Photography by Amy Weavell
Before being overwhelmed by the neon lit establishments that populate the laneways off Flinders Lane, The French Brasserie offers diners a quiet and elegant experience in high scale fashion.
Walking in, you’re met with a well-stocked marble-topped bar lining one side. Cosy tables occupy the dimly lit restaurant, making for an intimate and romantic dining experience. Concrete slab walls and an open ceiling give a chic modern-industrial fitting of the Melbourne laneway style and offset perfectly with the upscale French dining.
Minimalist decor – save for some vintage posters, map of Paris and a staircase lined with wine – lead to the second seating area upstairs. Framed by a back wall covered in beautifully lit champagne bottles, it’s a way of celebrating France’s rich wine culture and encourages a full dining experience.
French cuisine is all about the effort, the time and the care that goes into preparing each dish. The French Brasserie pride themselves on this.
Everything is made in-house from the freshest ingredients by a staff made up entirely of French ex-pats.
The dishes are beautifully presented, with the soup entree being served with small picked vegetables and croutons, making for a satisfying but not overly-filling start to your meal. The cold cucumber soup has a real zest but it’s not an overpowering flavour. With the mustard added, there’s a real heartiness to it, accompanied by a slight grain and a smooth, delicious finish.
For a main in French cuisine, you can’t pass the roast duck. It near melts in your mouth – soft and tender, but not overly juicy. The jus heightens the flavour by adding a savoury glaze, leaving you relishing every bite. The slow cooked egg adds an interesting new flavour that offsets the glaze. The combination of flavours is somewhat tart and lingers upon the taste buds, allowing you to savour the authentic French flavours before washing it down with a perfectly matched Bordeaux.
For dessert there’s Fondant Au Chocolat – a bed of chocolate fondant populated with a salted caramel centre, nuts, biscuit and raspberry coulis. It’s essentially everything you’d want for dessert, all on one plate. It’s crunchy, sweet and perfect for sharing at the end of the meal.
Boasting a rotating seasonal menu, The French Brasserie is the perfect destination for those seeking an authentic French dining experience, or a romantic evening on the town.