Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tabou, Surry Hills

It was the weekend of my 24th birthday. I had quite a few birthday things lined up, in fact I had just decided that anything fun that happened in the month of November counted towards my birthdaymonth :D It's just more fun that way! First up was dinner with my best friend Asian Gaga, who I have mentioned numerous times in the past. Last year, we decided that we would stop giving presents because we always end up spending obscene amounts of money on each other even when we are both strapped for cash, and would instead enjoy a nice dinner together for our birthdays. I felt incredibly guilty this time, she was so stressed out about picking a restaurant for me, assuming I had ridiculously high expectations (not true!). We eventually decided on Tabou, since we had walked past it on one of our many shopping trips and I loved the old-style French bistro feel it had and had heard many good things about it.
Bellini - Champagne, Creme de Peche ($16.00)
We had an early booking so it was still bright outside when we arrived at the restaurant (after Asian Gaga presented me with a huge bouquet of flowers, which still counts as a present cheater!). We were greeted warmly and taken to a nice table by the window upstairs. I was already feeling good about this place, it had a lovely cosy French feel to it, with the high-backed red seats and big vintage posters along the walls. The specials were written on the huge mirrors around the room and the waitstaff were extremely helpful with recommendations. We started off with some champagne cocktails, it was a celebration after all! Even though they were pricey, they were deliciously bubbly and fruity and a perfect way to kick off the evening.
Assiette de charcuterie - Chicken liver mousse, morelle cherry jam, rabbit rillette, bone marrow, saucisson sec, jamon and condiments ($48.00)
We ended up selecting the mixed entree plate for two and then getting one main and one entree to share (I wanted to keep lots of space for dessert!). The assiette de charcuterie was a perfect mix of the entrees they had on offer.
Chicken liver mousse with morelle cherry jam
Normally this plate comes with a terrine with pistachios, so they swapped this out for the chicken liver mousse with cherry jam for me. I reckon this was even better, the chicken liver mousse was gorgeous and smooth, with that sweet cherry jam. We kept eating it on its own after we couldn't fit anymore bread in.
The bread that came with the plate was so so good. Warm, crusty and slathered with rich butter, we had far too much of it even though both of us are usually not fans of crunchy bread. It was perfect with all the different things on the plate, especially the hot bone marrow that we scooped out of the bone with a little spoon and spread all over the warm bread. Heaven!
Bone marrow
Those two were probably my favourites of the plate, but the rabbit rillette was packed full of flavour and went really nicely with the chutney on the side. Jamon is always good in my books, and the saucisson sec, a cured sausage was spicy and great with the pickled gherkins. There was certainly more than enough for two people on this plate, though I didn't realise it cost nearly 50 bucks at the time!
Soufflé au fromage - Twice baked gruyere and goat's cheese soufflé ($20.00)
The cheese souffle is usually served as an entree, but we ended up getting it to share along with a main just because I had to get it. Asian Gaga was a little bit apprehensive at the sound of a rich two-cheese souffle, including goat's cheese which is not always everyones favourite. I was so pleased with it when it arrived, the smell wafted straight up to us and it was heavenly. A golden brown crust covering a light and fluffy centre, with melty cheese sitting in a pool all around it. Asian Gaga was surprised at how light and easy it was to eat, even though each mouthful was rich in flavour. Ahhh so good!!!
Agneau - Roast leg, cut let and braised neck of lamb, pearl barley, ratatouille ($35.00)
We get the lamb after it was recommended to us by the sweet waitress, and because lamb is one of the few meats that Asian Gaga adores. It was perfectly cooked, tender and pink in the middle and both of us loved the cutlet. The crisp deep fried basil leaves, barley and ratatouille were not too rich and a nice match for the strong taste of the lamb. There was a lot of meat on this plate so we were struggling to finish it and glad we hadn't ordered any more sides.
Pouring our dessert
Now on to the best bit! Asian Gaga knows me well and knew there was no way we were going to be getting just one dessert. In fact she had gotten the restaurant to email her the dessert menu ahead of time so I could choose what I wanted. There were two that immediately stood out to me, unfortunately we couldn't get the one I really wanted to try; the pain d'epices parfait, apricot eton mess, candied ginger icecream because it was full of nuts :( but I still got to try the floating island dessert. This wasn't a traditional floating island, the meringue came sitting at the bottom of the plate, and a blood orange consommé (rather than crème anglaise) was poured over the top, so the islands didn't really float which was a pity.
Ile flottante - Orange float ing island, blood orange consommé, blossom jelly ($12.00)
It was still gorgeous and really lovely to eat. It was actually really small and hardly made an impact on our stomachs, which is probably a good thing since we still had another dessert to go. The orange zest filled meringues were fluffy and soaked up the delicious blood orange consommé and came along with a scoop of blood orange sorbet in the centre. My favourite part were the orange blossom jellies, so fragrant and topped with a violet.
Birthday brulee!
The next part was a surprise for me. Unbeknownst to me, when Asian Gaga had called up to book the table she asked them to put a candle and write happy birthday on whatever dessert we got. The only place they could really put it was in the middle of our creme brulee, which was pretty hilarious when they brought it out and the two waitresses started singing happy birthday. Slightly embarrassing but hugely cute. This is why she is the best friend in the world!
Vanilla creme brulee ($12.00)
Singing and candles aside, the creme brulee was one of the best I've had in a restaurant. Served in a wide, low dish meant that it had an awesome ratio of toffee to the vanilla bean flecked filling. It was heavenly. Both of us were so satisfied at the end of the meal, Asian Gaga was very pleased with her efforts and I was over the moon. She definitely didn't have to worry about being usurped as bestest fried ever this birthday (or ever really).

