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  • Caitlin Hogan

We Celebrate Romain Bapst’s Return From France at Lutèce Bistro's Meet the Maker Dinner Series

Having recently returned from France, Lutèce Bistro’s owner and Head Chef, Romain Bapst, is back in the kitchen producing fine French dishes inspired by those sampled while back in his homeland. Renowned French Chef’s Christophe Bacquiè, Edouard Loubet, Jacques Chibois and Jean-Georges Klein were four key influences for the line-up of dishes served at this dinner series. This year also marks Romain's 45th year as a chef, and just to give you an idea of his experience and French culinary know-how, the menu he devised for this dinner series was created after being given the list of featured Soumah wines.

Featured wine makers, Soumah are a smaller winery whose reputation for producing fine Pinot Noirs is ever growing. The line-up of paired wines included a Wild Savagnin (served on arrival), two Pinot Noirs, two Chardonnays and a Brachetto Frizzante. Throughout Summer, the Yarra Valley is known for it’s temperate daytime weather and brisk nights with average overnight temperatures falling to eleven degrees. These cooler temperatures are ideal for producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals.

Our entrée of snapper Carpaccio and fried baby octopus was served with a zesty, creamy textured egg based sauce, lemon sabayo. This dish, inspired by Chef Christophe Bacquié, was paired with an oaky 2015 Soumah Hexham Chardonnay. Following on from the snapper Carpaccio was another seafood dish and perfect pairing for Soumah’s 2011 Hexham Chardonnay. The offering comprised of Yamba prawn served with almond milk blancmange served in a crustacean jus. The crustacean jus took me back to when I tried Romain’s one and only sand crab lasagne, which is served in a creamy crustacean sauce. May we quickly note, this sand crab lasagne is a dish to put on your bucket list. Now back to the blancmange. For those of you thinking about Googling blancmange, I’ll save you the hassle. This creamy, jelly textured pudding is traditionally made on cream or milk and is then thickened or set using cornflour, though in modern days, gelling agents like gelatine are being used. Typically blancmange is served as a dessert, but tonight’s rendition was created as a savoury pudding.

Our third course, a highlight from the dinner, was a duck and foie gras pie. The rich flavours of duck and foi gras were bound in flaky pastry and were accompanied by a cherry and red wine jus. On Lutèce’s current à la carte menu, you’ll find a variation of this pie that substitutes duck for quail and truffle. This dish was paired with a 2011 Soumah Hexham Pinot Noir. Moving onto the fourth course, we had yet another dish influenced by Chef Christophe Bacquié: roasted veal with zucchini, pan-fried gnocchi, anchovy paste and roasted white onions. This dish was paired with a 2015 Soumah Equilibrio Hexham Pinot Noir, driven by strong savoury cherry fruit flavours with balanced acidity.

To complete our Meet the Maker Dinner, this raspberry and coconut vacherin was plated before us. To cut through the sweetness of the ice cream and meringue, a lime gel accompanied the dessert. A perfectly light and zesty dish to pay homage to Spring. Matched with this final course was a 2015 Brachetto Frizzante, a sparkling dessert varietal with flavours of rosewater and strawberry. You can see how these flavours paired perfectly with the raspberry and coconut dessert.

This dinner series included five courses with matching wines for $98 per person. If you’re keen to broaden your knowledge on wine or French cuisine this is a great opportunity where you have the freedom to fire as many questions as you can at winemakers or Chef Romain Bapst. Click here for more information on Lutèce Bistro’s events or Soumah Wines.

Lutèce Bistro and Wine Bar

1/60 Macgregor Terrace, Bardon

(07) 3161 1858

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