The restaurant is in the old Tasman's spot, near the corner of Crown and William Streets, but a reasonable refit has occurred. Host Philippe Valet (with his rich Gallic accent) has created a well-priced, casual French brasserie (think café doubling as a restaurant). There’s a relaxed yet romantic atmosphere, well chosen French music and it’s nicely fitted out with specials penned on mirrors, red curtains, long leather banquettes, outdoor tables, and at-the-bar dining. All detail has been carefully considered, down to the Classic French layout of the menus. Oh and there is a 'special' table where you get banquettes on both sides - you can even book it in advance (it seats 6-8).
I began my meal with a lovely (and decorative) Thon en Tartare ($19) – a mound of uncooked tuna topped with a raw egg, and surrounded by a garden of capers, cornichons and radish. I really enjoyed it - that is until I got lost in the taste of my partner's even better selection...
This was possibly the most harmonious surf’n’turf exemplar I have ever had - Queue de Boeuf ($19) – a slow cooked, deboned piece of oxtail served with plump and perfectly cooked scallops, lentils and garlic crisps. It was superb! Apparently this was one of their more wintery mains, but they thought their regular customers would riot (and rightly so) if it were removed from the menu, so they made it a summery entree to keep it on the menu.
For mains it’d be hard to go past the Entrecôte Frites ($30), a huge, succulent steak with a mound of perfect golden chips. For the record - these are the best chips I have had in Sydney.
Diners favouring lighter choices should enjoy the Confit de Canard ($27), well cooked duck served with a salad of Frisée, figs and Roquefort - I really liked this dish.
As you digest in the padded comfort of the banquettes, perhaps enjoy a cheese course ($7/cheese) or the Pain Perdu ($13), a caramelised slice of gingerbread with fresh bananas, banana custard, and scorched fresh marshmallow. The marshmallow was heavenly!
The wine list includes 17 wines by the glass - and the staff know how to help you select wines to match your food choices. I was very happy with a large glass of 2003 Mon Redon Cotes du Rhone GSM ($10) with my duck salad. The dessert wine selection suggested by the host Philippe Valet was equally good.
Shop 28, 118-126 Crown Street,
Ph: (02) 9358 1222