Le Truc | French | Southside
Out of the ashes of Chez Jules came a new and quite different kind of restaurant. Le Truc is located in Birmingham’s Southside district, part of the Arcadian complex. Despite its position in the midst of Chinatown, this new venue is assertively, flamboyantly and even a little mockingly, Frenchified.
[by Ahmed Ahmed]
A visit to the restaurant’s tumblr website or a scroll through the team’s tweets is enough to give you an idea of the playful Gallic ethos that Le Truc is aiming for. I had an idea of what to expect before joining a friend there for Sunday lunch. And I wasn’t disappointed.
The decor can best be described as ‘francophile hipster.’
Elegant glass chandeliers cast a golden glow on the framed artwork and the tongue-in-cheek French-themed graffiti. The wackiest feature? A pink poodle head mounted on the wall in hunting lodge style.
The menu is a little more traditional. You’ll find the staples of French cuisine here – boeuf bourguignon, moules mariniere, coq au vin, merguez sausages…even duck a l’orange. But for those who would rather stay on this side of the culinary Channel, there is also a variety of more Anglo options – rump steak and chips, smoked salmon and of course the Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding. My guest plumped for this and found it delicious, although I thought the puds could have done with being a bit lighter. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
For starters, we ordered chicken liver parfait with toast, apple and pear chutney, and goat’s cheese, beetroot and pear. Both of these left us well satisfied.
The tangy chutney was perfection, and the stylishly presented pear and cheese added a touch of class to a Sunday afternoon dinner, as well as being an excellent combination.
My main course was roast sea bream, which came with dauphinoise potatoes and broccoli. When the mains arrived I had that sinking feeling you get when your companion’s dish is more well-stocked than yours – why didn’t I order that?! But I was soon forced to eat my words. The quality more than made up for the portion size. The fish had a wonderfully satisfying texture and the flavours were mouth-watering.
Dessert was inevitable. When in France… So I opted for the familiar apple and blackberry crumble, while my friend finished with a plate of profiteroles. But for me the French fairy tale faltered – a fan of crumbles, I found my pudding a bit under par. The custard was very runny, as was the fruit filling. Luckily for my guest, there were no complaints with the profiteroles, which I ended up sharing as well!
True to its French aspirations, Le Truc boasts a wine list that hails from various French regions, including Bordeaux, Alsace, Anjou and Champagne. International options include Malbec (Argentina) and Rioja (you know that one!) among several others.
More interestingly, a list of frilly cocktails might take your fancy. Parisian Pimms? Champagne Bell? Lovers of decadent liquids will find plenty to play with, as cointreau, St. Germain and absinthe all feature as ingredients in the heady catalogue. There’s also an impressive range of French and Belgian beers on offer (and I don’t mean Stella Artois).
Foodwise, Le Truc sets an excellent standard for relaxed dining in the city, offering classic cuisine in a cosy and chic environment. Where I suspect it might have competition beat is its extra offering. The menu of quirky events and gatherings reflect the hip, young vibe of this new restaurant.
At any rate, it makes a fun alternative to Sunday at le pub.
Price: The Sunday menu offers two courses for £10.95. Otherwise, mains range from £5 - £15.
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