Ah, the neighbourhood bistro. What a treat it is to take a night out midweek, grab that favourite bottle from the cellar (BYO Tue/Wed), get into a bit of duck, maybe a couple of oysters too, and walk away feeling like a born-and-bred Parisian. Not that Booth Street Bistro a carbon-copy French diner - though the charming renovated shopfront, banquette booths and Euro-accented floor staff does project a certain Francophile flair. This is not just another drop-in for Annandale's increasingly gentrified populace.
Little touches are key. House-made butter accompanies crusty bread on arrival. An affordably priced wine list embraces food-friendly Australian styles but also leans towards the interesting gear from France. And the menu doesn't disappoint either. Be surprised by the complexity and pleasure that a MacLeay Valley rabbit and foie gras terrine ($16) delivers. Wonderfully gamy, coarse and rich, the terrine is lifted with the gentle spice of a spongy ginger cake and sweetened with carrot puree. Rustic fare features on the seasonally changing menu. Plump seared scallops with capsicum caramel ($16) are briny and sweet but given complexity when coupled with gravelly, sautéed black pudding and tiny knolls of veal sweet breads. And of course there is a steak frites: a 120-day Diamantina scotch fillet ($28) hanging out with some café de Paris butter, creamed spinach and crunchy fries. It's a perfect foil for red wines like the savoury and spicy Domain de la Chevalerie Bourgueil ‘Galichets' 2008 ($59) – a well-priced Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley.
Another coup from the kitchen is the Kurobuta Berkshire pork belly ($28). Twice cooked, the belly yields easily to the knife and is given various textures from apple, pumpkin and broccoli polonaise. Still conscious? The desserts will reel you in. While lemon meringue pie with mojito sorbet ($14) feels a little jangly and adjacent to the vibe of the bistro, a chocolate assiette ($14), which runs from ice cream to fondant to parfait, is a delight – just don't be afraid to share.
Booth Street has charm in spades. The world would be a better place with one of these bistros in every neighbourhood.