In my opinion, French food is quite often misunderstood. Yes, there are snails and frog’s legs and such, but there is also so much more to it than those infamous delicacies. So, I was chuffed to be invited along to the exclusive Press Event for the newly opened French restaurant in Middlesbrough, Bistrot Pierre, in order to hopefully experience an authentic representation of French cuisine here in the North East.
Bistro Pierre is a chain of restaurants that first appeared in the Midlands in 1994. Now, with venues across the UK, the growing franchise aims to offer French classic and regional favourites in a relaxed and rustic environment.
Middlesbrough is their first North East based establishment, chosen because of the not yet saturated market and the city’s recent redevelopment efforts. Adjoining the brand new Holiday Inn Express, Centre Square which is part of the Cleveland Shopping Centre with the likes of Turtle Bay, the eatery is placed in a central location.
The slick venue is larger than you anticipate and includes a decent amount of outdoor seating for Al Fresco dining when the warmer months return. Inside offers low lighting and a sense of warmth. Not entirely cosy, but comfortable whilst still feeling sophisticated. It’s an all-rounder in terms of when you’d visit. The perfect environment for afternoon catch ups with friends, indulgent date nights and celebrating special occasions.
Whilst enjoying a glass of fizz on arrival, we were brought a selection of appetisers. The Assiette Méditerranéenne was essentially a sharing platter that consisted of small blocks of soft brie, parfait, houmous, tapenade, olives, gherkins and the most divine honey glazed chorizo.
Along with a basket of fresh French bread and butter, we ended up getting slightly carried away and forgot we had an additional three courses yet to come…
You can order the platter from their main menu and would be absolutely perfect sharing with the girls over a bottle of wine or as a picnic-style starter for you and a friend or two. Everything was fresh and seasonal, with a beautiful range of flavours. You will NOT regret that chorizo either, which can also be ordered as a starter on it’s own. (Most definitely will be my choice upon returning).
This time however, I chose to start with the Ravioli aux Truffles. A mushroom stuffed ravioli with a creamy garlic sauce and drizzled with truffle oil. The parcels of pasta were cooked to soft perfection, however I did feel that perhaps the filling could have had more flavour – or just more filling. It was nothing a good sprinkling of cracked black pepper and sea salt couldn’t fix.
For the main event, and after a ridiculous amount of indecisive back and forth between dishes, I eventually settled on the Sea Bass. ‘Filet de Loup de Mer’ arrived topped with a sauce vierge of capers, tomatoes and lemon and served with crisp, salty potatoes and a selection of vegetables.
The sea bass was superb. It flaked in the middle with a crisp and seasoned skin cocooning the meat. The sauce vierge was bitter from the capers and cut through the fish really well, offering a delightful blend of flavours. As a big seafood and fish fan, I would most definitely order this again… If it wasn’t for the Beef Bourguignon.
I got major food envy when Lady from a Tramp‘s food arrived. You could just see how beautifully tender the beef was within the dish, and it smelt incredible! This is definitely next on the list.
To end the evening I, of course, went for the Tarte au Citron. Buttery, crumbly pastry with a tart lemon filling and a crisp, burnt layer across the top of the slice. The raspberry sorbet was an incredible addition to the plate that paired well with the bitter flavours of the dessert. In my opinion, you can’t get it wrong with a lemon based third course – never!
The evening was a cracking experience (especially with the company!) and what I had was good, but I’d like to go back to discover more of the menu. They often change and mix up the dishes, introducing new things which I think will be fascinating to follow and unearth new favourites.
The team here at Bistrot Pierre also deserve my thanks and recognition for such a brilliant evening, they looked after us thoroughly, answered all our questions and even put up with our very animated table who often had less than appropriate conversations…
This new French restaurant in Middlesbrough also offer a menu called the Soirée Gastronomique which is a six course set dinner for £22.95 on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Bargain!
Let me know if you’ve paid the food scene newbie a visit, or where you like to dine to get the full French experience? Drop me a tweet over @ProperScrummy!
Lots of love, LB x