Back in Year 8, I used to study French whereby we were supposed to be on an excursion to The Little Snail like many year groups before us. For some weird reason, we never got the chance to dine there. Since then, I was keen on checking this place out whenever I get the chance though it does seem to be on the more expensive scale. Finally, a friend decided to have her birthday dinner at this restaurant. Amazingly, it has been around since 1966! This is interesting to know considering the many recent restaurant closures over the past 12 months.
The weather was absolutely terrible that day - and by terrible I mean it was notoriously hot in the early-mid 40s and then extremely cold and windy in the evening. So going inside after a worse than horrible public transport experience was a mighty relief. It certainly has a romantic atmosphere with the dim lighting, elegant decor, that intriguing spiral stairs and you have the choice of seating in the top or bottom level. We went with the 3-course dinner for $59 option as it is a really good deal especially when you compare some of the dishes with the individual A La Carte prices.
The majority of us chose to have snails for the entree dish. I shared a couple with others since there was so many snails on the table. The snails tasted similar to the ones in France which is pretty good and I definitely enjoyed having it with the garlic butter sauce. While some weren't too keen on the idea of eating snails for the first time, I would be glad to eat all the snails after trying a couple as it does a good job in making it well cooked and not too chewy. Had I ordered this dish, I also would have gladly dunked the bread into that garlic sauce until it's gone.
Escargot de Bourgogne
Because there was so much I wanted to try from the entrees menu, I went with something different from the majority. Upon seeing the word 'crab', I ended up choosing the Boulette de Fruits de Me (Salmon prawns and blue swimmer crab, steamed, served on tomato and chervil veloute). I thought it tasted too creamy for my liking and the salmon has overpowered the rest of the dish that I could barely taste the crab.
Boulette de Fruits de Mar
Not sure how French this dish really is. But the calamari does look pretty tasty. The friend who had this dish seemed to enjoy it.
Salt and Pepper Squid
I found it interesting that this was listed under Entrees. Anyway, the friend who had this dish opted for a main size version but I always found Bouillabaisse to be a reasonably sized meal. From what I've tried, it was quite tangy and zesty and the bread is very useful to scoop up that lovely soup. Will definitely recommended this for a future visit.
Bouillabaisse de Marseille
I wasn't too sure about the idea of eating kangaroo meat but some of us were keen to try it. This did look appetising and got the thumbs up by my fellow diners. They also said that the kangaroo meat was soft and tender to their liking. The garlic pommes (potato) puree mixed with the honey bordelaise sauce would have surely been the highlight for me.
Kangaroo fillet on garlic pommes purée with Dijon mustard and honey bordelaise sauce
Loin of lamb with wilted baby spinach, maple glazed pommes boulangères & thyme jus
Yay desserts! When my friend ordered the Handmade Profiteroles with creme patisserie and mint chocolate sauce, the first thought I had was a croquembouche tower full of profiteroles. Of course, it was presented as a single profiterole on a bed of mint chocolate sauce, topped with cream and a pretty little chocolate garnish. Did not try this but it looked quite creamy when my friend was trying it out. I seriously wanted that dish mainly for that chocolate ganache alone haha.
Handmade Profiteroles with crème patisserie and mint chocolate sauce
I went with the Chef-churned Hazelnut and Praline Ice Cream which I find to be quite divine. The ice cream has a sweet and crunchy texture from the hazelnut and praline combined with the shortbread base. It is then topped with the sticky Grand Marnier caramel toffee, which adds to the presentation. The taste is quite rich but the delightful combination of creamy, smooth and crunchy ingredients has made this as one of the highlights of my dinner. My only minor issue was cutting through the biscuit but in the end it still tasted good especially when combined with the ice cream.
Chef-churned Hazelnut and Praline Ice Cream
Overall, the dinner was very enjoyable for everyone. Some of the food didn't seem too French compared to other French restaurants I've been to. In fact there were a few I've spotted on the other tables that seems to belong to a Modern Australian restaurant. But if they've been around for 45+ years, then they must have been doing something good to keep going strong till this day. I am pleased that I have finally got the chance to try out The Little Snail after so long and it does have its charm with its statues and the classy vibe. More importantly, there were some dishes that I am keen to try at my next visit - especially those snails.
The Little Snail
50 Murray Street
Pyrmont NSW 2009
(02) 9212 7512