French cuisine. Its one that I fell in love with rather quickly on a trip to Paris last year, and it was once again re kindled after a visit to one of Willunga’s newest editions- Le Mistral.
Taking the place of the Fleurieu’s incredibly popular and reputable FINO, Le Mistral had some pretty big boots to fill. Some friends and I decided to visit this gem after celebrating with bubbly at our newly acquired block of land. Lets just say that we are pretty excited to call this restaurant our ‘new local’ in months to come.
Le Mistral is chic and cosy. It’s interior is light filled, warm and gives you a sense of home. There’s bentwood chairs and ample tables for those with larger groups, as well as a sheltered alfresco area at the rear of the restaurant with a beautiful view out to their lush green courtyard area. We were greeted with a smile and incredible service, and even a little lesson in French. The menu is simple but with plenty of options- from traditional dishes like Snails to steaks with duck fat potatoes.
To match the menu there was an equally impressive wine list, boasting wines sourced locally from the Mclaren Vale wine region, to international varieties from France- of course!
We ordered a variety of entrees- and none of us were game enough to tackle the snails. I ordered the “Caviar d’Aubergines à ma façon”- a confit of Eggplant, smoked capsicum, heirloom tomato, capers & lemon confit. The portion size was generous and it was an interesting dish- a combination of strong flavours, but nothing too overpowering.
My partner ordered the “Rillettes de canard confit”- a serve homemade duck rillettes, pickles and chutney. After madly googling what Rillettes were we likened it to a terrine. The meat was rich and full of flavor, and the pickles were a great addition. It was also served with a small side of carbs- perfect to pair with the rillettes and accompaniments.
Our friends treated themselves to the “Crevettes croustillantes sur un lit de panais, pomme confite au cumin et rouille”- Australian Prawns in a brik pastries, on parsnip puree with sage and cumin apple confit, Provençale Aioli and the “Saumon mariné maison”- House cured salmon “Carpaccio”, salad & Fiano dressing with finger limes. I was told that the prawns were delicious, and the salmon, well there was so much of it that it was shared amongst the group and loved by all.
After much debate mains were eventually chosen, and after seeing what our friends ate I have decided that I will be coming back here until we have eaten our way through the whole menu.
I indulged in the Poulet fenéant “façon Bresse”- chicken breast, cooked in truffle sauce for 4h & baked spinach, Enoki, potato cream finished truffle sauce. The locally sourced free range chicken was moist and perfectly cooked, and the truffle sauce was plentiful and oh so creamy. I’ve never had enoki mushrooms before, and I absolutely loved them. Even the greens were delicious, there was nothing about this dish I could fault.
My partner ordered the “Duo d’agneau et son caviar d’aubergine, betterave et sa purée dorée”- a main of Lamb with golden mash, pickled beetroot, garlic chips, caviar of eggplant and red tears. Hes a sucker for mash, and he was not disappointed. I snagged a taste of his and the lamb- it was falling off the bone and melted in my mouth. As for the veggies, the pickled beetroot was wonderful- I’m a massive lover of pickled veggies so this pulled at the heart strings.
Friends ordered the “Filet de Boeuf avec pommes de terre Rattes”- a Black Angus Fillet steak, with duck fat potatoes, green vegetables sautéed with shallots and specks & home-made “jus” , with“Rossini” Style (topped with hot slice of Foie Gras briefly pan-fried). I must admit I was incredibly jealous when this one came out. Their knives glided straight through the meat and it was cooked perfectly. Our fellow foodie said that it was ‘one of the best steaks he has ever eaten’, and it was evident when there was not a speck of food left on the plate.
Dessert was one of my highlights of the afternoon- seriously, if you love your desserts like me you may want to order one for main as well. I ordered the Profiterolles vanille chocolat”- Profiteroles with home-made Organic Vanilla beans ice cream & warm chocolate sauce. Masterchef eat your heart out- these bad boys were insanely good. The icecream had such a true vanilla flavor, and the profiteroles were so light. I couldn’t believe I ate all three of these- the serving size was massive (but hey, I’m not complaining).
My partner went for the full French experience and had the “Soufflé au Grand Marnier”- a classic Grand Marnier “Soufflé”. The soufflé came out resembling a big puffy cloud, and was served with a generous portion of Grand Mariner sauce. This is definitely on my to order list next time, I was told it was rather impressive.
Friends ate the “Tarte Fine aux pommes” Apple tart with Willunga almond frangipane and homemade vanilla ice cream and the “Selection de fromages” French cheese with crackers, bread, chutney & dried fruits. Both were devoured and I’d say that the cheese platter could almost be shared as you can order three different types of cheeses.
I literally had to roll out of the door at that point, even giving some of my dessert to my other half- which is a rarity.
Le Mistral has easily filled the big boots that FINO has left behind and I cant wait to return to eat my way through the rest of their French inspired menu.
You can find Le Mistral at 8 Hill Street, Willunga, SA.