Every year, CMC’s annual Wedding Party provides us with the opportunity to justify our drunken debauchery and lack of self-worth as ‘classy’ and ‘decadent.’ Featuring a fancy dinner that takes place right before the party, it allows us to drink our integrity away under a white-linen tablecloth if we’re lucky enough to score a reception table.

For those of us not lucky enough to get a table however, we had to look at some other options that Claremont has to offer, and Bardot seemed like a great option.

Though I had passed by Bardot numerous times before, I always saw expensive cars parked outside and thus assumed it was a restaurant frequented by people with quite exquisite tastes. From what I had heard from my friends however, Bardot was not as intimidating to college students as its appearance may suggest; familiar foods, generous portions and most importantly, fair prices.

Hence, I gathered some good friends and decided to spend my evening dinner at Bardot, Claremont’s classiest (and most convenient) restaurant.

The Ambiance

Photo courtesy of Bardot.com

Situated adjacently to Claremont’s historical Harvard Square, Bardot has a bold and minimalist look that one usually wouldn’t expect to find in Southern California’s Inland Empire.

The design of the restaurant itself is pretty standard for a restaurant of it’s caliber; white cushioned chairs and metal patio chairs fill the restaurant’s space on the inside and outside, and a contemporary, art deco design adorns the interior, the color scheme also keeping to a simple but chic black and white.

The Food

When I sat down with my party, I was upset to find myself staring at a typical Californian menu of burgers, soups and rather unimaginative pastas. The appetizers however did pique my interest and so, I justified my fattening habits by telling myself and my peers that I had to write this review for a renown food publication.

Here’s the rundown of what I ate:

Appetizer: Ceviche

Photo courtesy of Desmond Goetomo

The Peruvian ceviche of Baqueta seabass I ordered was indeed a pleasant experience. The soft seabass and assorted vegetables marinating in the acidic and sour lime juice was pleasantly balanced by the dry and crunchy nachos on the side.

Main Course: Scallops

Photo courtesy of yelp.com

My insistence to be adventurous with the main courses (before giving up my soul for liquid courage by 9 o’ clock) coaxed me to order the Japanese sweet scallops. What greeted me was a generous serving of four large medallions of scallop, decorated with thin slices of fuji apple, Belgian endives and a generous smear of carrot purée.

The plating of the dish was fantastic with the scallops taking the main stage and the secondary flavours drizzled around them. It was the complex combination of flavors however, that whisked me away on an adventure; the medley of the subtly sweet purée, thin slices of sour apples and bitter endives strongly complemented the solid base of soft, chewy scallops, ultimately making this dish an absolute joy to eat.

The Dessert: Berry Tiramisu

Photo courtesy of deviant art.net

Although nothing too unfamiliar, the tiramisu was simply delicious; both rich and creamy, yet not too overwhelming that I had to be rushed off to ER to get my stomach pumped. The fresh berries and flakes of spicy ginger dusted over the cake also added that extra kick of sour and spicy to the dish that made it all the more special.

The Service

Despite our bread and butter arriving after our appetizers (which was still delicious, despite the delay), the service turned out to be impeccable. Our waiter was friendly and quickly served our dishes, despite the large crowd of like-minded college kids coming in that night.


Overall, dining at Bardot proved to be a truly great experience. Though it is a bit more expensive than other village favorites like Eureka, it is definitely worth the extra dollars.

I recently had a talk with a good friend and mentor about life at Claremont; although not a particularly notable conversation, I distinctly remember when he quipped that the Inland Empire is “The Armpit of the World”.

While I wouldn’t disagree with him entirely, every place has its silver lining and the Inland empire is no exception. Alongside Knottsberry farm, Liquorland and the numerous Buffalo Wild Wings scattered around, it’s places like Bardot that makes the Inland empire pretty OK sometimes. Places, you could say, that are jewels of the Empire.