Last week, Madame Hanoi was transformed into a theatrical Parisian wonderland in celebration of Bastille Day, complete with French can-can girls, accordion music, mimes and even a mystical fortune-teller.
Bastille Day is the French National Day which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution every year; the occasion usually involves a whole lot of fireworks and fun family festivities. The Adelaidian were excited to be invited to partake in such festivities, thanks to Madame Hanoi who sought to bring a little taste of France to Adelaide this year.
The night started off with a round of champagne and a spot of dancing with the sparkling can-can girls. We were shown through to the newly fitted out bar space/lounging area, which housed a set of brand new booths that still had the smell of fresh leather wafting off their surfaces. Staff dressed in black and white stripes, suspenders and French berets wandered the space, offering guests drinks on arrival.
Our Co-Editor Kristen had the pleasure of getting her palm read, to which she was told by the fortune-teller that she was ‘all heart, and her brain is sometimes left behind’. Fortunately, the fortune-teller did read some relatively good things for her destiny.
The Bastille Day four-course dining experience began with plates of Queen Scallop: deliciously moist scallops served in their shell and buttered using smoked garlic rosemary butter with kaffir lime and saffron. This dish was an outstanding beginning to our French-inspired culinary journey at Madame Hanoi, and perhaps the reigning favourite among the table. The rich flavours came together so very neatly with a warm, dense texture and the dish itself was presented beautifully.
Alongside the scallops came matching cocktail, ‘The Parisian’, combining citadelle gin, spiced honey, citrus and mediterranean tonic, as well as a gigantic porcelain bowl of colourful, fruity punch.
Next out was the French Onion Pho Soup, which seamlessly combined one of the more iconic French foods, French Onion Soup, with a traditional Asian Pho. The soup came with its contents raw in a bowl, minus the broth and served alongside a side of crunchy grilled gruyere cheese on sourdough. Waitresses then came around to each table and filled up the soups with beef broth individually, instantly cooking the contents so that the guests could watch the raw beef go from a deep red to light pink in just seconds. It was the little attention details such as this that made the experience all that more theatrical!
We indulged in the NV Chocolate Box Sparkling Shiraz as the paired beverage for this round, popping nicely on the tongue.
The heartiest meal of them all was the Cassoulet, served with handmade garlic pork sausage, confit duck, smoked pancetta, beans and topped with parmesan crust. Alongside it, a hot, crunchy baguette was served fresh to use for dipping in the sauce. The meat in the Cassoulet had been slow-cooked for days, so it ended up deliciously tender. A rich sauce was used to compliment the meat, making the entire dish truly wholesome and comforting – an excellent winter treat.
By this point, we’d racked up a significant range of drinkables to sip on with our dinner, we were almost overwhelmed! Lucky we’re pretty big fans of alcohol. The Cassoulet was paired with the French 2013 Domaine Du Salvard Unique Pinot Noir from Cheverny in the lush Loire Valley region.
No dinner is complete without an equally delectable dessert, and who could go wrong with a French Cheese Platter? The vanilla bean Crème Brulee came shortly thereafter and certainly lived up to expectations. Topped with a different flavoured macaron on each Brulee and served with a French Cabernet Sauvignon mulled wine, we were certainly left impressed with our overall experience of Madame Hanoi’s Bastille Day dinner.