UPDATE 08/06/2013: I’ve just added a few revisions, as things have changed a fair bit in the past 2 years. You will find them at the bottom of the article 🙂
I was asked last week by Eleanor from French Entrée, a website aimed at lovers of all things French, to compile my Top 10 favourites French foods in Sydney.
It was a difficult to narrow it down to 10, but I’m pretty happy with my list. See below and let me know if you agree!
“Finding French food in Sydney
Sandra Beeston is a French-Australian expat who has been living in Sydney for six years. In that time, she has researched all the best places to find her French home comforts. From baguettes and croissants to cheese and steak frites, Sandra shares her top 10 French foods and where to find them in Sydney.
A few weeks ago, my friend Vanity Fare and I decided to try the recent addition to the Merivale empire in Ash Street laneway, Felix Bistro, run by Lauren Murdoch, who used to operate the kitchen of Ash Street Cellar just across the road. I kept hearing good reports about it, and the few times I had walked past it, I’d thought the place looked beautiful and quite like an authentic brasserie.
Last week I was invited to a French-themed dinner hosted by Cenk, creator of Social Dinner Club, at Garden Court Restaurant, on the 5th floor of Sofitel in the CBD. Sofitel is a 5-star hotel owned by Accor, the famous French multinational corporation.
The Garden Court’s website describes the restaurant serving “modern contemporary cuisine with a French influence”. I was quite impressed when I made my way inside the grand entrance hall, the decor was simple but classy, you could see guests and patrons enjoying a relaxing drink in the lounge on the ground floor and staff members were most polite and friendly when I asked my way to the restaurant.
My French holiday back in December was the occasion to catch up with some very good friends from my uni years, who were also in town to see their families. We decided to have lunch at “Le 7”, the bistro version of the world renowned 3-star restaurant La Maison Pic, Valence, in the Rhône-Alpes region.
“Close the door, it’s freezing”. Brrrr, ça caille indeed!
Before going to Paris-Gare de Lyon to catch my train, my friends and I still had time to squeeze in a nice lunch in a neighbourhood bistro, the well-liked Chez Maurice, Restaurant de Bourgogne, located in Rue des Vinaigriers, a still quite rough area a few years back (there was even a taxi driver/killer who used to live there!).
Every year with the girls, we organise a pre-Christmas catch-up session before our social schedules become too hectic. Having heard a lot of good things about L’Étoile, besides the fact that French celebrity Chef “Manouuuuuuu!” operates their kitchen, we decided to book a mid-week dinner there.
A few months back, as we were reminiscing our most memorable meals, M.’s parents mentioned how much they had enjoyed their visit at Lochiel House, recently named “Best regional restaurant” and awarded Two Hats by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2011. They had in fact enjoyed it so much that they decided to take us there a few weeks after that… which we accepted without much resistance.
This week’s post has nothing to do with French food, but I couldn’t let this one pass, a great restaurant so close to where I live!
After months and months of walking past the old Dimitri’s building on Cleveland Street and wondering how it would all look like once the new owners, Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz from the famous Surry Hills tapas restaurant Bodega, would settle in, I finally had all my questions answered last week, after I found some eager carnivorous friends to have dinner at Porteño with me.
When an ex-colleague who now lives on the North Coast came back to town a few days ago for a rejuvenating plunge in the Big Smoke, he decided to invite me and another colleague for a catch-up lunch at an ol’ favourite haunt of his: Tastevin in Darlinghurst.
We meet on a Thursday around 12:45pm and are greeted warmly by Alex Bourdon, the Owner and Chef of Tastevin. His beautiful wife and Tastevin’s co-owner Natasha is not here today as the couple have just become new parents and she is taking care of their little girl. The place is pretty quiet when we arrive (which is fine by me, as I am not a loud talker!). Tastevin is actually better known as a popular late night spot as they serve food until the wee hours of the morning (around 2am), which is a pity considering that the lunch prices are a steal, with entrees at $15 and mains at $20!
Alex runs us through the menu and I hesitate briefly between the special (Seared scallops in a cauliflower soup) and the Gnocchi à la parisienne. Last time I ate at Tastevin for a Valentine dinner, my boyfriend chose the Gnocchi and I was very jealous as they were to die for! In the end I just can’t resist and get the Gnocchi. My enthusiasm must be contagious, for the boys end up doing the same!
One of the things I missed most about France when I arrived here 6 years ago was good bread and croissants. I didn’t mind the rectangular loaves and toasts, but after a while I was really craving a good old crunchy baguette. I don’t want to mention the first croissants I came across, some horrible, tasteless dough molded into a vague croissant shape, bouark!