Enjoying good food with even better company was how my long weekend last week was spent (I’m sure you’re all noticing a pattern here, eating out tends to dominate my social life). In Adelaide, we’re surrounded primarily by Italian, Greek, Middle-Eastern and Asian restaurants – anything out of the ordinary is quite remarkable. That’s why when I got wind of a newly established French restaurant on O’Connell St. in North Adelaide, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to wander out of my comfort zone and try a new cuisine. This was definitely the case at Cliche, which in one way or another, exceeded my expectations beyond belief.
Although we made a reservation, the restaurant was absolutely packed – there were literally people in every corner, so we were asked to take a seat at the bar while we waited for our table. This is when I learnt how truly big Cliche is, which at first was rather deceptive. While sipping my Aperitif (a before-meal drink) of sweet Moscato, I was able to appreciate the beautiful artwork featured on the walls surrounding us. These long, almost antique like paintings were breathtaking, and along with the intimate setting, truly immersed the diner in their own little version of France.
Among the four of us, two entrees were ordered – the Cubique De L’Agneau, which was a pulled lamb shank served with sugar snap peas & potato puree and the Coquilles Colour-Field, which was scallops, pea puree, cucumber with crispy enoki mushroom & salmon roe. Bon appetite indeed! Both dishes couldn’t have been more distinct, which I appreciated as it graced my taste buds with a variety of flavour. The lamb was a perfect blend of tender meat with a crispy outer layer of skin with a sweet sauce; while the scallops were much more mild, and the sauce was much less dense, giving me an excuse to soak the appetising bread loaf in (my inner Italian had to come out at one point). While both dishes were great, an extra would have been a little more satisfying.
I chose the Duck Confit for my main. Similar to the lamb, my duck was perfectly cooked, and the sweet sauce which glazed the meat melted in my mouth. At first I thought I would’ve gone hungry, as the size of the plate overpowered the seemingly small duck. Luckily for my hollow stomach, there was actually a decent amount of meat on the bone, and the potato puree that came with the dish had an even texture which helped ease my hunger. For sides, the Monet’s Garden and puree potatoes were ordered.. Can you tell we really enjoyed the puree? All together, my pallet was screaming c’est magnifique!
For once, my friends and I treated ourselves with dessert and ordered the vanilla brulee, a slow baked custard with caramelised toffee with a side of vanilla ice cream and strawberries. So sweet, but not overbearing which I believe is important for desserts.
Being a long weekend, a few drinks were only necessary. Over dinner, another glass of Moscato, a French martini each and a shared jug of a vodka and fresh fruit mix were ordered. Being one of the last groups left in the restaurant, the manager (who had immaculate hospitality skills) finished off our lovely meals with a complimentary cheese and fruit platter and, believe it or not, shots! On top of that, we were each given a voucher for a complimentary French-Vietnamese inspired dish on our next visit. What a way to leave a lasting impression – he was incredibly genuine too, which gave a real personal touch to our dining experience overall. Merci!
Upon leaving, we couldn’t help but laugh at the fact that we spent more on alcohol than food at dinner, and then had a somewhat tipsy conversation as to why there was such a strong link between Vietnamese and French dishes, which in fact, is due to the French colonisation of Indochina. Who said food couldn’t be educational? In all, the food, drinks and hospitality were great. I’ve already dropped subtle hints for a return visit.
If you’re looking for a semi-formal dining experience, visit Cliche. Its sophisticated vibe will have you feeling a lil’ fancy, but not to the point where you need to rock up in a ball gown or tux.
Au revoir for now,