A Little Bit of Paris
Recently a friend of mine was feeling a bit down so I thought what better place to cheer someone up than the wonderful Lutece Bistro and Wine Bar at Bardon! ‘Lutece’ is the French form of Lutetia, the Roman city where Paris now stands. It was the name of a French restaurant in Manhattan for more than 40 years, famous for its Alsatian onion tart, and in its newest iteration is located on Macgregor Terrace, Bardon, also serving this tart!
Its owner and Executive Chef Romain Bapst, a native of the Alsatian city of Strasbourg in France, relocated to Australia in 1990 where he has been chef at a number of award-winning restaurants including Mietta’s Melbourne, Prunier’s Sydney and Il Centro Brisbane, gaining his reputation here with local diners who enjoyed his signature spanner crab lasagne for over 13 years. He is one of only two Maitre Canardier in Australia, and this is the only venue in Brisbane that serves the Canard a la Presse (Duck on the Press), a French delicacy dating back to the 19th century, but available here at 24 hours’ notice.
Restaurants situated in the premises have always posed somewhat of a mystery to me, as for some reason they always seem to close or relocate after a period of time. Previous eateries Primavera and Desai Dragon were also favourites of mine, but no longer exist at this location and I sincerely hope that Lutece remains here for years to come! The view from the picture windows over Brisbane’s hilly west, especially at night, is lovely, and there is ample car parking underneath opened up to the general public after 5pm and an adequate car park in front of the restaurant during daytime hours. If you are a visitor to Brisbane without a car, the 385 bus to The Gap from the city centre King George Square car park stops right outside on McGregor Terrace at Stop 15.
Inside, the white napery and black bentwood chairs create a formal but inviting atmosphere and the service is friendly and very efficient. For lunch, you can order from the menu or select the five course tasting menu or a two or three course set lunch paired with a glass of the sommelier’s choice of wine, which I would thoroughly recommend. The wine list is a mix of Australian and French and offers some wines by taster (75ml), glass (150ml) and carafe (500ml). How appropriate for a ladies lunch! For our most recent two course selection, we delighted in the Autumn salad Lutece (with coco beans, artichoke, fried truffled duck egg, serrano ham, hazelnut oil and beetroot dressing) and country style terrine (calves tongue with duck foie gras), followed by the famous sand crab lasagne and a sauteed snails and mushroom pie. We couldn’t quite do the desserts or cheeses, but watched other diners demolish a very attractively presented selection. My friend was feeling a great deal better now, making us promise to be back soon!
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