Styled as a casual French Bistro, and with a location that couldn’t be more family-friendly, Chez Patrick Bistro is a fab hangout for Southside mamas and their brood.
Editor’s note, 15 May, 2018: This restaurant is now closed.
We rocked up en masse as a pair of frazzled mamas and two noisy, messy, and hungry two-year old boys. Straight away, we were brought crayons and colouring paper, staving off a fast-approaching pair of meltdowns, and bread was also forthcoming to keep little hands and mouths busy. The deli adopts the French method of serving up small portions of ‘real’ food for kids, making this a healthier, and far more interesting option than the usual junk on offer. We opted for the 3-course set lunch for the boys, along with steak and the daily special lamb for the mamas.
The boys’ charcuterie starter plate arrived in double-quick time (bonus points to any restaurant that knows to always bring kids’ food first!) and they both happily tucked into the salami, tomatoes and gherkin, before making short work of their mains – a tomato and Toulouse sausage pasta, and a steak and veg bowl.
Again, top marks here for offering steak cut into manageable chunks, rather than the typical burger. Meanwhile, the grown-ups were enjoying the well-cooked steak and lamb (served with frites, and Mediterranean veg respectively), and portions were respectable without being overwhelming.
Dessert was quite an event for boys and mums alike; the kids’ set lunch comes with a very impressive trio of mini desserts that – being responsible parents – we felt we had to assist them with! The ‘Floating Island’ is a light-as-air meringue on a bed of crème anglaise (a thin custard), and was gone almost as soon as I could whip out my camera to take a shot of my son in action.
Next up was a dark chocolate mousse that was delicious, although possibly a little rich for wee ones, then finally a generous slice of éclair, filled with chocolate cream. I can also vouch for the crème brûlée and the warm salted chocolate cake, both of which required a strong dark coffee to balance the sweetness.
Thumbs up: Let’s start with that fab location – on the ground floor of bustling Stanley Plaza, right next to the Pirate Ship playground. Nab an outdoor table on a sunny day and linger over a glass of vin while the little tykes run riot within easy sprinting distance!
Then there’s the menu; the deli’s casual French fare is served up without pretension, and portions are generous – if anything a little too generous when it comes to the kids’ meals, but that’s a very small quibble. There are good value set menu options available throughout the day, with daily lunch and dinner specials offering a varied selection, and if you’re not up for a full meal then the sharing platters of fromage, charcuterie and other bite-sized nibbles will fill a hole without stuffing you silly. Alternatively if you want to live the French gourmand lifestyle in the comfort of your own home, there are delish grocery goodies to take home from the deli counter.
Thumbs down: Not much to argue about here, although there is no changing table available in the deli’s bathroom, so you’ll have to head into the plaza itself.
High chairs: Booster seats only, so better for slightly older kids.
Stroller access: Yes, and plenty of space to manoeuvre!
How much: Kids’ 3-course set lunch $120; Adult lunch specials from $138-$178; sharing platters from $138-$238.