Bistro Rex is an approachable yet chic bistro - a neighborhood drop-in place.
The team – head chef Jo Ward (former owner of Bloodwood); sous chef Michelle Powell (bar manager at Spice Temple); Baci Moore (former manager of Spice Temple); and Josh Dunne (sommelier at China Doll) describes the cuisine as French colonial.
The prawn beignet (deep-fried choux pastry) is wrapped in carrot and cucumber and rolled, almost like a rice paper roll, with a Sriracha-style sauce on top. There’s also a very classic French confit chicken or duck dish. For this version the leg is done in a light, almost spicy broth – it has a North African feeling. Ward’s focus is on flavours from the colonies of North Africa and Vietnam, so she doesn’t use the butter common in French cooking. There’s also a steamed market fish with smoked oysters and kohlrabi; a gruyere soufflé; and steak frites with café de Paris-style mash.
The design is a reinvention of a classic Parisian bistro. You can see the mosaic penny tiles and impressive pillars from the street. The three round banquettes covered in greenish-blue leather are inviting and comfortable. There’s dried lavender hanging from the bar, white linen napkins and a lot of copper.
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