Last week I visited Oscars French Bistro in Leamington Spa for the first time, I can’t actually believe it has taken me almost three years to pay the restaurant a visit. Mr Gourmand has visited twice with work and has promised to take me on a few occasions but we can never seem to dine out together on an evening unless we have family visiting.My date for the Oscars visit was one of Mr Gourmands work colleagues, Mr Gardener. Mr Gardener had visited Oscars a few times before and had jumped at the chance to accompany me so last Wednesday we made our way there for Dinner.
When you enter Oscars you can immediately see that this is a fine dining restaurant and a place to not only eat food but to enjoy it too. The tables are beautifully set and the whole atmosphere seems intimate and inviting.
We were handed the menu and given a glass of champagne to drink, I can’t remember the last time I had champagne but it was definitely pre Baby Gourmand. The champagne was fruity and very easy to drink unlike others I have tried, at least from what I can remember!
The complimentary olives were delicious, in fact I could have happily had a huge bowl full on my own, they were that good. The French bread was also delicious however I had to limit myself to just one piece or I wouldn’t have been able to eat my meal. It’s little things like the complementary extras that would make you visit time and time again.
After quite a long time debating what we were going to order we had finally made a decision, I’m a creature of habit and as soon as I saw that Chicken Liver pate (£6.50) was an option on the menu it was a no brainer that I was going to order it. I consider myself to be a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to Chicken Liver pate so I was interested to see how Oscars compared to others I had eaten in the past.
I’ve mentioned before that in my opinion an undressed salad is a huge no-no, this wasn’t a problem at Oscars. The salad was not only dressed but seasoned, such a little thing that makes such a difference. The bitterness of the endive lettuce worked so well with the sweet dressing and creamy pate. It was a very generous portion size, so much so that I couldn’t finish it all for fear of not being able to eat my main course. I have to say that this was one of the best Chicken Liver Pate I have eaten and I have eaten a lot.
Mr Gardener ordered the Salmon, Dill and Caper fishcake (£6.50) which was served on creamed spinach with a lemon butter sauce. You would be forgiven for thinking this could have been a main course as it was a monster of a fishcake and served with some vegetables or a salad it would have made an excellent main course. Mr Gardener thought the fishcake was excellent, he had eaten a similar starter at Oscars in the past which prompted him to order this one and he wasn’t disappointed.
I always struggle when it comes to ordering wine with my meal, I’m not a connoisseur and usually prefer to get a recommendation from the sommelier as they know their stuff when it comes to pairing so I did what I always do and asked the waitress to select a wine. As we were both having red meat as our main course a bottle of the Paredaux tradition pays doc 2013 (£16.50) was recommended and what a good choice it was.
I ordered the Mini rack of lamb (£17.50) for my main course and can I start by saying there was nothing ‘mini’ about this dish. The lamb was cooked to perfection and I couldn’t stop talking about how amazing the lamb was. Juicy, flavourful, meltingly tender and hands down delicious, for me the lamb stole the show. The lamb was topped with persillade and served with my favourite bollangere potatoes and if I could only have one more meal for the rest of my life I have to say this would probably be a contender. Mr Gardener got to sample one of my lamb chops as I was so full and he agreed that it was one perfectly cooked piece of lamb.
Mr Gardener decided to go for something that he doesn’t cook at home, another perfectly cooked dish – the Sautéed duck breast (£17.50) which was served with a pineapple and ginger compote and fondant potato. The picture above really doesn’t do this dish the justice it deserves, Mr Gardener cleared his plate which speaks for itself.
Mr Gardener and I decided to share a dessert, to be perfectly honest I couldn’t have managed one on my own. The dessert menu was rather amazing, there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like the sound of but one dish stood out for me which was the Panacotta with rhubarb compote (£6.00) the restaurant had run out of the compote but offered an alternative of a red berry compote instead, after explaining about my strawberry allergy I was told the chef would prepare something for me and what we received was so delicious it really needs to be on the menu! The raspberries were plump and juicy, the liquor was sweet and worked so well with the slight tartness of the berries and the panacotta was just so delicious I don’t have the words to describe it.
I well and truly have the Oscars bug and I can’t wait for my next visit, preferably with Mr Gourmand so I don’t need to be so reserved when it comes to taking food off my fellow diners plate!
Post by Madame Gourmand
Madame Gourmand dined as a guest of Oscar’s French Bistro. All opinions are her own. She was not required to write a positive review
This post originally appeared on Madame Gourmand’s blog here