Food review: Bistrot Pierre, Kidderminster
If you’re going for a family meal why not break with tradition and try a different kind of restaurant. Lisa Williams headed for a taste of France. . .
I’d like to book a table for four at 2 o’clock on Sunday please.”
“No problem,” replied the chirpy voice at the end of the phone. “I’ll sort that for you.”
“OK, so that’s all done. A table for two at four on Sunday.”
“Er, no. A table for four at 2pm. . .”
“Ooops sorry. All sorted. See you Sunday.”
And we said our goodbyes.
So when we turned up on the Sunday in question and our booking didn’t exist, it wasn’t a great surprise and not the greatest introduction to a new restaurant.
But we were ushered to a table in the window and sat reading the menu while the sun streamed in through the glass.
Bistrot Pierre opened around six months ago and has been something of a success in a town where dining options are pretty limited.
The area is awash with curry houses and Chinese takeaways and is sadly lacking in anything out of the ordinary.
The restaurant is situated in the town centre near the busy shopping centre overlooking the River Stour – this sounds much more appealing than it actually is unfortunately as there is a huge Tesco supermarket in sight – with an outside terrace for those summery days.
Inside is like a sultry French bar; all shiny wooden floorboards, chrome bar and hazy glass lights giving the place a slightly mysterious vibe. Wooden tables and metal chairs with teal accents give the place a more modern pop of colour and at the back of the room are a series of booth-type areas with bright orange seating. Muted tones do not exist here.
All this adds to the gorgeous, flirty and fun atmosphere and it would be a great place to take a first date. But this was a family outing and a Sunday lunchtime.
By now the sun was making us just a tad too warm. The vast glass frontage was ‘sans’ any blinds so there was no escape and this was in October.
Service was pretty average nothing special – polite and friendly but not overly so – our drinks order was taken swiftly but the beverages didn’t arrive at the same pace.
There are lots of dishes to choose from on the fixed price menu we dining from with simple nibbles such as olives and bread to the slightly more exotic whole roasted garlic bulb (best to share we think). There are starters and sides and array of mains catering for both fish, meat and veggie lovers.
Only two of us ordered starters. Two soups (yes, we can hear the echoes of Julie Walters too). One made it to the table before the drinks did and the other, well we waited, and waited until we had to flag down a waitress to check on its whereabouts. Odd.
There was bread and butter to munch on in the mean time. The little butter pats were solid (why do restaurants do this? How can you spread hard butter without destroying the bread? You can’t). But necessity is the mother of invention and all that so I placed the butter under my leg hoping my body heat would go some way to melt it. Success – hot legs!
The soup of the day was potato and leek – a favourite of my dad but I could sense it wasn’t up there in his top three. I had a few mouthfuls and we all agreed it wasn’t nearly chunky enough, a little watery and needed to be more substantial but it did have the oniony and potent potato taste.
On to the mains which arrived again, at a slightly slow pace.
Two orders of fish goujons with fries, a Gratin Méditerranéen and pork medallions.
They all looked delicious, simply presented and were all piping hot on warm plates, which is always a plus when eating out.
The fish, my parents revealed, wasn’t cod. But then again, it didn’t state it was, so no surprises. The batter was nice; crisp and crunchy and the flaky white fish, while not cod and unidentifiable to their palates, was particularly fishy but not in a bad way, they commented.
The pork medallions my other half had was a little more adventurous and ‘a good attempt at originalty’. There were various elements to the dish such as pieces of sausage under the pork but he said it was let down by the texture of the pork which he referred to as a bit lightweight to be a substantial meal (he likes a hearty portion mind you).
My Gratin Méditerranéen was a a really lovely dish – a little bit like a lasagne without the meat and pasta. Ricotta and spinach ‘veggie-balls’ baked in a rich tomato and béchamel sauce. The sweet tomato sauce was heavenly but the balls of spinach must have disintegrated by the time it reached the table so while there were no spheres in the dish but the veg itself had a lovely earthy and wholesome flavour. Yum.
There also seemed to be mushrooms in it too. Although I am convinced there were no mushrooms mentioned on the menu. Curious.
We all had French fries which were nothing special as chips go and were a little underwhelming. Not much potato going on but then again it was a skinny fry so lots of crunch instead.
We were way to full to contemplate dessert but there are plenty of tasty treats on offer. We had a homemade birthday cake to tuck into and needed to save room for mum’s great efforts.
Bistrot Pierre certainly ticks the boxes of French-style cuisine and if you’re after something away from the norm then this certainly beats a pub menu. It offers diners something a little bit more exciting and flavoursome than pie and chips or steak and chips or fish and chips.
It’s the perfect place for a taste of the Med.