Vanessa: Every now and then I come across restaurants that conjure up feelings of nostalgia, of roads once travelled. This was true of our recent visit to Bistrot Gavroche that transported me back to time spent in Paris and the south of France.
Located in the Kensington Street precinct of Chippendale, this classic French Bistro offers diners a warm and inviting atmosphere, coupled with traditional French fare. Every detail has been accounted for to create an authentic bistro feel that envelops patrons the minute they walk through the door.
Team FFS assembled one stormy, Saturday for a brunch. The incessant rain outside only added to the warmth of the Bistro’s atmosphere. We were immediately impressed by the décor and detail inside. We settled in and were brought a basket of warm bread and crisp pastries – joy to our senses! The corbielle de viennoiseries ($16) consisted of a croissant, pan au chocolat, a baguette served alongside Beurre d’Isney butter and bonne maman fruit jams. A delightful way to kick start any meal, particularly as it was an assortment of “oh so French” goodies.
We chose a selection of dishes to share between us to sample as much of the menu as we could muster between three people! I was very vocal about my need to include the French Onion Soup/Souppe L’oignon ($16) as one of the dishes. I cannot go to a French restaurant and not order this. Well flavoured with thinly sliced onions, which I appreciate, but I felt it could have done with a bolder injection of gruyere atop the croutons.
The Croque monsieur ($18), another favourite and crowd pleaser, did not disappoint. Crunchy, buttery sourdough fused together by creamy béchamel, gruyere and baked ham is hard to fault.
The baked quiche ($20) was life changing. Perfectly cooked pastry, filled with bold flavours of bacon, cheese and leek filled this quiche creating a comforting dish that is quintessentially French.
From the eggs menu we opted for the Australian in Paris ($24) – akin to the traditional “big breakfast” with a French twist. Consisting of two eggs cooked any style served alongside bacon, Lyonnaise potatoes, sautéed mushrooms and toasted sourdough. We choose to have our eggs scrambled which were creamy and fluffy. The Lyonnaise potatoes were thinly sliced and made for a novel addition and the mushrooms were juicy and flavourful.
Of course, being the sugar fiends we are here at Team FFS, we were not leaving without sampling dessert. We opted for two traditional French desserts that are sure to be found on any bistro menu in Paris. The Tarte Tatin ($15) is the upside-down apple tart served with vanilla ice-cream. Not the most visually appealing dessert I have ever had but the apples were plump with the right amount of tartness that was offset by the sweetness of the pastry and ice-cream.
We wanted so much to love the crepes suzette ($15) that were theatrically lit and flambeed with Grand Marnier at the table in front of us. Alas, the verdict amongst the three of us was that the flavours of orange and alcohol overpowered the taste of the crepes. A shame we felt this way because the crepes themselves were well cooked.
We thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Bistrot Gavroche and we will no doubt return in the near future to sample the remainder of the menu. If the brunch menu is anything to go by – the culinary team know how to create winning dishes that reflect traditional French cuisine.
The brunch menu is served on Saturday and Sunday between 10.30am – 3:00pm and they offer an ala carte lunch menu Wednesday – Friday and a dinner menu from 6pm nightly. For everyone that has experienced trying to park around the Kensington St Precinct, never fear because valet parking is available at The Old Clare Hotel at the rate of $25 for 4 hours – well worth the investment to save your sanity!
Photos by Alex
*For Foods Sake dined as guests of Bistro Gavroche, however, all opinions are independent and our own.