After going to see The Best Meal You Ever Ate at Victoria Fringe Festival, I could not resist or even hesitate: the desire to have French food set me on a course towards the Brasserie L’école, a small diner located next to Chinatown. As with most French restaurants, reserving in advance is recommended (especially over at the Matisse and Chez Michel) and this establishment is the only place where you can wait in line for a seat. It didn’t take long to get one and I was fine with being at the bar.
My appetite needed to be sated and this place serves one of the best and coolest crème brûlées in town. The custard is soft and silky; it always tastes perfect after a meal. I’ve been here before and always enjoyed the food. The prices are the only reason why I don’t make this destination a regular haunt. My limited budget had me wondering if I should go for the beef (a lower-priced burger) or head to the sea for some nicely seared albacore tuna.
The chard leaves made for a great complement with the fish and the cherry tomatoes left a delectable kiss of flavour after every bite. There were smaller chunks of tuna marinated with spice. It was tossed with chili oil and although I thought the flavour would be strong, it was very mild. Unlike the sauce used in maki rolls to turn a tuna or salmon roll spicy, the oil was less intense. Maybe the people preparing these Japanese rolls will have to take a cue from the Brasserie. I enjoyed how the mild heat lingered.
Everything that’s exemplary about this style of cuisine delighted my olfactory nodes as I was still writing my review of the play. Nearly every night at the Brasserie is busy and I don’t think I’ve seen this place quiet. Minor hiccups occurred at service level; I didn’t mind waiting for my drink to arrive with my meal than served too early. Complementary bread helped keep my tummy from growling.
I think that when my birthday rolls around this month, I’ll return for a proper three course meal like in what the Fringe play offered. The duck confit kept quacking at me, just begging me to order it. I skipped the appetizer because I could not decide between the chicken liver mousse and onion soup at the time. If I wanted something from the play’s menu, I’d have to look elsewhere for chestnut mousse and truffle flavoured potato scallions — perhaps breaking the bank at the same time.
I wanted to keep the dining expenses during Fringe week low. The average cost of this meal is nearly equal to my real age and I refuse to acknowledge that fact. In what I paid, yes, I can remain young at heart and that’s all I need to end my night on a haute note.
4½ Blokes out of 5