I had been eager to try P’tite Ardoise ever since I saw the cute chalkboard sign had been raised outside its doors on Beaufort St in July. The name transaltes to "Little Blackboard” which nakes for a recurring motif around the restaurant. I found myself playing a game of spot the baby blackboards, picking them out on the menu, the napkins, on the waitstaff as well as bearing the tasty bonne bouche!
After being warmly greetd by the staff and seated at our table for 8, we all took a very lengthy look at the menu. It was so hard to choose! After changing my mind about 4 times, I settled on sharing ‘Snails My Way’ for entrée and the casserole of the day, which was seafood, for main.
Orders in, the doting waitstaff moved around our table with baskets of freshly baked assorted breads. I love that we got to choose what bread took our fancy (seeded? Herbed? Baguette?) and whether we even wanted bread to begin with. I usually shun carbs before my meal so I can squeeze in dessert, but the bread (along with trio of butter, e.v.o. and olive tepenade) looked to good to pass up.
The snails arrived; three ramekins lined up on a rectangular slate. I was a snails virgin before this night and I definitely chose the right time and place to try, because these were delicious. Sealed under a toasted circle of buttery bread, in a luscious sauce of cream, herbs and tomato – simply yummy!
The mains were excellent too. Each of the Pork, Beef and Salmon were paired with the sweetnees of apple or pear and sealed with a lusty wine reduction. Each element of my casserole; the catfish, the prawns, the clams, the potato; cooking was timed perfectly. The accomapnying sauce was really delicious too. Despite a reluctance towards parsley, I ended up spooning it up like it was soup.
The vegetarian main was "superbly tasty” according to my company. The French aren’t famous for their ‘tolerance' for vegetarians, so this was another gold star to P’tite Ardoise’ name. The last authentic French meal I had in Perth was at La Caascade and whislt delicious I ended up leaving the restaurant feeling like I’d ingested the furniture too. P’tite Ardoise remains true to its Noman roots in flavour, but not in terms of heaviness.
Extra- mile service is where P’tite Ardoise truly distinguish themselves. I really respect their attention to detail. The owner, who I must mention was humbly dressed it the same uniform of black slacks and yellow waistcoat as her waitstaff, asked me discrettly between courses if were celebrating a Birthday and should she bring a candle with dessert. Well she didn’t just add a candle to birthday boys dessert but presented us with an additional little cake on a plate decorated with ‘HAPPY BRITHDAY’ in chocolate.
Other details I was impressed by were the vegetables that came as a side with every main - they were cooked just right and complemented the dishes perfectly. The sweet-tooth in me also adored the wooden box they brought around at the end of the meal. It was brimming with strawberry clouds and Carambars - a quintessentially French confection, ensuring your night ended on one final (sugar) high.
Whilst the standard of food and service is 5 star, there is no ego at P'tite Ardoise. Seen in the modest surroundings of pale yellow and burgundy (very Old-France), to the friendly service, the demeanour here is warm and unpretentious. From the first encounters when you walk in the bistro's narrow wooden door, to the personal meet and greet from the Head Chef at the end of your meal; its clear this is a restaurant that really understands the concept of dining experience. The owners are clearly very passionate about what they do and want to share what they know about good food with you.
I'm giving P'tite Ardoise Bistro top marks. Me and my fellow diners are already talking about going back. Can't wait.