After wracking our brains for somewhere different to go for dinner in the city centre, we settled on Le Mistral who offer a ‘2 dine with wine for £29’ deal Sunday – Wednesday. For this, you get 2 main courses and a carafe of house wine.
Le Mistral is styled like a traditional French restaurant, in the evening it’s always dark and moody with a cosy, romantic feel.
After perusing the menu for something tasty enough to tempt me away from my favourite, I still went for the beef bourguignon because I loved it last time we were here. Emily chose the whole trout special (£2 supplement) which came served with capers, garlic and tomato cabbage, roasted sweet potato and salad.
The bourguignon arrived looking and smelling arrogantly inviting. Large chunks of braised beef stewed alongside nuggets of pork belly in a rich wine sauce with carrot and onion. It was accompanied with some creamy mash and root vegetable crisp.
A dish like this lives or dies by its sauce and this bourguignon didn’t disappoint – it was rich, unctuous and deep in flavour – an effect you only get with authentic low and slow cooking. The beef should get a shout out as it was really tender with a slightly crispy edge, falling apart at the mere hint of your fork – perfect. The mash was perfectly creamy and luxurious – no lumps here! The crispy thing (which I couldn’t quite identify) also added a contrasting crunch to the dish, which was appreciated. Overall, this was a bourguignon worth travelling to Paris for. I know it’s their signature dish and they make it day in and day out so it should be this good, but well done to the chef for maintaining the high standards – I wish I could make this at home!
Emily’s trout was also a triumph.
Firstly, she was really glad she could order a healthy dish that still felt like a luxurious treat. Secondly, it’s usually a good idea to order fish off a specials menu as it is likely super fresh from the market and something extraordinary that the kitchen could get hold of. This seemed true of the trout, which tasted as fresh as they come. It was served whole, not to everyone’s taste if you’re a little squeamish, but it means you get extraordinary flavour and crispiness on the grilled skin. It was well cooked, soft and flaky with the capers adding that perfect tang you get with a good tartare sauce. Unusually, one of the stars of this dish was the tomato and garlic and rosemary cabbage – it was gorgeous! The cabbage still had bite and the hit of garlic and sweet tomato went beautifully with the fish and salty capers. At first glance the sweet potato looked, well, burnt but upon first taste it actually had a great charred flavour that hadn’t gone too far. This was a smashing dish that tasted so incredibly fresh and light, the flavour combination took the idea of dish and chips to an interesting new level.
So overall, a great meal for great value. In the carafe of house wine you get two large glasses, so it’s a good size really. Le Mistral is on our ‘always reliable’ list, which is why we keep heading back – they’re consistently good for fresh, rustic, homely cooking. However, if you go and order anything other than the beef bourguignon you need to take a long, hard look at yourself – you gotta try it!
Overall score: 9/10
Atmosphere and surroundings: 8/10
Emily and Stuart