Bistrot Pierre, Weston-super-Mare
Over the half term, the Muddies and I made a deal. We would all go to Weston-super-Mare and I would endure an hour of hell amongst the amusements on the pier if we all went for a bracing walk on the flat, flat sands. I didn’t know of any good places to eat round in Weston (if you do, let me know!) but then I discovered the newly opened Bistrot Pierre. Although it’s a chain, it serves up classics like steak-frites, beef bourguignon, crème brûlée and seasonal provincial French dishes and I thought the Muddies would love it.
The bistro is right on the seafront in a rotunda literally a seashell’s throw away from the beach and the Grand Pier.
Downstairs is given over to a swanky looking bar/lounge area, where you can have a cocktail, coffee or something to eat (there’s a bar menu). Stairs lead up to the dining room on the first floor.
It’s an impressive space, dominated by a big chandelier and a sumptuous, aubergine velvety banquette with tables set for two, with larger tables spreading out towards the windows running all along one side which overlook the beach. French posters and nice lamps help create le atmos francais.
We grabbed a seat by the sweep of window overlooking the pier and the beach. On a warm day, the windows slide open and you can sit outside on the balcony. But on this November lunchtime, the Muddies loved watching the seagulls dive bombing the beach and the windswept owners walking their dogs from inside.
The Muddies consider themselves too old for the children’s menus these days (shame because it did include croque monsieurs, which they love) and they already had their beady eyes on the steak on the main menu. The lunch is fixed price for one, two or three courses and every day there are chef’s specials. Starving (they’d only had a full breakfast an hour before, the poor dears) they ordered starters and mains – and some appetisers.
So here are the appetisers: marinated olives, sliced cured French sausage, and a red pepper and anchovy tapenade. All quickly gobbled up, although cornichons are a favourite in our house and there weren’t enough!
Starters: grilled sardines, and mushrooms and bacon on brioche bread for the Muddies; chicken liver pate for me.
Portions were generous and tasty although the juices from the mushrooms made the brioche a little too soggy for one of the Muddies. For mains, both boys went straight for that French classic, the steak-frites. They were impressed by the size of the steaks (huge) but even more impressed by the the size of the steak knives (gargantuan). So impressed in fact that they asked me to take photos of them with the knives. But enough of the Muddies’ serial killer tendencies, onto the steaks. They were juicy, tender and full of flavour (I nabbed some, so I know) and came with a red wine butter that they found a little rich so perhaps would have been better served on the side? The frites were really excellent.
I had seared mullet sitting on a bed of ratatouille, which came with a choice of salad or roasted veg. All very good. There’s baguette and butter on the table but while the butter is authentic (Lescure), the bread not so much.
The wine is predominantly but not exclusively French but the Muddies and I were on the wagon so we kept to soft. The place was pretty full but the service was very good: our waitress was friendly, the food and drinks came quickly and plates were cleared away efficiently. Sadly no one had any room for dessert (even the aforementioned crème brûlée) so I girded my loins to enter the gates of hell and we set off into the cold, all happy and warm inside.
Bistrot Pierre is open seven days a week. Breakfast Sat & Sun 9am-11.30am. Lunch Mon-Fri 12pm-3pm; Sat & Sun 12pm-4pm. Dinner Mon-Thurs 5pm-10pm; Fri & Sat 5pm-11pm. Sun 5pm-10pm. Bar food Mon-Thurs 12pm-7pm. Fri, Sat & Sun 12pm-6pm. Bank holidays as Sunday opening hours.
Good for: anyone wanting a good value lunch on a day out in in Weston with or without the kids, theatre goers (the Playhouse Theatre’s in town and they have an early evening set menu). Couples might want to get cosy on the banquette but this place is also good for a large group of friends or rellies – there are lots of large tables.
Not for: real foodies; anyone who prefers a beautiful location in which to enjoy their meal, though the bistro itself is attractive.
£££: Very good value, especially the prixe fixe lunch menu: one course £9.50; two £10.95; and three courses, at an incredible £12.50. The children’s menu for £6.50 includes a main, dessert and drink. Before 6.45 pm the two-course pre-theatre menu is £14.95. In the evenings, the a la carte has starters from £4.50; mains £9.95-£18.95; desserts from £4.95. Each month there are two and three-course dinner and wine set menus for £22.95/£27.95.
Bistrot Pierre, Princess Royal Square, Beach Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1AT. Tel 01934 643972. bistropierre.co.uk