Ooh la la, want to indulge in rich, flavoursome French food?
Nibble on a baguette, sup onion soup and indulge in fois gras, escargot or cassoulet?
Here’s where mademoiselle and monsieur should go in Brisbane for French style and sustenance -
More than bread
For more than 30 years Francis and Marilyn Domenech have been feeding Brisbane’s passion for French food at Baguette in Clayfield with pissaladiere, chevre and leek tart followed by crème brulee. Have a drink at the bar before you dine, or anytime really.
Marilyn Domench says Brisbane has come a long way from when Baguette Restaurant opened its ultra-modern doors in the inner suburb of Ascot to a somewhat wary public in 1980s.
“In those days there was the odd suburban café and one or two Chinese take-aways, but real dining happened in the city,” Marilyn says.
“Steak Diane, Duck a l’Orange, Seafood Cocktails, Veal Schnitzels and Beef Stroganoff were considered the height of sophistication.
“So when this crazy Frenchman with his purpose-built restaurant imported a couple of Robert Carrier chefs from London and started serving totally different food, many Brisbanites were not sure what to make of it. Entrees cost $4.50 and mains were a very expensive $7.
“Racecourse Road in those days still sported tram tracks although the cinema with deck chairs had closed, and far from being the trendy boulevard we see today, it was rather ‘down-at- heel’ and shabby.
Baguette has been revamped several times over the years, and has always been at the forefront of innovative dining in Brisbane and of the first with pavement dining in Brisbane, degustation menus (in the 1980s) and tapas (early 1990s).
Perch at Montrachet’s marble comptoir, surrounded by white table cloths and red banquette seating and feel like you are in France. Thierry Galichet’s Paddington restaurant is so popular he doesn’t even open Friday and Saturday nights. True!
France meets Asia
Frenchman Olivier Boudon will take you to France via Asia with his menu at Sprout Café, Auchenflower. There’s a fresh brasserie-style fixed price menu for lunch and dinner, plus it's BYO - gotta love that!
Enjoy handelier chic French styled décor and generous portions of classic French dishes at Boucher, Graceville. Choose from snails roasted in their shells, roquefort and spinach soufflé, crisp skin pork belly or bouillabaisse. Brisbane’s best pastry chef, Caroline Jones, is in charge of desserts. Another BYO suburban gem.
Prive 249 proves that not all restaurants in large hotels are ho hum. With a hat under its beret and one of Brisbane’s most atmospheric and elegant dining rooms, Prive in the Softiel lives up to the promise with food that surprises with its flavour and immaculate presentation. Enjoy the spectacular city night views.
Here's some more to add to your list -
- Bistro Arlette, New Farm
- C'est Bon, Woolloongabba
- Rhubarb Rhubarb, Wooloowin
- Anise, New Farm
- Aquitaine, South Bank
Le Bon Choix
Delicious range of danishes and pastries that look almost too good to eat. There's now a few of these outlets around town, with the newest in an old bank building on Given Terrace at Paddington.
Belle Epoque Patisserie
Plenty of French decor atmosphere here plus perfectly light macarons, strawberry tarts and dark chocolate tarts. Find it in the Emporium complex, Fortitude Valley.
I once considered moving to New Farm just to be close to Chouquette, which is home to the sweetest of treats. Their display cabinet is drool worthy.
Maison de Provence
Cooroy seems an unlikely home for this French patisserie/cafe but the crossants alone are worth a trip here. Everything is made onsite and there's plenty of French accents filling the air. Try the garlic snails.
Allo Allo French Tearoom
The perfect pit stop on a scenic drive through Flaxton on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Try the prune and armagnac flan or a filled baguette.
Ed+bK has eaten as a guest at some of these restaurants. Full disclosure details on individual blogs.