I'll admit it. It is often difficult to do repeat visits to restaurants, even if they are personal favourites. Why? The main reason is that I (and others in my group) often want to try new places. This leaves very little time for return visits. Normally, any repeat visit would involve a certain amount of time passing (because things might've changed like the staff, menu, chef etc...). Sometimes it is to try more dishes beyond the ones on the original meal or it could be lunch vs. dinner service. This time around, our visit to Salade de Fruits was mostly based on the fact I haven't been back in 3 years. Furthermore, with a bigger group, we could try more dishes as well. And the most important reason? My mom really wanted to try the place and I had kept promising her for 3 years! Yah, I didn't want to keep promising her for another 3 years... LOL.
Although I had my sights set on the large pot of mussels (which would be quite filling), the Duck Rillette caught my eye. It arrived in 3 large pieces with gerkins and a caraway papadum. Although the rillette had a moist texture, I found it to be quite wet. That helped water down the flavours which would've been more pronounced if it were more dry. Despite this, we still enjoyed it. As mentioned, I only had my eye on one item, which was the large Moules et Frites. As evidenced in the picture, many of the mussels were large and plump. Only 3 of them were unopened. They sat in a flavourful (a touch salty) broth consisting of white wine, cream, garlic and onions. And when I say large pot, this was a substantial amount of mussels. On the side, the frites were equally substantial. They were crispy while a touch dense. They went well with the aioli on the side.
Viv decided to go for their sandwich special of the day which happened to be Steak Sandwich. It was done a perfect medium-rare where the meat was moist and tender. It came with caramelized onions, tomato and Dijon. I found the bread to be a touch hard, but then again, it needed to be in order to stand up to the ingredients. This was only $9.00! Continuing on the steak theme, my mom had the Steak Frites with a ginger marinade. Once again, it was cooked nicely medium-rare. Due to the cut of the meat, it wasn't super tender, but it wasn't tough either. Visually and tastewise, there was a subtle sweet ginger hit which really complimented the meat. The big mound of frites helped soak up the juices.
When lamb is on the menu, I have a hard time resisting. So... we also got the Souris d'agneau (lamb shank). The meat was mostly fall-off-the-bone tender except for a few spots which were a dry. The sauce had a nice balance of flavours with only a moderate red wine hit. By virtue of opting for rice, the dish looked much less substantial than if we had went for the frites. My dad wanted to eat something healthier, so he went with the Sole au Four. It was a beautifully baked piece of fish which was moist and flaky. It was dressed with a lemon butter caper sauce which was probably defeated the purpose of eating healthy (that's French food for you!). For the kiddies, we got them the Penne Fruits de Mer (or seafood penne). The penne was soft and not al dente, partly because it was swimming a aromatic and creamy saffron sauce. The seafood consisted of shrimp, mussels and fish. Another solid value at $13.00.
As you can probably guess, the big draw at Salade de Fruits are the reasonable prices, especially for French cuisine. It's true that the seating is tight and the service (although friendly) can be a bit sparse at times, but c'mon, look at the reaonable pricing. Furthermore, the food in general is solid, if not quite good. Considering that any of the chain restaurants in town would cost considerably more to dine at (with more generic and less interesting food), Salade de Fruits should be on everyone's list for either lunch or dinner.
- Inexpensive French cuisine
- Generally good food
- The staff really do speak French
- Not the most comfortable places to dine at with a larger group
- Service is not bad, yet there could be long stretches without anyone checking on you