This year, it was my turn to plan what The Boy and I were going to do for Valentine's Day. Having planned a very romantical excursion to The Liverpool Philharmonic to watch the Valentine's Day concert there, I thought that after we had seen the performance, we could jump a taxi home and just fix something to eat there.
But on a whim, after we left the concert, we decided to just pop our heads in to Bistro Jacques to see if they happened to have a free table. I didn't hod out much hope. It was about 10pm on one of the busiest nights of the year. There was not a chance a table would be free for us.
To my delight, a table had just become free....And the kitchen was still open. This was our lucky night. After being shown to a corner table, and handed our menus, my tummy did a little somersault in delight.
I have never been to Bistro Jacques before. I have visited Bistro Franc with The Boy and my mother and father-in-law, and I wasn't disappointed then. But I was intrigued to see how Bistro Jacques was in comparison.
The atmosphere in the restaurant already surpassed that of Bistro Franc. The restaurant seems much more intimate a setting, with French-themed décor adorning the walls lit with low-lighting. The intimacy added additional romance to the evening, and made it seem like you really could be sitting in a Parisian restaurant on a magical, romance-filled evening.
Bistro Jacques offered a Valentine's Day 3 course meal with a complementary glass of fizz. And this suited us well. Having only really eaten rubbish during the day, we were ready to sample something hearty and nutritious, and the menu offered plenty of choice.
For starters, I opted for toasted brioche. The Boy went for the pigeon breast. Neither of us could find fault with our choices. My brioche was soft and delicious, neither too small nor overbearing. The chive hollandaise sauce complemented the combination of mushrooms and prosciutto to perfection. It was easily one of the most beautiful starters I have ever had. It wasn't too heavy, and really got my appetite going ready for the rest of the courses.
The Boy's pigeon was tender and succulent. I, having never eaten pigeon before, was pleasantly surprised when I sampled a piece. The Boy must have been impressed too because he polished off the plate in next to no time. Similar to my choice, the portion size was perfect for a starter, and got us both even more excited for our mains.
For our main, we could not have chosen two dishes more opposite in direction. The Boy chose the beef bouguignon, and I, the salmon. Looking back, the dishes we chose could not have been more perfect for us. It makes me laugh because if you had asked us to pick for each other, these would have been our first choices.
I love salmon. Boyfriend can be a little funny with fish so we rarely have it in the house. Salmon is my little treat to myself from time to time and this makes me a little picky about the way it's cooked. But I needn't have had reason to worry. The salmon was thick and meaty and gorgeous. The skin was crispy and delicious, and the ratatouille, which I confess I had been a bit nervous about, was a lovely, and unusual accompaniment, and one that I never thought would have worked. But it did. The fish herb pesto really hit the spot and really highlighted the flavour in the salmon. Ohh...just thinking back to how yummy it was my tummy is starting to rumble.
The beef bouguignon was Boyfriend's first try of the dish. It came presented beautiful, in a rustic pot atop a wooden board. The pot was filled right up to the top and fit to burst with vegetables and pieces of beef. I'm not really a fan of beef unless it is minced and in a meatball or burger patty, but I did try a little piece. It was buttery, tender, and nearly melted away in my mouth. The gratin daupinois was creamy and rich, but at the same time a lot lighter than other potato-ey alternatives.
And the wine.. Oh my goodness I just have to mention the wine. Even though I had salmon, the bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape we ordered was the perfect choice. It was deep, and rich, and spicy and beautiful, leaving a subtle after-taste in your mouth that I can only describe as"chocolatey" (it probably isn't chocolatey at all, but there is a hint of sweetness there that cuts through the spiciness.)
|That's not mess on the table....it's passion!|
By the time dessert came around I was starting to feel a little bit full. My belt had to be undone two whole notches! But it was all so worth it. I decided to take a risk and ordered bread and butter pudding (which I'd never had before.) The Boy was more traditional and ordered the cheeseboard.
My bread and butter pudding was yummy. My photo doesn't do it justice, because as soon as it came out I tucked in straight away and forgot all about documenting the experience! I really don't know how to describe the flavour to you, but just trust me when I say that it was delicious, soft, and very, very more-ish. If you take a trip to Bistro Jacques and it is on the board as a dessert, definitely give it a go. If you're sweet-toothed like me you won't be disappointed.
Boyfriend's cheeseboard offered a range of different cheeses to sample, with accompanying crackers, celery, butter and chutney. He enjoyed it very much, especially coupled with some sips from his glass of Chateauneuf. I'm definitely more of a sweets person at dinner, but if you aren't really in the mood for pud or want something to share, then the cheeseboard would be perfect.
There was something really exciting and magical eating so late. It made us feel very French indeed and we sat back and reminisced about our little Parisian getaway in the summer, and the night we got engaged. We left the restaurant feeling comfortably and jolly. I had one of the best dining experiences at Bistro Jacques, and I can't wait to return to sample more of the menu!
For more information about Bistro Jacques, and to peruse the menu, head to: