Despite located quite conveniently close to where I live, Chez Meme Baguette Bistro has eluded my culinary adventures. How so? Well, the fact it is only open Monday to Friday 8:00am - 3:00pm puts it smack dab in the middle of the working day. As much as it doesn't seem like it, I do have a day job! Hence, it has been difficult to try the place out. So, to take advantage of the Christmas holidays, I dragged the whole family including the grandparents out to Hastings at Gilmore. Hey, I know they serve up delicious baguettes; however, they have breakfast and some French entrees as well. I want to try it all! Now initially, my parents had arrived first and snapped up a window seat. Too bad it was near the door and every time someone opened it, the temperature dropped significantly. So we had to move... to a table with no natural light. *GASP* What about my pictures? Well, you see the result. Sub par. *SOB*
The cold air from the door can be attributed to the fact the restaurant is very small. Getting a table is a challenge since it is busy all the time. As we begin to look at the food, it is quite clear why they are successful. For the kiddies, we got the 2 Egg Breakfast to share. It may be a simple dish; but these were some of the best scrambled eggs we've had. Fluffy and just barely cooked, this requires skill. The toasted baguette was nice, the kids loved it. It included 3 meaty breakfast sausages and a pile of sauteed potatoes. If you were expecting hashbrowns, these were not it. Good in its own ways though. Think boiled potatoes that are lightly pan fried. For $6.50, this was a large plate of food which was made with care. Much better than any chain restaurant out there. My dad also had a breakfast plate in the Baguette Willy, consisting of a toasted baguette with ham and scrambled eggs topped with cheese sauce. At first, I was seriously concerned about the sauce. It looked like nacho dip. Silly me. I must've forgotten I was in in a French bistro. They wouldn't serve anything like that! In actuality, the sauce was quite mild and cheesy (not salty at all). It went well with all the components with the ham providing the necessary saltiness. Once again, the fluffy scrambled eggs made the dish.
Viv and I decided to take the baguette portion of the meal. She went for the Bourguignon and my word... Look at it. All meat, no filler. Consisting of tender short rib, caramelized onions and horseradish, this was good. There was a great combination of flavours, in particular the contrast of red wine with the sweetness of the onions. Beautiful. For myself, I predictably had the Jarret consisting of lamb shank, roasted garlic jam and grainy dijon. Once again, the baguette was stuffed with tender meat, no filler! I loved the baguette, it was a great combination of gamy lamb, sweet jam and some bite from the mustard. I opted for the Soup du Jour as my side which happened to be Cauliflower, Thyme and Truffle Oil. The soup was very mild with only a small hint of thyme and earthiness from the truffle oil. This is best to be enjoyed on its own since the lamb baguette was so flavourful. My only request would be that the soup be served hot. It was only lukewarm.
Lastly, my mom had the Duck Confit with orange sauce. Normally, an orange sauce can turn out to be too sweet or even "marmaladey". Not so here, the sauce had the nice essence of orange (rind and all); yet had a strong element of savouriness which gave it good balance. The duck itself was very good. Most of the meat was fall off the bone tender. There was a requisite gaminess of duck which went well with the orange sauce. Lastly, the skin was rendered nicely with very little in the way of duck fat. It wasn't crispy due to the sauce; but it was good in its own ways. In fact, everything was good. What a pleasant surprise for North Burnaby. Solid French food for extremely reasonable prices. Couple that with honest service from the proprietors, you can get any better than that. Too bad it is not open more often.
- Really solid eats
- Good portions
- Reasonable prices
- Although friendly, service is strained due to the limited staff
- It's a small place, waits are common