Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Hurray - at long last they're open!

Just home from my 7 pm (it’s now 11.15 pm) soft opening booking at the brand spanking new Remi de Provence french restaurant in Macquarie St, just up from Collegiate.

I went with my excellent friend George, who made me swear before we went that I would not photograph any food, or him – so being a woman of my word, I didn’t take any interior photos, just a few of the outside while I awaited his arrival.

Initial opinions:
Brilliant fitout; no expense spared in the renovation; great menu – there was nothing on the whole menu that I wouldn’t want to select; the best wine cellar collection I can remember seeing (not sure about Me Wah’s cellar though, because I haven’t seen that one) with one bottle of wine reaching the princely sum of round $1110! (Memo to self – must drag Dad along there, as he will LOVE the wine collection – especially the stickies).

We had:
Bread, homemade $5.50
Zucchini and goats cheese gratin $13.50
(Brandade) Puree of salted Tasmanian salmon served with crisp croutes of baguette $16.50
Marinated beef (Daube) slow-cooked in a rich carrot, celery and olive sauce $24
Casserole of squid marinated in garlic and Pernod, finished with a tomato concasse, garlic and chilli sauce and a final flourish of aioli $24
Gratin of sliced potatoes, with butter, lemons, spring onions and cheese $7.50
Tian d’aubergines (eggplant gratin) $7.50
Crème brulee $9.50
Chef’s dessert of the day, which today was a little fruit tart (George – pls describe it!) $9.50

It was indeed a very soft opening, with only one other table present as paying guests. The other occupied tables were various family members assisting the Remi family through this opening period. I’m glad there weren’t any others present as it meant that we were able to observe first hand the various stages of service as the staff worked their way through establishing the ground rules for the ways they intend operating from now on.

As they worked their way through the evening, it was interesting to observe them picking up momentum, and after initially feeling their way, ending up triumphant in successfully completing Day 1 of trading.

The aim of the place is to be along the lines of a french-style bistro. Remi himself described it as a bistro, but I am worried that your average diner-outer might interpret this word as it being more akin to a hotel bistro, which it no way is.

It is the sort of place that I would want to pop in to and have a wine and cheese (they have the best cheese menu ever) in the front space, or a quickie pre-theatre meal, or a business lunch (yes, they’re open Tues-Thurs for lunch too), as well as some French, bistro-style food.

I recommend you go there soon, if only to check out the fabulous renovation job plus the full wall mural courtesy of Tom Samek – a masterpiece to behold on its own!

It’s got the big thumbs-up from me…..now it’s up to you guys to check it out and see what you reckon. And don’t forget to tell them Rita sent you!

Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

Thankyou for a wonderfull night out Helen! I think Remi will do very well in this space and I wish him all the best.
Almost forgot, the dessert special was a little blueberry sabayon tartlet with V. Bean ice cream, very nice.

Thanks again,

reb said...

Well it sounds very promising from your review Rita.

I can't wait to try it.

When I witnessed how long (and therefore worrying about 'how much') they must be spending on the renovation, I was a bit apprehensive that it may turn out to be very upmarket and therefore perhaps out of the reach of ordinary folk price-wise.

But it sounds very reasonably priced indeed.

And probably going for a more casual bistro style will broaden its appeal too!

I hope they do well.

ut si said...


Tassiegal said...

Whats the cheese list like compared to Montys? (My current gold standard).
Sounds lovely and laid back. May have to save my pennies and treat myself in a month or so.

sir grumpy said...

Who are the remi family, Rita. Have they had Tassie experience etc.
Fascinating looking place. Do they have snails and frogs' legs for my old mate Jim?

Rita said...

Hi George - to continue the mutual backslapping, thank YOU for joining me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and loved sitting with you for a few hours and chatting.
Reb and Colette - I hope you guys get there soon to check it out.
TG - as with everything, it's all in the eye of the beholder, but I know Remi's incorporated all my favourites.
Sir G - the family have, for many years, run an accomodation place up north which has gained a fabulous reputation for fine food. Many friends, whose opnions about good food I very much respect, have raved about their stays at this place. I'm sorry I just can't recall the name of said place, but am sure someone will be able to remind us...?
But - no snails or frogs legs for Jim I'm afraid. The last time I remember seeing those on a menu was at Drysdale about 32 years ago!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which, I walked past yesterday and the drysdale restaurant is open!

Anonymous said...

Elbow Room used to have frogs legs and snails. The Remi family is actually the Bancal Family, Remi being the patriach.

Hazel said...

Thanks for this review Rita- always good to see a new restaurant to try! I've been wondering when it would open...look forward to checking it out myself.

Rita II said...

Aha, Remi Bancal - rings a bell (not that I know him, of course) but I do remember reading about his place at Calstock, near Deloraine I think. Now I get it! I really must get in there, perhaps I will take my partner for his 60th, though it's not until May. Anyway, it's good that there is an operating restaurant (instead of the always-closed Chinese) in Macquarie Street, but I have my doubts about the location. Good luck to them.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rita.

From your sidebar: "A new Chinese (?) eatery will be opening soon in Elizabeth St where the former Bamboo was, to be named Ivory."

Huh???? I thought Remi De Provence just opened up where bamboo used to be?

Rita said...

Anon 7.11 - you are indeed correct - Drysdale restaurant is open, and shame on me for not thinking to add that snippet of news to my sidebar.
Thanks Anon 11.55 for filling us in. I just knew someone out there would know. I didn't get to Elbow Room to eat, so didn't see their menu, but good to hear they had those French favourites.
Manke sure you tell us about it Hazel when you go along.
Hi Rita II - interesting point you raise about the location, as you are the fourth person to say that to me. I suppose it's a wait & see scenario. For Remi's sake I hope he does well in that site.
Hi Anon 5.10 - as I wrote that bit on the sidebar I wondered if someone would click! Yes - I was lead to believe they were both of the same family (when they were both open!).

sir grumpy said...

So, what's the food of choice for election night?
A Don's Party special perhaps.
I might go for a brace of Solace pizzas or an epic Asian feed from Dom's Asian Teahouse. (Dom's Party?)
Perhaps with a Green salad for balance.

Anonymous said...

We went for dinner last weekend and had an absolutely fabulous meal. We started our evening with a glass of wine in the sitting area and then strolling through the enviable wine racks and even more enviable cellar. I do love that you can then purchase the wine from the "bottleshop" then take it into the restaurant. The mussels and the gratin for entree were beautiful and the slow cooked lamb was devine. We'll be heading back this week for Cassoulet Wednesday. We've had a few of their cheeses, great to see a few new things we don't normally see in Hobart. Remi de Provence makes a great additional to the Hobart restaurant scene and I'm sure will become one of my favourites.

Tassiegal said...

Am heading there on Sunday night. Will report back!

Anonomouse said...

Has anyone been to Moorilla since the new chef started? He's been there a while and I'm interested to see what his food is like. I've heard he has only changed the function menu though...

Hasn't it being a while? I checked the website and it is the old menu so...

Anonymous said...

This was one of the worst dining experiences I have had in Hobart. The waitress was young and arrogant, then we were seated next to the kitech when the restaurant was empty, the atomshpere and dining experience was terrible and at $145 for two people not a cheap experience. Will never return to this eatery.

Anonymous said...

Remi de Provence-the young waitress is their daughter straight from Peppermint bay where she was rude and arrogant there as well