Monday, May 23, 2011

Ad Lib Bistro

'Ad lib' - to improvise and deliver without preparation. Improvised, impromptu.

Ad Lib the Bistro - perhaps somewhat misnamed, but in the best possible way.

Pymble is a bit further than I normally travel for a meal, but I had wanted to go to Ad Lib, and so to Upper North Shore I must go. Situated somewhere on the unending expanse that is the Pacific Highway, it is very easy to pass without noticing.

Upon our arrival, the bread and butter were already on the table. Enjoyable, but merely a prelude to what I had been eagerly anticipating.

Onion soup Gratinee ($12)

Onion soup.

For this I had been waiting, for this I had been craving for far too long. A core part of my childhood, when it was more popular, it is one of my 'comfort food' dishes, and Ad Lib's was just fabulous. Piping hot, it was exactly what I had hoped for. A deep, hearty broth not drowning in onions, the gratinee not taking up too much of the serving, this had me smiling and wanting another serve immediately. Deeply satisfying.

Fresh fillet Meuniere, almonds, green beans, beurre noisette ($32)

Another classic bistro dish. Simple, but based on the bite I 'requisitioned', light of touch and  really quite lovely. My dining companion who ordered it was happy with his choice.

Steak Tartare (small)

Instead of going for something heavy, I chose the small sized Steak Tartare ($19/ $29 for large) is pre-mixed with capers, cornichons and Tabasco with a raw quail egg yolk on top, a small lightly dressed green salad and toasted baguette as accompaniment. My choice of the small size turned out to be the right one, good though it was, I don't know if I'd have been able to finish the larger size.  Clean tasting yet gutsy, not too spicy and surprisingly filling, I appreciated the salad as a counterpoint and for balance. 

I did regret not ordering some sides, but I'm sure that I'll rectify that on a future occasion.

Selection of ice cream & sorbets ($3 per scoop)

Vanilla and coffee were the choices, served simply in a glass. The coaster was a bit unexpected.

Pear Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice cream

When I ordered this, I'd been expecting a slice rather than an individual serving. The mini tarte was not too sweet, beautifully caramelised and with a few decently sized chunks of pear, the pastry crisp and light.

Earl Grey tea to round off what had been the sort of bistro experience that you want to go back and have again the next day. And the day after that. I did wonder at why I'd waited so long to get there; but distance was one of the reasons, I just wish that it was a little closer. Classic bistro comfort food served in an elegant relaxed sunlight filled space. I'll be back.

Ad Lib Bistro Pymble
1049 Pacific Highway
NSW 2073
Phone: (02) 9988 0120


Ad Lib Bistro on Urbanspoon


5pandas said...

Can't wait to try it now, despite the distance. Another lovely post AP, thanks

initialjh said...

so near to me and yet so far I've not tried it! oh what an oversight! i shall try upon my return to "home"... :) thanks for a great write-up

The Sydney Tarts said...

@5pandas - you'd like it.

@initialjh - since it is near you, you have no excuse!