I enjoy treating Ma Lee to a post-Christmas meal for a bit of quality mother-daughter time, and this year I decided we should go all “ooh-la-la” and opted for Le Bistrot Pierre on Gas Street. It’s been a canalside fixture since Spring 2016 but this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to try it out.
This 19th century Grade II listed building has been beautifully refurbished, and entering on Gas Street you feel as if you are entering into a boutique hotel – not unlike the feeling you get when entering The Edgbaston. There seems to be a myriad of small rooms, all pleasantly decked out for the festive season, even if it is coming to an end. We are seated in the first room to the right when we enter; despite the burgundy velour of the seating, it is a bright room, with pale wooden floors and tables, and large mirrors to reflect the light coming in from the windows.
When selecting somewhere to dine, I was taken not only by the price of Bistrot Pierre’s prix fixe lunch menu – £11.95 for two courses, £13.95 for three – but also by the selection available. There is plenty of choice, and the menu changes regularly to reflect the seasonal dishes available – the festive menu ended on the 2nd January so already the prix menu online has a number of different options available. It’s a good job I took this photo to remind me…
Ma Lee was determined to push herself out of her comfort zone and decided on the pan-fried fish cake with spinach and Hollandaise sauce for a starter. Ma Lee has never eaten spinach before. I give her lots of handy tips about throwing it in a curry. I am a creature of habit and opt for the chicken liver parfait. As expected for a French classic, the parfait is delicious (although I quickly run out of sourdough toast and end up spreading it on the bread from the complimentary bread basket…), but a forkful stolen from Ma Lee’s plate ends with me declaring the fishcake the stand out dish. There is just enough sauce to moisten the fish, but not enough to overpower the flavour, Ma Lee declares it a winner. And is now a fan of spinach.
Starter plates wiped clean, it’s on to the main course. Ma Lee chooses the medallions of pork, marinated with honey, Pommery mustard, Morteau sausage, caramalised apples and beurre blanc. Once again, it’s a flavoursome choice, with the sweetness of the apple providing a counterbalance to the tang of the mustard. I know, because like any good food blogger, I insist on trying everything on the table, even if it’s not mine. I settle on the slow-braised beef with shallots, red wine, bacon and mushrooms, another classic French dish, and one which I’ve tried numerous variations of this year during jaunts to Germany, Luxembourg and Austria. This one is full of flavour and melt-in-the-mouth beef and is one of the best I’ve tasted. The accompaniments are just as spectacular – carrots, parsnips and broccoli, dauphinoise potatoes and a wonderful braised red cabbage which complements my beef perfectly.
There is no room for dessert. But in a fantasy world where I had hollow legs and hadn’t eaten my body weight in cheese and crackers over the festive period I would definitely have opted for the chocolate brownie. Or the apple and rhubarb crumble. Or the sticky toffee pudding.
With a G&T for Ma Lee, and a refreshing Fentimans Ginger Beer for the driver, the total bill comes to just under £36; our servers were friendly, attentive and efficient so we round up to £40 to reflect the hospitality. I would certainly return to Bistrot Pierre; even the a la carte menu is well-priced at around £14 per main course but the lunchtime and early evening prix fixe menus are a big draw and put this restaurant a cut above other similar places in Birmingham.
We paid for our drinks and meals ourselves as part of Bistrot Pierre’s Prix Fixe lunch menu; opinions are mine (and Ma Lee’s) regardless.
46 Gas Street, Birmingham B1 2JT
Monday to Friday 12-3pm
Saturday & Sunday 12-5pm
Monday to Saturday 5-10pm