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bistrot pierre in derby gets a revamp.

Bistrot Pierre in Derby serves up seasonal French cuisine from a variety of regions with fresh ideas and regular chef specials. Having recently had a refurb, I went along to see the new changes and updated menu. Of course like my last review of Bistrot Pierre, I took my granny along, since she's my French food expert. 

To begin we indulged in their amuse gueules, meaning a small savoury item served as an appetiser before a meal. I went for the Gousse d’ail rôtie (£3.75), roasted garlic, whilst she chose the French ‘Label Rouge’ Saucisson (£3.50) from the Beaujolais region, both dishes we didn't try last time. Having enjoyed the French Merlot from our last visit, my granny had this again whilst I sipped on a refreshing Orangina. I really enjoyed my roast garlic, which has been slow roasted into a paste which spread beautifully onto warm artisan bread. These were extremely generous portions for the price and you could almost have had these for a starter before your main.

To start we went for Saucisse de Toulouse (£5.95) and the new Salade d'hiver (£5.95). Mine was a soothing tomato sauce with a touch of fennel, parsley and moreish sausage, topped with a perfectly runny egg. This would make for the ultimate breakfast dish - no wonder it was back by popular demand.  Both dishes were available as mains for an increased price, which meant there was lots to pick and choose from.

The winter salad was a stunning selection of roasted butternut squash, crumbled Ste Maure goats' cheese, marinated artichoke hearts, honey & lemon dressing and toasted pumpkin seeds, with the optional extra of Bayonne ham from the south west of France. Bringing together flavours from the Loire Valley and Basque region along with seasonal vegetables, this was the making of a gorgeous and comforting French inspired salad. 

And onto the mains, which were both newly added to the menu; Bouillabaisse maison (£15.95) and Filet de loup de mer (£14.95). The loup de mer, better known as seabass, came in a lemony tarragon sauce and was served with smoky aubergine purée and black olives. 

In the words of Bistrot Pierre, the bouillabaisse is their "take on this classic fish stew from Marseille; with seabream, mussels, king prawns, clams and smoked haddock served with rouille, aged Gruyère and grilled sourdough toast. Brimming with fish and flavour - we can't recommend this dish highly enough." This of course was the seafood lovers dream, with a hearty sauce and lots of French bread to mop it up. I would warn diners that this is a very hand's on dish, but as a fish fanatic I didn't mind this so much. I was almost very tempted by the Moules au Roquefort too, which can be had as a main or starter.

With all main courses served with seasonal vegetables and potatoes, we had an extra plate to see us into our five a day. I hadn't actually read this properly, so it soon became a table very full of food.

For dessert we chose the Gâteau au miel (£4.95) and Crème brûlée (£5.25). As there are no new additions to the menu, we opted for puddings that we hadn't tried before. Hailing from the East-Central region of Burgundy, this honey cake was akin to a sticky toffee pudding and came with an indulgent scoop of double ginger ice cream.

My crème brûlée certainly passed the "tap test" with a gorgeous burnt sugar topping. However the centre was disappointingly runny, and although it tasted delicious it didn't have the thicker cream texture I prefer.

Throughout the evening the staff couldn't do enough to help us and were noticeably proud of their new surroundings. The place had been tastefully decorated for Christmas and still retained its French vibes and atmosphere. We both agreed that the portions were definitely on the large side compared to what you might order in France, but I can't imagine anyone complaining about that!

Have you ever been to Bistrot Pierre? Do you have a favourite French dish or recipe?

Note: We dined as guests of Bistrot Pierre. All opinions are honest and my own (or my granny's).

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