Taking a large derelict building on the edge of the Birmingham canal at Gas Street Basin, the restaurant, Bistrot Pierre, opened earlier in 2016 offering what they describe on their website as 'great value French cooking and seasonal menus', which seemed like a good goal worth checking out.
Bistrot Pierre is part of a chain of French eateries. Their other local branch is in Stratford-upon-Avon, but the setting here in Birmingham is unique. The restaurant, accessed directly from the canal path or Gas Street Birmingham, is a listed building, that has been gutted and reconfigured, with what I'd describe as a glass box extension added, in direct contrast to the aged Georgian building with tall sash windows. It does not sound sympathetic. I think it's a statement that works. It embraces the old and new exteriors. And of course, the glass addition adds more opportunity to view the canal when dining.
Inside the building's existing smaller rooms and new additions offer plenty of diversity for diners, high ceilings, low ceilings, nooks, views of the canal or Street, again embracing the building's architecture. They've fireplaces, aged mirrors and chandeliers, then you walk into more minimalist interiors. They've ticked the box for atmosphere.
The food. Choosing a table upstairs in the glass box extension, we ordered, liberally, keen to try all appetite whetted by warm sliced baguettes with butter and picking at cheese, chorizo, pate, olives. The highlights were many. A fishy stew particularly hit the spot, with side of French classic, dauphinoise potatoes, rich and steaming served in a hot pan, mopped up with more bread. Yes explore the wine menu; I had a glass of red, letting the waiter choose.
Dessert was a selection of mini desserts from their menu offering. Perfect to share, good to stop you eyeing someone else's dessert and wishing you'd chosen that. Check out the picture and you'll want to try.
We we're off grid on the menu, but they've set meal options that are much more reasonable. Our no holds barred ordering, good service, unhurried, with Birmingham urban views was worth every penny of about £70 for us 2. Bistrot Pierre felt like a treat in a new corner of France, Birmingham. Perfect to walk to from Brindleyplace or The Mailbox.