Bianca: The restaurant/ café scene in Concord has definitely lifted its game the last 10 years or so, with cuisines ranging from Italian, Thai, Japanese, Lebanese and French in the form of ‘Antoine’s Grill’. This marks my 5th visit, meaning this quaint suburban restaurant must be onto a good thing because I love to mix things up and visit new places often.
Joining me tonight was my high school friend Alex (Having a penchant for nicknames, let’s call her ‘Truffle Lover’). With a bottle of Merlot in one hand and a brolly in the other we made our way to Antoine’s for a touch of provincial French cuisine on a ‘school night’. Chef and owner Antoine Moscovitz has quite the impressive resume, having worked under famed French chef Alain Ducasse. A little closer to home he carved out careers at both Salt and Bather’s Pavilion. As well as recently opening ‘Provence by Antoine’ in Mortlake. Which I visited two days later (review to come).
Most meals these days usually involve some butter….oh and some bread. We decided to share the ‘Crisp ‘Le fournil’ baguette with butter’ $7. A delicious warm baguette more suited for three people, we however, soldiered on and made the sacrifice. Perfectly crispy made even better with glorious slabs of butter, with what looked like shavings of truffle.
On to mains, Truffle lover – always keen for a risotto, went with the ‘Mushroom ragout risotto’ $24. A very striking dish that tasted even better than it looked. Some may be put off by its dark colour but taking a single bite I was instantly blown away, a defining rich explosion of flavours. One to make note of if you’re a fan of rice based dishes.
I was tossing up between the steak and the Pork Belly. Three of my previous visits I always went with steak, seeing as it was a while between visits and throwing in the fact that I rarely eat red meat unless it’s sandwiched between two slices of bread and generally called a hamburger. I got the ‘200g Eye Fillet’ – 200 day naturally pasture fed, buttery texture. $30. A bang on medium rare steak that was both flavourful and texturally exceptional. Accompanying my steak was Antoine’s ‘House made BBQ Sauce’ as well as a serving of ‘Confit roasted butternut pumpkin, thyme & quince mascarpone’ $8. A devilishly addictive concoction, we did get it to share but I think I ate most of it. I happily mopped up my steak and any remaining bread in the mascarpone. I didn’t pick up on any strong quince flavouring but no complaints here – this side dish was the bomb.
Pants were getting tight at this point, I wear jeans everywhere, clearly amateur hour. In the future, if you see a dishevelled brunette with balloon pants, burger drippings on her hands and tomato sauce on her face. Don’t be alarmed, it’s just me!
We had a nice long chat between courses to rejuvenate our stomachs because everyone knows we have a second separate stomach for desserts. I always gravitate towards chocolate based sweets and luckily, truffle lover was on the exact same page. We shared the ‘Callebaut chocolate velvet fondant’ – Grand Marnier sauce, miniature iced ‘magnum’, nougatine dust. $15. A heavenly, comforting and decadent way to end a delightful evening. Breaking into the centre of the fondant the insides were incredibly oozy and gooey. I didn’t get any discerning Grand Marnier notes, it tasted like a basic anglaise sauce. I enjoyed the playfulness of the ‘magnum’, a bite sized ice-cream rolled in nougatine. I mainly left that untouched because I kept gravitating back to the fondant.
I’m pretty chuffed to have Antoine’s Grill in my trusty Rolodex of good eats in Concord, I’d happily recommend to locals and for those willing to pay slightly higher prices than your typical local restaurant for a bit of French flair, excellent steaks and friendly service.