Traditionally a bistro serves simple French food, but a restaurateur could use the philosophy of a bistro to serve a menu of rustic, British dishes.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
The word bistro is believed to come from the Russian word meaning quick, so a meal ordered in a bistro is one that should be served swiftly.
What to serve
Rustic, hearty dishes are key. In winter, this means soups and stews that have been slowly cooking for several hours and can be served straight from the cooking pot, or a quickly grilled piece of meat or fish; while in the summer, large salads that can be assembled at the last minute and tossed with a dressing are ideal.
Simplicity is important too, so plates of charcuterie or cheese with rustic bread, or a selection of fresh vegetables crudites and hard-boiled eggs accompanied by a dip of garlic mayonnaise would be acceptable menu items.
Regional dishes feature heavily in French bistros with the likes of chicken à la bourguignon (chicken cooked in red wine with bacon and mushrooms) from <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>