You would struggle to find a more tranquil, rural setting to dine so close to Alexandra’s town centre. While the rustic country surrounds have not altered with backdrops of Alexandra’s craggy hills and views of the ‘‘Shaky Bridge’’ which provides access to the restaurant, a lot of change has happened. French music now plays to customers sitting at tables spread around the expansive outdoor dining area. The cafe has also changed its name to Shaky Bridge French Bistro to reflect the change of ownership. A French couple moved from Queenstown to Alexandra in November to take over the business and bring French dining to Central Otago.
marinated olives, olive tapenade and aubergine caviar ($10) Bruschetta ($12) and ‘‘Plateau de Charcuterie’’ - a deli selection ($24). It took me a while to decide but the aubergine caviar won me over and I wasn’t disappointed. The serving size was generous, and tasted delicious.
For main I chose the Duck Leg Confit for $25. It was described as ‘‘classic bistro fare’’ and was served with sauteed potatoes and a bundle of green beans. Generally, I don’t order duck, but the menu looked so good I decided to indulge. When the plate came out, the duck fell off the bone. It was juicy, full of flavour and delivered above expectations. The portion size was generous, particularly for the price.
My friend ordered a Piece du Boucher - Ribeye Steak ‘‘Maitre d’hotel’’ accompanied with French fries, mesclun for $28 and an extra $2 to add Roqufort Sauce. If that duck dish had not have been so good, I would have had food envy. My friend said the steak was cooked to perfection...’’exactly as requested’’ and came with a good proportion of sides.
As well as a diverse menu, I also liked the added touch of the specials’ blackboard. The specials included a salmon ‘‘meuniere’’ with mashed potatoes and chives ($24); Bruschetta paysanne with