and loved.
The three of us opted for the alternate course, Grilled Sirloin Steak with Beurre Cafe de Paris, Fernch Fries. A classic bistro dish, and handled very well by Dietmar Sawyere.
You can see the classic herb and garlic butter liberally dousing the steak! Yummmm!!. This was accompanied by a Petaluma '100 Line' Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Coonawarra in South Australia. A great match, the deep flavourful wine acting as a foil for the steak.
Next came the cheese course, a Rouquefort Blue cheese with a poached pear and honey. The dish was a beautiful composition of salty, sharp, sweet and soft, both taste-wise and texturally. The oat biscuit was exactly right for the sharpness of the cheese. However, there was too much Roquefort, and none of us were able to finish it.
Finally the last course - a raspberry souffle served with Nivoli Moscato d'Asti by Michele Chiarlo, 2008, from Calamandrana in Italy. A perfect souffle, a perfectly matched wine. It is young and fruity and delicately sweet, and matched the tartness of the raspberries extremely well.
Other degustation dinners feature a specific theme, such as Mediterranean, Provencal etc. There doesn't seem to be any news of these on the website, so you will probably need to go to an Ad Lib bistro and pick up a flyer for details. You will need to book, as these events are popular.
Ad Lib Bistro
1047 Pacific Highway, Pymble
Ph: 9988 0120
Lunch Mon-Fri 12 - 2.30pm
Dinner Mon-Sat 5 - 10pm
Also open for coffee and snacks, 10am till late Mon-Fri