Monday, September 13, 2021

Bistro on West Side

"Why bother scrambling for a table at Batard when Bistro du Vin is just as good?" said a friend of mine on IG recently. Sour grapes as that might sound with a table at Batard now being the most sought-after in town (good luck trying!), but it's true that Bistro du Vin under the same group was not bad an alternative when all you want is a casual get-together for food and wine in a neighborhood bistro. 

We had exactly such an occasion a few weeks ago when we want to meet up with our friends T and M and Bistro du Vin was the first place in mind - thanks to my friend's IG comment earlier. The place may be slightly less popular than Batard but still, it was filled to the capacity on a random weekday evening with all the tables in the long dining area full. 

They did a reasonably good job in replicating the genuine Parisian bistro vibe in this cozy space on a lively side street in Kennedy Town with wooden furniture and rustic wall art. Both a la carte and prix fixe menu was offered with some special items listed on the big blackboard right behind us, and after much deliberation, we went for a few a la carte dishes to share. 

The charcuterie platter is more than just a few pieces of ham and cold cuts, but rather, a nice combination of classic pate en croute, rillettes, sausages and ham served in a wooden board along with sourdough bread. It's a perfect way to start and I particularly liked the almost creamy texture of the rillettes, slow-cooked with oil to reach such consistency and good for spreading on the warm slice of bread. Bone marrow is another beauty, roasted with pieces of escargots on top for the double punch of rich flavor. 

Mussels was one of the "blackboard item" dishes served as special dish. The French Bouchots Mussels was done in the traditional Brittany style with shallots, and a dash of white wine and cream, and served with fries on the side. It worked well with the bread too as it soaked up the juice at the bottom of the pan. 

Their friendly corkage policy allows diners to bring one of their own bottles with discretionary tips - more than fair I reckon, and we were glad to share a bottle of Barolo which came of age with our friends. We had the same a few years ago when the bottle is still closed and developing but now it has opened up considerably, with nice ripe dark fruit and spices on the palate. Looking forward to more of that for years to come. Their in-house wine list was impressive too, with some unusual choices that I am happy to go with any time. 

We ordered 2 desserts for the 4 of us. I can't call this the best in town, but the madeleines were delightful, soft and warm and with a nice eggy taste. This is the kind of place we really should come back more often, especially when we are in the hood. 

When? August 19 2021
Where? Bistro du Vin, Shop 1D, 1 Davis Street, Kennedy Town
Menu Highlights? Moules Mariniere et Frites
Drinks? 2011 Luciano Sandrone Barolo "Cannubi Boschis"

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