On Thursday night, Secret Foodies were transported from windy Sydney to gay Paris' in the short time it took to walk from the street entrance to our chic flag adorned private dining area. What better location for our Paris to Provence dinner than Bitton Gourmet Café and Grocer, a leader in the French café scene in Sydney for over 12 years.
Bitton is the brainchild of David and Sohani Bitton who recognised a demand for quality cooking products and opened in 2000 as a six-table café and grocer in what was the shell of an old butchers shop. In 2007, the café tripled in size going from 2 to 15 employees, 5kg to 55kg coffee per week and 700 to 2,700 eggs per week. Not only do the Bitton’s have a flourishing café to their name but also an extensive range of gourmet food products sold in over 500 stores nationally and a handful of countries internationally.
In a Secret Foodies first the night kicked off with a game of secret tasting. The eyeholes of our masks were taped over and alternate foodies donned the mask. Mask-less foodies fed their masked friends so they could have a shot at guessing the ingredients in products from the Bitton Gourmet range. Two rounds ensured everyone had a go and the winners of each round were lucky enough to score a signed copy of David’s cookbook A French-inspired café cookbook. This icebreaker not only caused endless laughter for our mask-wearers but a great way to showcase the Bitton Gourmet products.
Once the laughter settled, it was down to business. A seriously French menu cooked by the seriously French (trained, New Zealand born) head chef, Stuart Masters. The menu was specially created just for us and many of our Secret Foodies were begging for dishes to be put permanently on the menu.
I could have eaten an entire vat of the rich, warming appetizer; the Mushroom and Vanilla Cappuccino Soup. Far from everyone’s worst nightmare of a mushroom flavoured cappuccino or a coffee flavoured mushroom, the vanilla cappuccino added a creamy, moreish element I just couldn’t get enough of.
An entrée of Quail and Foie Gras Croquettes with French Lentils and Spinach followed. Crisp pillows gave way to a gooey filling of quail with subtle hints of foie gras.
In my opinion, anything marinating for 4 days has got to be good. But the Braised Baby Lamb Shank with Paris Mash was great. Secret Foodies were lucky enough to get top-secret info on how to marinate these bad boys at home. The lamb was so tender the tables needn’t have been set with knives. As Stuart put it, the Paris mash was not weight watchers compliant, instead devilishly creamy in the absolute best way possible.
The dessert was a twist on its traditional apple cousin, a Pear Tart Tatin with Lavender Crème Anglaise.
And if the secret tasting, appetizer and 3 courses that proceeded weren’t enough Petite Crème Brule’s were served as petit four. To the foodies that had to leave early, they were so delicious I had yours too.
Bitton is a little gem with lovely staff and delicious French café style food. The best part is that you can stock up on your groceries and gourmet food products whilst you’re there to create a French masterpiece of your own. But that’s enough of what I think, lets hear what our foodies have to say…