Whipping Girl has always been a faithful food companion, through the good eats and the bad ones. She is open to sharing her food and lets me take my pictures without much fanfare. Imagine my joy when she wanted to treat me to La Cigale French Bistro... Apparently, she had an expiring coupon that needed to be used ASAP. Yes, those pesky expiry dates are closer than they appear! So I met her at the restaurant with bells on.
We were started off with their popular fresh Puff Pasty Sticks which would've been warm and probably soft inside. I say this because I was late arriving (due to traffic for the Paul Simon concert) and missed the fresh sticks by 15 minutes. Despite this, they were crispy and light. With an actual appie, we had the Tuna Tartare consisting of albacore, avocado, tomatoes and onion with radish and sprouts on top. We got the natural sweetness of the ingredients and the textural contrast of the croutons, yet the whole thing was lacking in acidity. That would've added more brightness and pop.
I requested that we should keep it easy on the bread for the meal and guess what Whipping Girl ordered? In addition to the aforementioned 2 items (that had bread), she picked out the House-Made Pate served with cornichons & mustard and 1/2 Baguette with Tapenade. Thanks Whipping Girl... The pate was meaty and slightly dense where it was mild-tasting with no particular flavour standing out. I did get a bit of sweetness from the onion though. The baguette was really good though being crusty while airy inside. Of note, the vinaigrette with the salad was nicely balanced (with a good amount of Dijon). The tapenade had a predominant black olive flavour with only the slightest hints of capers and anchovy.
Onto the mains, we had the Braised Beef Short Ribs with peppercorn sauce. The generous portion of short rib had a firm exterior bark which was smoky and salty. On the inside, the meat was sufficiently moist and tender with some gelatinous portions. As for the sauce, it was definitely the beneficiary of heavy cream, wine and only modest amount of peppercorns. With only a minor pepperiness, the whole thing was far too salty. Our second entree was the Vol au Vent de La Mer. I thought the mildly seasoned cream sauce went well with the seafood as it stayed in the background. As for the seafood itself, the shrimp had a nice snap while the salmon & halibut were alright. However, the squid was tough and chewy.
On the side, we added some Frites and they were somewhat crispy while being on the denser side. I found the aioli on the side to be really salty though. Lastly, for dessert, we shared the Monaco Tart which was a decadent combination of firm tart shell with marscapone, chocolate, peanuts and super sweet caramel. Despite being a bit too sweet for my tastes, we both agreed that it was a pretty balanced tart when all the components were eaten with each other. At the end, we were pretty stuffed and had to pack the rest to go. We thought the food was not bad, but could be even better with a few tweaks.
- Attentive and friendly service
- Decent portion sizes
- Cozy room
- Some seasoning issues (too salty)