Kay Taylor enjoys a taste of france in the comfort of her hometown
When somebody says ‘French food’, it brings up images of snails and frog’s legs in my mind.
On the other hand, there’s also French bread, French toast, and French onion soup, so it’s not all bad.
It’s fair to say I didn’t really know what to expect from my first visit to a French bistro based in England though.
The new restaurant opened on Chapel Brow in Leyland a few weeks ago, and is run by the people behind The Vine Bar in Eccleston and Bistro French in Preston.
It’s called The Original Bistro French, and replaced a Mediterranean eatery which closed.
The space has been decorated in a modern, minimalist way, with red walls and cafe-style tables dotted around the room.
It’s spacious yet homely, with large candles and French posters on the painted walls.
But you don’t eat out for the decor - you eat out for the food, and I was interested to see what the chef had to offer.
There was a set menu which came in at around £12 for three courses, which had a good variety of meals to choose from, and came complete with some wine for the table.
But my friend and I opted for the à la carte menu instead - we were at a French bistro after all - which translates to ‘according to the menu’ in English.
I enjoyed my pâté on toast with salad (£3.95), although it was a little meal in itself, and I didn’t finish it all. The pâté was smooth and tasty, and the salad dressing nice and strong.
My friend isn’t a massive eater, so she had a bowl of marinated olives (£2.85) to start with.
For my main course, I pushed the boat out and ordered a beef stroganoff in a creamy sauce, cooked with mushrooms and onions, served with rice (£12.80).
The presentation was a nice touch, with the rice in a perfect circle at the side of the beef and sauce, and the food itself was delicious.
The sauce was very creamy, which I don’t think would be to everybody’s taste, but I enjoyed it, and the beef was cooked really well.
We’d had to wait quite a while in between our starters and mains (I’d say about 20 minutes), but we had a lot of news to catch up on, and you could tell that the food had been made from scratch when it arrived, so it was worth it.
My friend had chicken in a tomato and red wine Bordelaise sauce (a classic French sauce named after the country’s Bordeaux region), with mashed potatoes (£8.95).
Her sauce wasn’t as creamy as mine, which she was happy about, and she finished the lot.
We were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was, and even though the restaurant wasn’t very busy on the Thursday night we ate there, I think it’ll become more popular as people hear about how good it is.
As a bonus, the service was excellent, with the waitress being very attentive and making sure we had everything we wanted as she kept our drink glasses full.
The bill didn’t spoil the evening either, with the total coming in at around £30, including soft drinks.
There’s a great-looking bar at the entrance of the restaurant with a large choice of wines, spirits and beers, and there’s also a dessert menu for those with a sweet tooth.
Admittedly, we were both too full to even contemplate a pudding, and we were driving home so we couldn’t have anything stronger to drink than lemonade.
But we’ve vowed to return on a Friday or Saturday night when the place is busier and more lively, to really make a good night of it.
And you’ll be pleased to know, there wasn’t a snail or frog leg in sight.
NAME: The Original Bistro French
ADDRESS: 23 Chapel Brow, Leyland
DISABLED ACCESS: There are two small steps leading to the main area of the restaurant
CONTACT DETAILS: 01772 621621