Rivage is as classic as they come: a classic French bistro that would make you think you were in Paris..
(except, that is, for the water and golf club views, oh and the Aussie accents.)
With all the classic French menu choices I found it difficult to make up my mind. Truly. I am usually decisive – aren’t I? Yet I just don’t see these classic French dishes often enough on Sydney menues – what a pity – they never date. Timeless.
And knowing that Chef Tom Rutherford was in the kitchen made my selections even more difficult. For any of you who don’t yet know him, Tom Rutherford cooked under Albert Roux at the famous and fabulous Le Gavroche; he cooked there before Chefs Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsay. He’s also had an impressive career in Australia.
Finally after an aperitif of rose Lillet and some olives, I settled on Steak Tartare. Well that’s what I thought until I ate it. Settled is hardly the right word, because the Steak Tartare was the very best I have had in a very long time. It was bold: with full seasonings and complexity in flavour, creamy and rich, soft and tender. Served with a generous slice of sourdough. See. Can you almost taste it? If your permanent home is not located at Palm Beach or you are without a peninsula weekender – just saying – this Steak Tartare by itself declares that Bistro Rivage is destination dining. Priceless.
We share. It’s our tradition. After my lunch date (and therefore I) savoured her Rabbit Rillettes with Prunes & Melbas she also offered me some of her main: Pan Seared Scallops & Chervil with Caramelised Tomatoes & Fennel Tatin. I’m still swooning. The dish was deceptive; it looked earthly; it tasted divine. And as Jackie pointed out to me, although all of the parts were individually excellent, the sum was sublime.
My own main Sole meunière au Citron (in nut butter and lemon) doused in baby capers was equally satisfying.
Take the drive.
And if all of that is not enough to convince you, wait until you hear about desserts. Destination desserts. Tarte Tatin - you know the classic upside down caramelised apple tart – was the best I’ve had in Sydney. Rivage does pastry – extremely well. Thin, crisp, buttery, flakey. So unfortunately the Tarte Tatin was not my dessert. I just had a – lean across the table – taste. Or two. I nearly stole it. My dessert was also embracing – a classic we don’t see much now. Actually lunch date Jackie had never heard of it. I am a fan. Baba au Rhum. Previous attempts elsewhere at this traditional item have been heavy in both brioche and rum syrup. This version at Bistro Rivage was feathery light in both dough and apricot syrup. And it was tempered with a airy cream sauce. Tick of approval. Again. Ending with a digestif put the tick in bold.
1 Beach Rd Palm Beach NSW Australia
+61 2 9974 1159