Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Little Snail, Sydney

All right, a team lunch and we decide to go for French cuisine. We get a recommendation for The Little Snail, although we were told that people who are aware of the actual French cuisine call this one as not French enough. Nonetheless, we see a positive and wonder if it’s probably a good way to start our journey into the French cuisine by going with the hybrid first.
Now this one is located in Pyrmont. Just as you walk across the bridge on Darling Harbor, you see the little snail on the left. We had reservation done prior and arrived for lunch. Now location wise and décor wise, pretty chic. The staff was courteous and definitely seemed to have a French accent- at least the ones to our tables.
Now as we settled in, the menu was a three course lunch for a fixed amount of $38. You get to choose an entrée, a main course and a dessert. Additionally, if you want to get breads etc, that’s extra. Well there were four of us, so we did get to taste quite a bit of variety.

Let’s start with the entrée’s. There was the salt and pepper squid, which I ordered. Pretty good. A stack of calamari, crunchy on the outside, served with some rocket and spicy mayonnaise or the cornichons aioli. Look, I liked it. The calamari wasn’t too chewy or stringy. It had the crunch and I liked it.

Next was the King Prawns, fried and served with lemon Mayo and sweet chilli. Again, great stuff. Loved it. The sweetness of the prawn, with the crunchy coating of the batter, and balance with the sweet chilli. My friend who normally has allergies to prawns and avoids it, simply couldn’t stop raving about the prawns.

Next starter was the Pate Maison. Now I don’t know what the whole description meant, but it read Armagnac flavored duck liver pate with marinated champignons and date chutney and port vinaigrette. Let me tell you, when the dish arrived, it was breath taking. Looked very polished and fancy with a pate cylinder topped with date chutney in the centre and marinated mushrooms all around with a slight brown sauce. Looked just to master chef. So visually, looked very appealing. Served with bread slices, I tried it and somehow didn’t like the taste at all. May be not too attuned to duck liver pate, but taste wise this was quite the opposite and I didn’t like it, and neither did my friend. May be we aren’t used to pate’s.
The last starter was the Escargots De Bourgogne- a dozen snails marinated in herb infused court bouillon, oven baked in garlic butter. Again, visually very appealing. I have never had snails before and wasn’t quite sure what this was all about.  The dish looked good. An array of snail placed on a large white plate with a buttery and herb sauce. Very cautiously I tried the snail. You had to pull out the snail from the shell. It was a black kind of snail and tasted rubbery. The butter sauce was good, but perhaps I wasn’t too sure if I will have the snail again.

Coming to the mains, me and my friend ordered the Chicken Cordon Bleu. It was supposed to be a skin free chicken breast stuffed with Swiss cheese and ham, lightly coated with panko and with a tomato and basil coulis.  Again, with this being the only chicken dish and I wasn’t too keen to try either the fish or the lamb. There was always this wishful thinking about what if I get an awesome chicken dish with some crispy skins and all. Now when the dish came over, looked good, although a bit different from what I expected. It was a chicken breast with a golden crumb which had been fried with a tomato sauce on top of it. Served with a broccoli and a stack of square potato slices. As we started eating and dug in, unfortunately, this was not what I was looking forward to. To be honest this reminded me more of chicken parmiagna, with a crumb fried an topped with a tomato sauce. To me, while the chicken was juicy and succulent, it lacked flavors and salt. The whole dish lacked flavor. A few slices more and there was ham and cheese in the center. Now, if you are not used to having ham, please don’t order. The Swiss cheese was all molten and wow, but again, it didn’t bind the dish together. So a big disappointment for me in the mains. My second friend who ordered the same dish had similar views. 

The next mains was the Seafood Plate- which had a grilled salmon, garlic prawns, salt and pepper squid, chilli mussels and beer battered soft shell crabs and a salad. Overall, lot of fish and lot of fried stuff. For a fish lover like my friend, she loved it and every bit of it. For me who doesn’t like too much fish, I’d probably politely give it a pass. But yes, I’d say it’s a good dish, well presented, that I was tempted to dig in for a few nibbles.

Next came the desserts. Two of my friends ordered a sticky date pudding. When it was served, it looked gorgeous. A neat circular portion of sticky date pudding, topped vanilla ice cream. On top of this there was a delicate round maze of wafer thin butter scotch. To my Indian friends, it resembled a jalebi. The whole stack on a white plat with a syrup all around. Looked immaculate and tasted good. The warm pudding with the ice cream and the crunchy butterscotch maze. Wow. I would have gone on and on, but the real treat of the dessert was what I ordered. And as much as I hate to loathe and glorify myself, it was truly one of those moments when I virtually patted myself on the back and said – good you mate.. Well done PK, you are a star to have ordered such an awesome dessert. I had ordered the Kahlua Infused Chocolate Mousse. Well, as it was presented, it took my breath away. I was hypnotised, and I felt like singing that song, “ Baby, thought Id died and gone to heaven” or Bryan Adams Heaven. A neat elliptical chocolate cylinder, standing tall like a tower.  And inside this cylinder was chocolate mousse. Topped with a strawberry, this looked real ultra chic. The taste fantastic. The chocolate cylinder was a thin chocolate covering wafer which was frozen and solidified and tasted of dark chocolate. Inside, there was a chocolate mousse, which had  distinct aromatic and taste of Kahlua, and tasted delicious. Trust me, it is one of the bet deserts I have had.  If I had a chance, I would go again to little snail and have this again.
So overall, mixed reviews. Starters were good, mains not really and an out of the world dessert. Was it French enough? Not that I know too much, but didn’t seem to be too much French cuisine. May be the snails and the pate. But then fish, salmon, chicken breast, all seemed to be may be modern Australian, but not really French.
Would I visit again here? May be not, except for the desert. So a very average feedback from me. You can have good ambience, location, French accented staff, but the food is not exceptionally out of the world.

Phone: 02 9212 7512
Fax: 02 9211 6706

50 Murray Street
Pyrmont NSW - Sydney

Opening Hours:
Monday - Thursday
12pm - 3pm & 5.30pm - 9pm

Friday - Saturday
12pm - 3pm & 5.30pm - 10pm

12pm - 3pm & 5.30pm - 9pm

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