French Brasserie

2 Malthouse Ln
Melbourne, 3000
03 9662 1632

It is rather sadly by default from a severe underestimation of early dinner crowds in the city on a Saturday night – an AFL night for that matter – that we stumbled up and down Flinders lane before hesitating to enter this restaurant down an alleyway.

My previous visit here was by no means mediocre, in fact quite the opposite. It is simply that I have an enormous obstacle – 100+ on my never ending wishlist – that stands in the way of me returning even to my most admired eateries. Of course, YOU wouldn’t want to read about a rotating list of restaurants every week now would you???

On this current occasion, I was a paying customer – full stop. So I cannot be accused of being biased with my review here. *cough cough* Haha.

The décor remains the same, with its airy skies and warm mahogany finish, with French touches from artworks all the way to the genuine accents. Ms AL commented you can tell they are French, as their bone structure is quite distinctly French, supposedly.

Our choice for the night: Chef’s selection of 4 courses, Formule du Chef.

A little warm bread and garlic butter to start. Actually, after my initial request to have more bread, we were provided with an endless supply of it to wipe clean every drop of sauce on each subsequent plate. Mmmm

Charcuterie – a small array of tasty terrines, fall apart rillettes and cured meats, caper berries, and sides of toasted brioche and baguette, quenelle of tangy red onion jam (if I remember correctly), and a drizzle of red wine vinegar reduction.

P.S. I blame the restaurant for the poor lighting and Mr CK for providing such a shallow depth of field in the photos. *cough* I’m such a whinger, as if I could take better photos. =P

Seared scallops – were almost certainly the highlight of the meal. The plump scallops were perfectly seared with a crispy caramelisation and wonderfully moist bite. The smooth carotene puree and ginger puree provided a balance of creamy sweetness and mild heat, whilst the duo of baby carrot (cooked & raw) provided a contrast of bite. It is finished off with a mezze style chive tabouleh and baby coriander, for a touch of herb and tang. The harmonious marriage of flavours was sublime!

Porc languedocien – The round of pork fillet wrapped in pancetta is fine balance of crunch, moisture and richness. A small cube of black pudding (boudin noir), French potatoes (pomme parisienne) and a sauce of honey and star anise gives this course a deliciously earthy theme.

Tarte au coin et poire – a wedge slice of quince and pear tart served with a pear & pink peppercorn sorbet, and little smatterings of pear jelly cubes. The tart was pleasantly sweet and had a subtle marmalade tartness. The sorbet was simply refreshing.

Secret wine of the night – a serving of dessert wine (courtesy of the manager) to finish our lovely meal. It has a very light rose colour, a sweet theme with a citrus note. I’m no alcohol expert, so without being told what it was, I can’t point my finger on what it is…

Rating: Yummy+2, refined flavours with a solid show of finesse, and not to mention superb service. It was certainly a much fonder experience than from the memories of my first visit, and is definitely a return worthy restaurant.

Having ordered the same degustation across the table, to say the least, I am sad to have not been able to try more dishes…

[Photos supplied courtesy of Mr CK]

You may also like: Madame SouSou, PM24, Café Vue, Creperie Le Triskel.

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2 Responses to “French Brasserie”
  1. Ah, some improvement eh? My first visit did not wow me too much because I had some really good ones and some not quite there dishes.

  2. Katty-Kat says:

    I haven’t been to most places that you review on this blog, but I’m proud to say that I’ve been to the French Brasserie!! (And I liked it)
    On my last visit, I tried the escargot and they were superb. I liked the fact that they were kept in their shells, as it made the experience feel that much more authentic. Although I did have to ask the maitre’d/waiter to explain to me how to eat the little suckers, otherwise I was in for a Julia Roberts (ref to scene from Pretty Woman) moment! 🙂 lol
    For the main meal, I believe I ate a roasted rabbit, which was also very well prepared and presented.
    I really enjoyed your post. Everything just looks so delicious – it makes me want to go back!
    I couldn’t agree more with you about the dim lighting. I was dining out with my family and my mom even said that she had trouble seeing the food properly. I did not really think that the place looks all that traditional French. It has accents in the form of pictures and posters here and there, but mostly it just feels like a modern and chic restaurant. In fact the pattern on the main side wall has a distinct arabic vibe about it. I would say the decor is ecclectic. You have to forgive me, I always pay too much attention to design wherever I go. You also have to forgive me going off on a rant like this.

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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