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Ron Mackenna: Cafe Breizh, Perth

I have been in this movie before.

Cafe Breizh offers a warm atmosphere and value for money, with wood-fired pizzas costing around 6.Photograph: Steve Cox

Out for lunch, all on my lonesome, I order for two and it provokes, ahem, curiosity. If I didn't double order there wouldn't be enough food to write about, or even make a decision on. Not that the French waitress knows that. She smiled, even laughed a bit when I ordered a pizza from the oven over there, but that's because I had already ordered a galette made from buckwheat imported all the way from France and she told me then, Monsieur, "The gallette is very filling!"

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Now I've just asked her for a rabbit roulade from the specials menu. A third main. She ain't smiling no more. Her brow has furrowed and a little gasp escaped from her lips when I confirmed I am indeed eating alone today. Does she suspect Monsieur has escaped from l'institution? Wait until she hears I'm having dessert too.

Of course, I'm not actually going to eat all of this stuff. Merely taste each dish in the manner of a complete professional and move on to the next one. But the ladies at the table by the window don't know that either. I can see their hats turning towards me each time another dish is placed on my small veneer-topped table.

Hats? Worn while eating lunch? Well, it is Perth. And that chef at the big white wood-fired oven facing the door? He glanced over here. I expect le big butterfly net is being quietly looked out by the kitchen staff in case table huit - that's moi - does a runner.

That galette, then? Like a crisp folded envelope. Browned on the hot plate, aerated attractively, cheese and ham melting inside, the aroma of wheat and butter rising from it. It's large too. A nibble, a small bite to taste, maybe a mouthful to get the full effect … no more. Damn, I just accidentally ate the whole thing. It was very moreish though. Like an upmarket toastie.

And this pizza that's louchely sprawling all over the table like it owns the place? Straight from the wood-fired oven and no, it doesn't taste of wood - it tastes of chewy, lovely dough. There's a clean, crisp base, the odd bubble from the super heat of the oven popping up on the charred rim. I'm not that keen on the tomato sugo they use in here though. Tastes a little too sweet. Artificial? Hard to tell. One more bite, though. Oops, I've finished it too.

Oh well, I'll just gaze around the restaurant at the nautical knick-knacks, the moody photos of French movie stars, the chalkboard with its daily specials including, today, a mackerel fillet a la planche with a salsa verde.

Starters include sweet potato soup, mussels, smoked beef salad. They didn't float my boat, hence the three mains. And I had worked my way through a basket of lovely salty freshly baked bread that tasted like it was made from the pizza dough.

To the rabbit, then. Any fool can make a fabulous meal by simply preparing the very best ingredients, though you would think there was some magic to it if you watch too much telly. What the French are geniuses at is making a fabulous meal out of the less promising things. Here rabbit is stuffed with a porky filling, rolled, seared and then served with a big, punchy, creamy mustard sauce and the whole thing tastes simply great - even though I have already eaten well.

OK, I'm ordering dessert despite the risk they may call the police. Lemon and raspberry tart with raspberry coulis. Ah, I hardly need touch it to know it's not very good. The pastry is damp, the presentation bare, the flavours muted and dull. It's an afterthought and it shows after the hands-on, freshly prepared food that came before.

Does it dilute the experience? No. Breizh is a good little bistro with a busy little oven. And perfect for a light little lunch.

28-30 High Street, Perth (cafebreizh.co.uk, 01738 444427)

Menu

Proper French bistro dishes plus les galettes made from imported buckwheat flour and les pizzas made in a wood-fired oven. 4/5

Atmosphere

The decor is a bit knick-knacky and the tables are very close together, but otherwise it's pleasant and warm. 3/5

Service

French, but not in a bad way, you'll be relieved to hear. 4/5

Price

You can have a sit-down wood-fired pizza for just under £6 or a buckwheat galette for the same. Two bistro courses for lunch from £10.90. 4/5

Food

Galettes are surprisingly light, crisp and buttery. Pizza base was well fired though tomato sugo a matter of taste; the rabbit roulade was good too. 7/10

Total 22/30

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