Close to Jungceylon shopping mall
The Bistro brings dining with a choice with indoor or al fresco at the garden terrace or overlooking a serene pond. Serving an International and Seafood Buffet, the Bistro brings outdoor dining to another level. Located at the Lakeside Wing, the Bistro accommodates up to 145 diners and serves daily buffet breakfast, themed buffet dinners and international a la carte cuisine.
The name, ‘The Bistro’ (‘bistro’ means a small establishment serving moderately priced, simple meals in a modest setting) hardly does justice to these elegant surroundings. Part of the imposing Millennium Hotel within The Jungceylon Shopping Centre, ‘The Bistro’ combines dark brown slatted chairs with slate grey upholstery, matching tables, coordinated ceramic décor and russet walls. If you prefer ‘alfresco’, you can dine outside next to the pool.
We arrive on ‘Seafood Buffet’ night. A stroll round the delectable food on display, and we immediately decide to go for the buffet, and forego the à la carte menu. I start the evening with a luxurious Bistro Classic cocktail – vodka with aromatic orange liqueur – before exploring the artistically presented salad bar: a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Apart from separate offerings that include the usual culprits – red beans, radish, prawns, cherry tomatoes, lettuce and olives, there is salmon, green mussels and seafood. Individually prepared salads are based on calamari and artichoke. Even a mezze is available.
I try the crispy fish and pomelo salad – tangy and interestingly textured – while my partner samples a range of individual items: smoked salmon, locally sourced mussels (clams), olives and shrimps. The salmon is especially memorable. There are no fewer than six dressings, including balsamic vinegar, vinaigrette and sun-dried tomato.
All the main course dishes are labelled and piping hot. On the principle of little and often, we begin the main course with a creamy seafood soup and follow up with seafood and paella rice, baked pasta with a delicious cheese sauce and a helping of seared salmon. My partner samples an unusual spinach and squid ring combination, and luscious stir-fried blue crab. Vegetables include new potatoes with dill and baby buttered carrots. To accompany the main dishes, I choose one of a range of a house wines, an 88 cabernet sauvignon from Coonawarra, and later a shiraz from the same vintner, both classic ‘Oz’ offerings – robust and fruity.
I should add that the à la carte menu is extensive, with many classic Thai dishes, and even an Indian roganjosh. Western cuisine is represented by such favourites as pork and Australian beef tenderloin, fish and chips and a range of pastas, burgers and sandwiches. The wine list is well-chosen and prices very reasonable. Maybe THAT is why this fine restaurant calls itself a ‘bistro’…