I HAD long been a fan of Sunday morning breakfasts at the Famous Blue Moon cafe, on The Groves, Chester.

With its 1950s retro theme, the hearty food, the great service and the riverside setting, the cafe had been my choice du jour for reading the paper and watching the world go by, whatever the time of year.

So when I heard its owners had opened the quaint cafe up into an adults-only French bistro in the evenings, I was eager to see how this much-loved Chester haunt would make the transition into evening dining.

From the outset my friend and I were welcomed in the warm friendly atmosphere with a song. It just so happened we arrived on the night a group of friends were celebrating a birthday and singing along to folk tunes.

As we sat at our table, topped with blue gingham and a old glass bottle containing wild flowers, we were passed the menu for the evening, which informed us that a starter and main cost £15.95.

With a choice of genuine French classics, Bistro Blue offers a great selection of seafood for both starter and main courses and my friend and I were tempted by the soft-shell crab with pilaf rice and lemon mayonnaise (£1.50 supplement) and the whitebait.

As a pescatarian and my companion a keen veggie-lover herself, we opted for fresh filleted sardines with lime dressed bulgar wheat, wild mushroom risotto and a carpaccio of beetroot and goat's cheese with beetroot reduction and pine-nuts to share. All came fresh, well seasoned and packed with flavour – the risotto was especially nice.

As we sipped Italian pinot grigio and let our starters digest, my friend and I were intrigued by the 50s magazine cuttings on the walls depicting Hollywood film stars and iconic musicians and the juke box which had been made redundant for the evening in place of soft French music.

Coq au vin, a classic French chicken dish, caught my companion’s eye, but with such a rich selection of market fresh fish, neither of us could resist.

I was overwhelmingly impressed with my choice of pan fried red mullet which came with sauce vierge, new potatoes and steaming fresh veg. The infusion of flavours was perfect – fresh and fragrant and excellently proportioned.

With beef sirloin, pork loin steak Bistro Blue’s own version of fish and chips (goujons of cod and salmon) put to one side for the evening, my friend chose pan fried cod fillet served with a light lobster bisque and mussels. She said her tastebuds had been ignited by the creamy rich flavours of the sauce alongside the succulent fish.

There was a great desert selection, but we finished the evening with liquor
coffee and chocolates – the perfect end to a Parisian inspired bistro dinner.
Bistro Blue had ambience and atmosphere in abundance but its food had the flavours and taste to match.

Bistro Blue at the famous Blue Moon, The Groves, Chester.
Tel: 01244 322481 or 07803609922