Long-time couple Laurie Faget and Kevin Chassagne are both French, and have travelled the world together to work in hospitality. They worked at the esteemed Reymond clan’s Bistro Gitan and Frederic for the last five years, and have finally struck out on their own.

The result is Tapenade, a new French cafe that draws on the cuisine and culture of Provence in the country’s south. They’re treating it as an extension of their home – they live right above – with a menu of home-style family recipes.

Their specialty is – fittingly – an olive tapenade made using a recipe from Faget’s grandmother and served with focaccia from Noisette, alongside other classics such as croque monsieur, croque fromage, quiche Lorraine, ham-and-cheese croissant, and a niçoise sandwich called pan bagnat. There are also croissants, pains au chocolat and pains aux raisins, plus a soup of the day and Basque burnt cheesecake for dessert.

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Part of the cafe is a retail boutique stocking their tapenade as well as Orangina (a carbonated orange juice), French biscuit brands BN and Lu, Haribo lollies and more – treats the pair grew up enjoying.

Expect to see grey linens on the table to complement the olive green ceiling and accents. Upcoming specials include hachis parmentier (a French cottage pie) with confit duck leg and vegetables, and a seasonal soup and salad combo that’ll change daily.

Enjoy aperitifs in the afternoons and a mix of French, Australian and other international wines. Dinner service is available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

1A/3 Commercial Road, Melbourne

Wed 8am–4pm
Thurs to Sat 8am–11pm
Sun 8am–4pm