Review: Absinthe – Great French Food along Boat Quay

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I take choosing a place to take my wife for Valentine’s Day seriously. In the end, I decided on Absinthe in Boat Quay, and I am glad I chose well.

To start we decided to have a few appetizers. We decided on the Buffalo Mozarella, the Lobster Bisque and the Escargot. My wife, although not a big eater, knows good food. When she decided that we needed three appetisers I was a bit apprehensive. But after having seen them served to other tables, we just had to try them. We are glad we did.

I am a huge fan of all things Buffalo Mozzarella, so this dish was a no brainer. They give a generous helping that is solid on the outside but has a soft gooey texture on the inside. Sprinkle a little bit of the olive oil and you have a small slice of heaven.

While I love the Buffalo Mozzarella, the highlight of the whole meal was actually the Escargots. They were quite large and baked in a very tasty olive oil and garlic base which just needed to be soaked up with bread. This dish is a must try for anyone goes there.

Now were a little disappointed with the Lobster Bisque. I have tried it before quite some time ago, and prefer the previous recipe. It was too salty and lacked the taste of lobster that it once had. We found it very disappointing. A plus point for service though was that who ever prepared it took the time to realize we were sharing it, and placed it in two separate bowls.

I have always said that good service can make up for a bad dish and this was a perfect example. While we didn’t mind sharing the same bowl, it was nice that the person who prepared it (and the waiter for letting them know) took the time to notice we were sharing and split it for us. This kind of service isn’t the norm in most high end restaurants so it was quite refreshing.

For mains, I had the Tenderloin and my wife had the cod. If you have dinner here, I have to recommend the beef tenderloin. It was cooked beautifully. I asked for a medium steak and that’s exactly what I got. I often find that steak is cooked very close to the desired doneness but never quite perfect.

This steak was definitely perfectly cooked on the inside with a nice crunchy layer on the outside. Unfortunately, the cut I was given had way to much fat for my liking and I felt I only received a half portion. The whole left side was nothing but fat. This may be a personal preference but I would have liked a piece that had more meat.

The cod was very well prepared as well and super soft – it flaked off with the touch of the fork. Now while both these dishes were very well prepared we did have one issue, which seemed to be the reoccurring theme of the night… they were both overly salty.

Maybe there was a new sous chef or assistant putting on the finishing touches to the food or maybe it was Valentine’s day and they were really busy, but it really took a lot away from the meal.

During our meal we sampled a glass of wine. While their wine list is not overly extensive, the staff was very helpful when reccomending a nice glass. Our waiter was very attentive and paid attention to our individual table (like having them split our Lobster Bisque). Good (or bad) service, can really change the outcome of a dining experience.

With that said, when I asked to speak to the manager, to speak about the food, he never came to address our table. If the manager would have come over we could have let them know the food was a bit too salty and it could have been an easy fix or a way to improve themselves. Unfortunately, all we received was his card and a smile from the waiter, although we could see the manager standing a few feet away unoccupied.

That’s why I love when reviews are written about a place the reviewer is not invited to but simply chooses to dine at. There’s no special treatment and they are treated just like everyone else.

All in all, Absinthe is a great French restaurant with good staff. Whether your going out for a romantic dinner, or just on the mood for good food, Absinthe gets the Juan Pablo stamp of approval.