Tag Archives: french

Bibelot

Good things, small packages.

The tres bon people at Chez Dre, home of the best croque monsieur in town (spoken by a loyal south Melbourne resident) have taken it upon themselves to bless Coventry Street with a patisserie and gelateria of pure beauty.

The fit out couldn’t be more removed from Chez Dre. Clean, sleek fixtures are adorned with perfectly placed bags and blocks of all things sweet and indulgent. But it’s the counters where the beauty really shines. Rows of immaculate flavoured dark chocolate truffles, interspersed with glowing pop-colours of Caprinha green, tangerine orange and cherry red.

As beautiful the chocolate collection is, the cake counter shows the real talent of these artisans. Each pastry, shimmering in the soft light, and again, displaying colours of an intensity that mother nature herself would be jealous. From Green tea to Blueberries, chocolate tarts to cheesecake, each creation a wonder to behold, but even better to devour. Curiously soft and delicate, but with punchy hits of flavour, I imagine they are destroyed in an astonishingly shorter time than it took to create the little joys.

 

The gelato and sorbets also add a nice addition if that happens to be your poison (guilty as charged). Mango and passion fruit sorbet tastes of a thousand fruits condensed into one small cup, the sour of the passion fruit softened by the sweetness of mango, or the strawberry and lemon myrtle, like a sweet, gentle stroll through the countryside on a warm, sunny day.

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Bibelot is ambitious, and adventurous. They are pushing serious boundaries here, and they are not afraid to charge for it. But when you can deliver the goods with such confidence and skill, the ensuing well-deserved success is a fait accompli.

 

p: (03) 9690 2688

sun to thurs: 10am – 6pm

fri & sat: 10am – 10pm

e: info@bibelot.com.au

285-287 coventry street, south melbourne 3205

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L’Hotel Gitan

L’Hotel GItan

The last place you’d look.

Dirty Commercial Road is not the first place you think of when searching for authentic French cuisine in Melbourne, but it is here that Jacques Reymond has successfully merged gastro pub and French bistro with L’Hotel Gitan.

From a gastro pub perspective, it is charmingly relaxed, but with white-papered table clothes and dark wood furniture, it feels fancy without stuffy. In terms of bistro, the dishes are simple and honest, without fancy technique, but also without the overbearing richness with which much French food is associated. Each dish is fresh, and clean, and sauces, the trademark of the French, are designed to compliment rather than outshine the principle.

The ballontine of duck starter is chunky and textured, and although not to everyone’s liking (it can be difficult managing the fatty, gelatinous sensation) left me wanting more, with my girl generously obliging. The cassolette was standout, delicately balanced with champagne and saffron foam, the perfectly cooked medley of prawns, mussels and squid was flawless, and a reminder of how amazing Australian seafood can get. The barramundi en croute shone brightly and built upon the seafood theme of the previous dish. Tender and juicy fillet of cod, layered with a salmon mousse that didn’t really add anything other than a protective layer separating the barramundi and the lusciously flaky puff pastry ceiling.

However, the dish on which all French bistros are so often (and rightly) judged, the steak and frites, was unexceptional, although pleasant enough. A well-executed dish that failed to live up to the standard that preceded it, it was the only dish that failed to leave a memorable impression.

Jacques Reymond is a true gentleman of Melbourne’s French scene, presenting dishes both classical, and classy, much like the man himself who greeted each and every diner once the kitchen and closed up. A class act all the way.

 

L’Hotel Gitan

32 Commercial Road, Prahran

+61 3 9999 0990

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