[invite] Bianca: There’s much to like about St Claudes, a contemporary French bistro with a highly lauded history spanning over 37 years. It’s first incarnation, Claudes founded by chef and owner Claude Corne, who passed away in 2013, pioneered French fine dining in Sydney. A tradition that continued when the restaurant was sold to Damien and Josephine Pignolet in 1981. Changing hands several times before eventually closing in 2013.
Re-birthing in 2015 as St Claudes with head chef Cameron Johnston at the helm. He’s no stranger to St Claudes/ Claudes as he previously completed an apprenticeship under previous owner Tim Pak Poy from 1991 to 2001.
We were coming in fresh, with no real knowledge of the institution that is Claudes. Inside, it’s all crisp white linen, friendly knowledgeable staff and absolutely zero stuffiness. It’s the exact sort of place you’ll want to impress a date, treat your mother… or really, just yourself.
We started with the Twice baked gruyere souffle $22. A firm favourite and a must order at that. Perfectly light, we loved the caramelised outer edges and the heady notes of nutmeg.
Our next entree was the Garlic Prawns, warm iggy’s ficelle $26. Plump & juicy, the ficelle heavenly dipped in the garlic oil.
I was very intrigued by the Semolina Gnocchi, tomato fondue & goats cheese gratinee $ 30, it wasn’t your traditional Italian variety. Instead, four soft & velvety dumplings smothered in a delicious, sweet tomato-based sauce. The sauce was balanced well but our Italian palate (especially when it comes to sugo) kept telling us it was a touch too sweet. We did love the melted crispy goat’s cheese ‘crown’.
The grill is always a highlight at any French restaurant, the famous Steak Frites the perfect example. Rangers Valley eye-fillet 200g $48 w/ red wine jus & Pommes Frites. Was a gorgeous medium rare, perfectly tender and like butter to carve. The thick red wine jus an excellent accompaniment.
I’m never one to wax lyrical about salad but the Butter lettuce & lemon vinaigrette $8 had an excellent acidic note, giving interest to each bite.
I rarely have anything negative to say about potatoes so no surprises here, the Pommes Frites were crispy, fluffy and salty.
And to finish, ignoring our first instinct, anything with chocolate. The Eton Mess -w/passionfruit & mango $15. Adored the textural bursts of the passionfruit seeds, super light and refreshing. The epitome of summer on a plate. The chewy pieces of meringue were my absolute favourite.
Alex and I both enjoyed our meal at St Claude’s and I would return. Prices are what you would expect from a restaurant at the higher end dining scene, with the small portions to match. But a justifiable spend none the less.
Photos by Alex
*For Food’s Sake dined as guests of St Claude’s.