There is a French theme sweeping through our wintery city at the moment. Les Misérables premiered at Her Majesty’s Theatre last week. The accompanying exhibition Victor Hugo: Les Misérables – From Page to Stage opens at the State Library of Victoria next week.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk will open at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in mid-October. And if we needed more French-spiration, Bastille Day is right around the corner. Celebrated on July 14, the occasion marks the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the French Revolution.
Here are some of the best French happenings around town, starting this weekend. Best of all, there is something to suit every budget.
La Belle Miette
Known for its creative macaron flavours and scents, this laneway patisserie is releasing a limited-edition macaron – pleine lune (full moon) for Bastille Day 2014. The teal-blue treat ($2.50) blends almond, candied citrus, spices and hazelnut liqueur. With matching periwinkle gift boxes and tea, pleine lune is available now.
30 Hardware Lane, Melbourne (flagship but also stores on Collins Street, Richmond and Chadstone)
(03) 9024 9926
Gateaux by Marc Frissard
French pastry chef Marc Frissard is preparing French beignets (hot doughnuts) for sale on Sunday July 13. Any two beignets for $6 and flavours include chocolate, berry jam and lemon.
565 Hampton Street, Hampton
(03) 9521 9771
La Petite Crêperie and Crêperie le Triskel
Everyone’s favourite newsstand turned crêperie, La Petite Crêperie will be extending its trading hours to 11pm on Monday July 14. There will be street accordion players and decorations to get Francophiles in the mood for celebration. Parisian-style crêpes start from $4.50. Nearby, sister cafe Crêperie Le Triskel will be offering complimentary French cider with every galette (savory crêpe) purchased. Galette starts from $8.50. Opens from 7am–5pm, with live music from lunchtime.
32 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
0466 406 404
Claypots Evening Star
Celebrating its third Bastille Day, most of the eateries on Cecil Street at the South Melbourne Market will be opened from 6pm–11pm on Monday night. Claypots Evening Star will be offering $1 Coffin Bay oysters, as well as a French colonial menu which pays homage to flavours of ex-French colonies such as New Orleans, Vietnam and North Africa. Think okra and shellfish gumbo and Cajun flathead. All dishes will be under $25. Live music from 6.30pm. Dressing up is encouraged; Marie-Antoinette is expected to make an appearance.
101–103 Cecil Street, South Melbourne
(03) 9645 5779
La Niche Cafe
Celebrating Bastille Day on Saturday night July 12, this French cafe/live music venue will feature French singer Jean François from 7pm. The 74 year old François will play with his son Tamil (from The Raah Project) on the violin. The duo will perform originals as well as French covers of Edith Piaf, Léo Ferré and George Brassens. The Bastille Day menu includes house-made pâtés, beef burgundy, bouillabaisse and more. Entrees start at $12 and mains start at $20.
67 Smith Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9416 3439
One day is not enough at Union Dining. Head chef Nicky Riemer is planning two French dishes in addition to the European à la carte menu each night from July 15–July 19. The set menu will include entree, main and a glass of French wine for $45. Expect bistro classics such as coq au vin, duck à l’orange and bouef bourguignon.
270 Swan Street, Richmond
(03) 9428 2988
Milk the Cow
This fromagerie and bar is celebrating Bastille Day with live music and French cheeseboards all weekend. On Bastille Night, Milk the Cow will host a guided French wine and cheese tasting event. It includes a French cocktail on arrival and live music from a roving accordionist. $58 per person.
157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
(03) 9537 2225
Bistro Vue will be serving a three-course lunch menu from July 14–July 19. The carte du jour includes tapenade, confit duck leg and lemon pudding with pistachio ice cream. $60 per person with $30 optional wine match.
430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
(03) 9691 3838
Albert Street Food & Wine
Hosting a hunting-themed evening, Albert Street will be offering a $75 set menu on July 13. The centrepiece is a slow-cooked boar immersed in red wine and berries. Support acts include French cheeses, poached pears, waffles and ice cream. Matching French wines available, at extra cost.
382 Sydney Road, Brunswick
(03) 8354 6600