• Getting boozie on fine food.

Bouzy Rouge
470 Bridge Rd
Richmond 3121
03 9429 4348

Too often I struggle to decide on a place to eat.  For my mum’s birthday this week, I was glad for someone else to choose the venue. My dad selected Bouzy Rouge.  It was a good choice.

The exterior of Bouzy Rouge, looks like a local drinking hole.  For this reason, I had never given it more than a glance and quick side-step to the other side of the pavement.  This led me to be even more surprised when I entered to discover a thoughtfully (though hunting themed) interior with decorative walls, lamps and detailing.

Bouzy Rouge was transformed by owners  Jose and Sandra De Oliveira, from a corner hotel, to a gastro pub which verges on fine dining.  The pair are renouned for converting pubs, and it seems their magic wand worked when it came to Bouzy Rouge.

I was delighted that the charming waiter greeted me as Madamoiselle, rather than the usual Madame which signifies age and marriage.  He explained the menu but was then rushed off his feet as all the other tables in his section filled up at the same time.

To start was home-style, fluffy, white bread with a thin crusty edge.  This was served with a white bean, olive oil and garlic dip.

There were many vegetarian tapas on offer but only one main: a mouth-watering gorgonzola tortellini with salted ricotta, sage, poached pear and walnuts.  The pasta was fresh and moist with brown butter.  The sweetness of the pear was delightful against the gorgonzola.

We shared a more-ish salad filled with beetroot, super-soft pumpkin, crunchy fresh hazelnuts, and endive.  The salad dressing was delicious, and I was told by the charming waiter that it was their secret recipe.  It tasted like truffle oil with a touch of lemon juice and was delicious.

The patatas bravas were salty but the alioli was creamy and tangy.  There was no tomato salsa.

All the servings were generous and I was amazed at the quality of the food.  The ingredients were interesting but blended, modern with a take on old traditions.

Dessert was compulsory for a birthday meal, even though we were full-stomached and content from the mains.

The chocolate tart was more like a moist, warm brownie in a well-cooked short-crust pastry.  This was a very nice way to end a meal.

The crème brulee was similar to a Catalan crème in a flat dish but a hardened toffee lid.  The brulee was richly vanilla and creamy in texture.

I had soon decided that this meal was the best I had had in a while.  Today someone asked me for a fine dining recommendation.  My immediate response was, "Bouzy Rouge".

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