Found along Friargate, Le Bistrot Pierre in Derby brings a passionate approach to French cuisine and flavour combinations. Originating from the bustling streets of Paris, the traditional bistrot, or bisto, begun serving French homespun classics in a welcoming environment. Of course, with an impressive wine list to boot. With their homely designs, old French adverts lining the walls and a deep colour palette lit by candlelight throughout, Le Bistrot Pierre definitely have the decor down. Their love of food shines through on the menu too, with particular dishes hailing from certain regions of France.
For this culinary adventure, I brought my Granny along. Having spent many holidays in France, the cuisine, culture and way of life are her favourite. Her and my Grandpa go away for months at a time to a various regions of the country; one Summer holiday in '98 I even joined her for the ride.
Having been told the mini Chorizo au Miel (£3.50) were a must-try, we began with a couple of tasters of the honeyed chorizo appetiser and Red Pepper & Anchovy Tapenade (£3). Drenched in sticky honey with the smoked aftertaste, I could've eaten another plateful. My granny loved her little tapenade taster with artisan bread, vowing to have a go at making it with red pepper at home.
I'll have to apologise for my photographs by the way, as the restaurant was moody and mellow this meant it was hard to capture good lighting. And there are only so many photographs you can take before delving into the delicious delights staring back at you.
For our starters (because what's a French meal without a pre-starter?) we went for the special of scallops with bacon and garlic butter and classic French Onion Soup (£4.50). My dish was inspired by the Alsace-Lorraine region, with crispy Alsace bacon dancing amongst the glossy, buttery sauce. The onion soup was flavoursome and well received, although we thought it could have done with even more cheese and grilling for that extra indulgent and authentic feel.
For mains, I went for the slow cooked Porc au Calvados (£13.95) whilst my Granny opted for the special of duck with a rich cherry and red wine sauce. I noticed in the last three meals I've been to with her, she always opts for duck - her favourite. So she is definitely one to please for duck dishes. Thankfully, she thought the rich, sweet sauce was delightful with the slightly pink duck, even going as far to sip up some of the sauce with a spoon. (We've all been there!) The super friendly waiter had asked how she preferred the duck to be cooked - slightly pink or well done - which was a nice touch that reminded us everything was cooked fresh. Alongside this she enjoyed a glass of Merlot from Les Granges de Felines, IGP Pays d’O (£4.75/£6.70 a glass), which was fruity and refreshing.
My tender pork, which is a new addition to the menu, was scattered with some heavenly crackling, and immersed in a slightly sweet apple and Calvados jus. Again another French element with the apple brandy originating from South Normandy. Although I'm not keen on the texture of cooked apples, I love a smooth sauce which means the flavours harmonise without any of the unwelcome consistency. The greens on the dish were one of my favourites - spinach - and were enhanced by a dash of mustard.
The dauphinoise potatoes were very creamy and even more garlicky - definitely not one for the vampires. Luckily I love overdosing on garlic so couldn't get enough of them. I did think the vegetable side could have been more refined though, with a more premium choice of vegetables rather than a more roast dinner inspired selection.
I was sad not finish the delicious dauphinoise, but I had other plans. Dessert plans. I'd seen a cherry frangipane dessert with pistachios (a combination of my two favourites) and nothing was going to stop me. My granny was readily swayed into a naughty choice of Coupe Blanche au Chocolat ice cream (£4.95) by the knowledgeable waiter, whilst I went for the obvious choice. Drizzled in yogurt with a smattering of pistachio nuts, this light sponge actually proved to be a very delicate dessert. The ice cream felt like a grown-up treat too, with luxurious pouring chocolate and sprinkles of flaked almonds.
My granny loved it so much that her and my grandpa went back for the wine tasting menu for her birthday. No doubt a pretty solid testament to an excellent eating experience.
le bistrot pierre
Driving? There is a Friargate Pay and Display around the corner at DE1 1EZ, which is only 90p an hour.
Note: We dined as guests of Bistrot Pierre. All opinions are honest and my own.