601 King St
Newtown, NSW 2042
Pistou bills itself as a rustic deli-but-also-restaurant, and that pretty much sums the entire place up (though I’d argue it also has some great wine bar vibes). The comfy, homely space is choc-a-bloc with produce and wine, and their cheese and charcuterie cabinet is… a lot. It’s awful tempting just to get a plate of 6 cheeses and meats and make a meal of it, but some consideration must be given to the daily specials, which augments the menu of share plates and snacks. The service is also phenomenal, with upbeat staff that don’t miss a single trick, all whilst being charming to boot. Two lovely hours slipped by before I even noticed it had started getting dark outside.
Rating: 14/20 – rustic city boob.
Must-order: the wonderful cheese and charcuterie platters.
Good to know: don’t bother ordering bread; they will give you plenty if your dish calls for it.
There’s a lot of choice in the cheese and charcuterie department; so much that they’ll even make up a chef’s selection of six varieties that could easily be a meal for two. But we stuck with the sweet yet nutty Comte ($21), and the special of Truffle & Squid Ink Salami ($20) with its hypnotic pattern, and a gentle earthiness to accompany the rich porky flavour. Extra props to the condiments; it’s the absolute worst when a grazing platter isn’t built properly, but this has a great variety of house-made breads, crackers, and accompaniments that keeps each bite interesting. Special shoutout to the fennel-flavoured pickles.
The Squid, Confit Chilli & Garlic, Mallorquina ($26) is a hearty, peasant styled stew served on a thick trencher of sourdough, the spreadable Spanish chorizo and spices melting together to make for a beguilingly deep and smoky sauce. And the squid? Most tender I’ve ever had.
I didn’t realise until after I had ordered it that the Mussels Poulette, Mallorquina ($31) was cooked in a similar sauce to the squid, but no matter – it really is a very delicious sauce. This time around, the sausage is melted into a cream base that makes for a deliciously rich and meaty counterpart to the sweet, plump mussels. Make sure you mop the remainder up with some sourdough, which they are very generous with here.
To round things out was a lovely bit of Duck Breast, Cauliflower, Currant & Pine Nut Salsa ($38), which was cooked to juicy pink perfection, and full of festive flavours.