Thursday, October 05, 2006

Maitre Karl, High Street, Willoughby

Maitre Karl, High Street, Willoughby
Thursday 5 October, 2006

My foodie friend had raved about this place. We must go! Tonight I was in for French/ Euro cuisine and this place is an absolute find. I will be highly recommending it to everyone within earshot over the next few days.

As Simon Thomsen, SMH reviewer stated earlier this year, Maitre Karl is,

'a great local bistro serving honest, reliable French classics, with service that makes you feel like part of the family. Tarte flambee is a must.'

High St Willoughly is a quite place in the evening. Maitre Karl is located opposite the Church and a small group of shops. The atmosphere would be far more lively during the day. At night, the benefit is the parking - it's in abundance.

Arriving at Maitre Karl's is like walking into a friends living room, as soon as the door opens one of the staff mosy over and greet you warmly as if they have been expecting you all night. If it is Karl himself you can look forward to hearing his surprisingly loud voice. We were greeted by Karl and he made us feel very welcome. He offered us a choice of tables and we opted to sit out in the enclosed conservatory.

Our waitress was absolutely lovely, firstly her french accent was incredibly engaging and made us feel like we were in France. She walked us through the offerings and specials and made the entree tarte flambee sound so good, we just had to order it. As the menu states,

'Tarte Flambee originates from Alsace , France . Alsace is a region located at the German border. Tarte Flambee has a thinly rolled yeast free base spread with flavoursome fromage blanc (fresh cheese) and scattered with various ingredients.'

Our entree special was the tarte flambee topped with Black Forest ham, pickles, and mustard. To say it was good is an understatement. The base was so light, you really have to wonder how they get it so thin. It came to the table on a wooden chopping block and our waitress sliced it at the table.

For main I decided to go hard and succumb to their dinner special - pork knuckle on a bed of potato mash and sour kraut. My dinner buddy ordered the Oven roasted duck, sweet potato galette, flamed grapes, port wine jus. We devoured our meals, they were sensational. The pork just fell off the bone and was so tender and delicious. The sour kraut was actually OK, I'm not typically a fan but this was really good.

During dinner Karl walked the floor chatting to each table, asking for comments/ feedback and basically endearing himself to everyone. It was great to watch and made me realise how important it is ensure repeat business. I had already decided I was going to return after 30 mins at Maitre Karl.

We perused the dessert menu and learnt their desserspecialtyty was savoury tarte flambee - this we had to try. We both ordered the Flamed apple cinnamon Tarte Flambee with calvados. I loved it and well priced for a local bistro - mains under $30 and desserts under $10.

I can guarantee I will return within a month.

Maitre Karl - 197 High Street, Willoughby - T: 9958 1110


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