169 Jinxian Road
Chris decided yesterday that a mid-week date was in order, saying “We don’t go out on romantic dates nearly enough”. Well, kinda true, but fancy dates always come with a price tag.. plus I love discovering and chowing down on awesome (and super cheap) local food with him! But I’m definitely not one to turn down a nice date, so he made a reservation at Le Cygne Fine French Cuisine for the evening. I was pretty impressed with the luxe, cozy interior of Le Cygne. It’s small but still seats quite a few tables, and a few curved booth seats that we were lucky enough to score. The furnishings are eclectic and don’t match perfectly, but it still seems to work in giving both a comfortable yet posh atmosphere.
The staff are well trained – the same service as you would expect from any other Western restaurant in Australia. I loved the little touches – like how they re-folded the napkin if you excused yourself from the table, and the change of cutlery for every course. They were attentive, but not in-your-face (can’t stand wait staff that hover and stare at you the entire time). We kicked off with some French baguette that arrived warm and crusty. However, the perfect texture was slightly marred by the fact that the bread didn’t have that delicious warm bread smell – in fact, it didn’t have any smell! A generous mound of butter was provided, but I would have far preferred a garlic & herb butter.
Our Strawberry & Mango Daiquiri & Pina Colada were POTENT! They arrived in large glasses and tasted like pure alcohol – to the point where I couldn’t taste anything else. Great for getting plonked quickly, but we were more after a delicious sweet cocktail 😉
The Pork Rilette with Sweet Onion Marmalade starter was a total stunner. Subtly-flavoured and rich, the pork rilette was delicious on the French baguettes and with a helping of the awesome caramelised onion. Absolutely delicious! We also had the Salad Warmed with Scallop and Goose Liver Raspberry Vinaigrette. I wasn’t a fan of the salad because it consisted mostly of rocket leaves (which I find too peppery and overwhelming) but the scallops, despite looking a little sad and small and flat, were tender and delicious. The goose liver was absolutely the BEST part of the dish. It actually had a strange texture, very soft and almost runny, not like other fois gras I’ve had. However, it was so creamy and moist that we were wishing we had lots lots lots more of it. So good!
Our soup choice was the Lobster Bisque with Napoleon Cognac. Sounds decadant, no? It was 😉 The bisque was really rich and thick, and delicious with the baguette dunked into it. Strangely, there were really really really fine bits of lobster shell still in it, which gave an odd crunch at times. One more good strain of the soup and it would have been perfect.
The Creamed Seafoods with Pine Nuts Sauce was, by far, my favourite dish. Warm buttered rice nestled under a tumble of prawns, scallops and fat mussels.. then smothered with a creamy sauce. It was heaven!! Perfectly flavoured, perfectly textured, and perfect in every way. Scraped every bit off the plate, and was gagging for more.
Rack of Lamb with Port wine jus was not actually a rack of lamb, but 2 lamb cutlets, *lol*. They were small, but perfectly cooked and so tender. The only downside was that they serve the lamb chops with the fat still on them, which I don’t like – I’m used to lamb chops trimmed so all you get is tender, lean meat. This dish would have been made perfect if it came with 4 lamb chops, with all the fat removed.
The Filet Mignon with Sichuan Pepper and Porcini Jus was another star dish, albeit teeny tiny with just a few blink-and-you’ll-miss-it slices of steak. It was delicious with the sauce – which generously came in a little jug and was thick and creamy. The dish needed 3 times the amount of steak, to be honest.
For a French fine dining restaurant, a complimentary amuse bouche at the start would have rounded off the classy dining experience. Or a complimentary digestif or sorbet after the meal. Even so, it was a lovely experience and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Would have stayed for dessert, except we had to rush back as Chris had conference calls from 9pm to midnight. D’oh!!
Le Cygne Fine French Cuisine
The cozy little booth seat we had (yeah I know we look crap, we had a long day at work!)
The gorgeous light above us
Strawberry & Mango Daiquiri & Pina Colada
SO STRONG it nearly blew us off our seats
Warm, crusty French baguette
Pork Rilette with Sweet Onion Marmalade
Salad Warmed with Scallop and Goose Liver Raspberry Vinaigrette
Lobster Bisque with Napoleon Cognac
Creamed Seafoods with Pine Nuts Sauce
Rack of Lamb with Port wine jus
Filet Mignon with Sichuan Pepper and Porcini Jus
Love the flowers. They were real too!