Restaurant Hubert opened not too long ago for it still to be classified as a “newish” restaurant in my books, and the vicinity of it to work meant that it was my first choice for an after work dinner on a Thursday night. The restaurant takes reservations for six or more people, and keeps walk-in spaces for groups of five and under. I came in around 5:20pm on a Thursday night, and descended the winding staircase down to the restaurant. The restaurant was dimly lit, and gave off an ambience that felt genuinely and classically French.
A staff member greeted me when I reached the lower level of the restaurant and seated me at a booth, saying they would need the table back at 7:30, two hours from when I came in. After I was seated, a waitress gave me a copy of the drinks menu and gave me some time to peruse it before coming back to take my order.
A finally arrived at Hubert at 5:50pm, and we proceeded to order quickly. We decided on a few entrees, and mains to share, as well as a bottle of Chenin Blanc, which A had had the week prior, and said was divine. After ordering, the waitress served us a complimentary basket of bread with butter, which had a light texture and seemed to be freshly baked.
The Duck Parfait was the first of the entrees to be served. It was simply served on a plate, with a layer of aspic that A and I both shied away from, but ended up having a mild beef flavour that was quite pleasant. I’ve had an aspic with a store bought pate that was quite harsh and strong in flavour, and have always scooped out the aspic layer henceforth, but Hubert’s one didn’t have that effect on me. The pate had a perfectly smooth texture, and was rich and creamy to boot. A and I enjoyed it immensely, and finished it all, with extra bread given to us by the waitress.
The Malakoff is a circular mound of deep fried Gruyere cheese, with Dijon mustard and a dill pickle on the side. I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture of the melted cheese interior. The exterior was slightly crisp, with only a light sheen of oil that suggested it had been deep fried. The interior oozed creamy, melted cheese which was complemented by the tangy Dijon.
Cassoulet is a classic French dish, which, despite my self-proclaimed love of French cuisine, hadn’t yet had the opportunity to try. Hubert’s version adhered to French tradition, and was comprised of a confit duck leg, Toulouse sausage, and white bean casserole. The skin of the duck leg was crisp, salty and flavoursome. The sausage was tender, and the beans were hearty, with a soft texture suggesting they had been boiled. Overall, it was a really lovely, moreish dish that left us wanting more, despite also reaching for our glasses of water.
The Clams Normande was recommended to us by our waitress, and we were glad she made the recommendation when it was served. It comprised of pippies, sauce Normande, herbs and a side of French fries. The sauce Normande was a rich, buttery sauce with a hint of seafood flavour, and tarragon. It was simple in taste, but very pleasing. A and I enjoyed dipping the fries into the sauce, once we were done eating the pippies. The fries were very thin, and lightly seasoned. They were nice being dipped into the sauce, but I probably wouldn’t have eaten them on their own.
After we finished all our savoury courses, gluttons as we are, we requested the dessert menu.
Hubert has a very limited dessert menu, with only three options, which are a Creme Caramel, Melon En Surprise, or Religieuse Au Chocolat. The former and latter items were described as heavy, by the waitress, so A and I opted for the Melon En Surprise ($22).
And such a surprise it was. I can’t more accurately describe how I felt when the waitress served us this half melon, with a layer of what appeared to be cream. Coconut cream, to be exact. Underneath the layer of coconut cream, were scoops of finger lime, sorrel jelly, and perfectly round scoops of melon. A described the dish as “something you might find in an Asian restaurant”. Neither of us was very partial to the melon dessert, and I completely agreed with him that it was an unusual dessert to have on the menu for a traditional French restaurant. This was our least favourite dish of the night, and I would not recommend it in the slightest.
Despite the letdown that dessert was, A and I had a delicious meal, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the dim lit, elegant ambience. The service was friendly, yet professional, and we both agreed that we would return to try more dishes.
Address: 15 Bligh Street, Sydney
Opening hours: 5pm to 1am, Monday to Saturday