We’re not canal obsessives, but you may have noticed that both foodie reviews this month are on the same stretch of canal. In fact, they are opposite one another. We ate at Canal House first and lusted after the views from the glass box tacked onto the end of Bistrot Pierre, so we went. Not on the same day you understand. That would be piggy. And we’re not.
Despite being dotted around the UK, Bistrot Pierre had passed us by completely other than reading a press release about the Brum branch opening. In fairness it wasn’t that long ago. It’s a huge restaurant over numerous floors, but it’s packed with character and full of cosy corners and banquettes to hunker down in, so it fills the space beautifully. The views, as suspected, are worth the trip.
Menu-wise we went a la carte, though we noted a fantastic series of soiree gastronomique evenings that offer a six-course dinner with wine for £22.95 which sounds like a steal. There’s a kids menu available which I hadn’t clocked until we were about to leave, but the girls were happy with a la carte. Totally out of character the 10-year-old piped up and enquired if the bread was gluten-free. The waitress was sweet. I was mortified. The bread was gluten-free.
The other half ordered fantastically well with two brilliant dishes. Whipped goat’s cheese with marinated peppers on toasted artisan bread was fresh, sweet and zingy and a perfect start while the boeuf bourguignon was deliciously rich and comforting. We were quite heavy on the red meat with one of the kids opting for a pan-seared bavette steak, the other a classic burger served with Le Saint Mont des Alpes cheese, gherkins and relish. Both dishes were devoured enthusiastically. The steak was cooked beautifully and the burger was all kinds of deliciousness encased in the ever-trendy brioche bun.
I didn’t choose quite so well. Chicken breast with lentils and a subtle creamy sauce needed to be less subtle. It was cooked perfectly and there was plenty of rosemary evident, but it needed a bit of punch. I pelted it with pepper which helped a bit.
Daughter number two’s raspberry lemonade was dreamy and I’d have happily slurped a glass had a carafe of rosé not been winking. The carafe was perfect for two and left us wondering why more restaurants don’t serve wine like this. Great when a bottle is too much, but a glass not quite enough.
We realised when we left we’d been at the restaurant for hours – the sign of a good lunch. It’s the kind of place where you’re unaware of anyone else and we’ll be back minus les enfants for the next soiree gastronomique.
By the way, in the accidental battle of the canal-side restaurant there’s no winner and therefore no loser either. We’d have cocktails on the terrace at Canal House and food at Bistrot Pierre.