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Bar-A-Thym - 1st Nov 2019

Last week, I visited Bar-A-Thym located at Gemmill Lane for the first time. Some people would have gasped hearing that but I guess it's better late than never! 

When I sat down, I noticed a French chef and many French people dining there for lunch. 

Always a good sign.


We first got a serving of bread with duck rillettes which is served with some cornichons. The warm crusty bread provided the perfect base for spreading the rillettes, masking any oiliness  not that the moist rillettes was that oily to begin with. The not-overly-salty rillettes had a good amount of duck meat flavour but was different to the Huber’s one, with less aromatics such as carrot being used. 

The crabmeat salad I had for my appetiser was a winner. Moist and sweet crabmeat was paired well with avocado while the granny smith apples provided some texture and tartness to the dish. This subtle light appetiser was a big contrast to the pan-seared foie gras my colleague ordered. 


Two decent size pieces of fatty duck liver was seared with a nice brown crust, the insides still moist and sweet. Small savoury pancakes known as blinis were served with it, almost encouraging one to have a foie gras sandwich. I ate both together to test my theory and it was a great decision as the blinis soaked up the flavour and provided some chew, allowing me more time to appreciate the flavour.

For the mains, I had the grass-fed Wagyu bavette. Bavette is a popular bistro steak in France and the English name for the cut used for this steak is the flap meat. It has a texture like a skirt steak with thick coarse meat fibres. However when cooked medium-rare like what I ordered, it is sufficiently tender while providing all the beefiness to satisfy any carnivore. The accompanying buttery mash is thick, almost slightly sticky, and served with onion confit. The small serving of salad is well-tossed with balsamic dressing.


My colleague, to my surprise, ordered the beef tartare as a main dish. Not many people I know would do so, often happy enough with an entrée size of raw beef. I’m glad she did as the beef tartare here is very different to anything I have tried. 

Angus beef rump is hand-cut to just the right size and mixed with homemade kimchi. Yes, you heard me right, kimchi. In fact you will see a big glass jar of it fermenting on the kitchen table top. The beef and kimchi are mixed with some mayonnaise, lime zest and raw onions. The result is a fresh and tart-tasting beef tartare with crunchy cabbage that makes one think one's not eating raw beef, in a good way. The icing on the cake is the dried and grated egg yolk on the top which gave it a boost of savouriness and richness. I also need to point out that the accompanying chips here are amazing, great flavour and texture even when eaten cold.

After the meal, I regretted not coming here sooner. At $38 for a three-course lunch menu, it is well-priced and, as I experienced, well-executed. 

If only they had more parking in the area so that it would be more convenient for me to taste the other favourites!



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