We left happy, and I will definitely be bringing A to try the place again. It's exactly the type of restaurant I love, traditional, cosy French bistro style. It may not be cheap, but when compared to other French restaurants in Sydney it's pretty good value. The waitresses were really lovely and made the night more enjoyable, it was damn good way to start the birthday celebrations. Much love to Asian Gaga!
527 Crown St

Surry Hills NSW 2010

(02) 9319 5682

: Mon to Fri: Noon - 2:30pm
Sun to Fri from 6:30pm -10pm
Sat from 6pm - 10pm

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  1. YUM! You had me at bone marrow =D I've always wanted to try Tabou, but alit suss about it's name. Tabou reminds me of the Tabou perfume, which reminds me of my aunty always splashing herself with it.. shudder. I would definitely try this restaurant, i'll add it to my growing list. Thanks for the review Steph

  2. Having dinner together at a great restaurant is a fab idea. Cannot stop staring at the bone marrow shot and lol, I can only imagine the struggle to get the candle into the brûlée shell!

  3. Great mind thinks alike. I have booked Tabou for my coming birthday dinner :) Nice to have a sneak peak. Food looks lovely. Thanks for that!

  4. Wow, this meals sounds amazing! And I echo the sentiments above - my eyes definitely widened at the sight of the bone marrow =p

  5. This is on my list of places to try as well :) I'm drooling over that toffee on that creme brulee!

  6. belated happy birthday steph! And that's a HUUUUGE creme brulee serving! Mmmm sweet tooth aching....

  7. Happy birthday!
    Oh my gosh, that marrow spread on the bone would have been enough for me to fall in love with the place LOL! Yum!!

  8. so glad you enjoyed the Soufflé au fromage and Creme Brulee which were some of my favourites as well I had last time. definitely one of the best French restaurants in Sydney I've eaten at so far :-)

  9. Happy Birthday!! That brulee looks so fantastic!! What a lovely birthday dinner and friend.

  10. Oooh look at that jiggly bone marrow! Looks like you had a fabulous birthday Steph! :D

  11. That birthday brulee is hilarious! Happy birthday to you, glad you had such a great night out :)

    Love that crusty bread, those little morsels are just asking to be smothered in something tasty and shoved in your mouth!

  12. Tabou! Haven't been back in probably 5 or 6 years but I really enjoyed it last time. Your dinner looks delicious and I think it's time to head back again...

  13. Bone Marrow yummm.. Happy Birthday and I hope you had a fantastic day.

  14. Linda - :D how good is bone marrow?! LOL okay that sound kinda creepy! You're very welcome :)

    Helen - it's worked out very well so far, we've knocked off rise and tabou! Hahah yeah it's impressive that they did it without cracking the surface at all!

    Ellie - Oh hurray! I hope you like it as much as I did. When is your bday???

    mademoiselle délicieuse - hehe you should have seen my reaction when I first saw it!

    Jacq - I'm so glad I finally tried it. The toffee layer was so plentiful, it was awesome

    Trisha - Aww thank you! It's smaller than it looks, the layer of custard underneath was only about 1.5cm deep, the perfect amount!

    Brenda - Thank you! Heheh I think I did start to fall in love with the place a little bit.

    Simon Food Favourites - Yay good to know you enjoyed it too!

    Anita - Thanks so much! It was lovely :)

    Lorraine - *giggles* it was jiggly! I wish there had been more!

    Conor - Hahah i know, I couldn't believe they did it! Thank you so much!

    Forager - I can't believe it's taken me so long to try it! It was pretty good, it would be good to know how it compares to how it was several years ago!

    A cupcake or two - it was so yum! Thank you :) I definitely did.

  15. Happy birthday ! good that u seems had a wonderful meal... I booked this restaurant on 5th Dec.. cant wait to try :D

  16. I haven't been here for a few years, so it's good to see it's still as good as ever!

  17. Bean Sprout's Cafe - Ooh I hope you have a good meal too!!

    joey - :) I like places that are consistent, so if it's been around for so long it must be for a reason! Will definitely be back again...


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