The French Brasserie
The dining room at The French Brasserie balances trademark Parisian charm (red leather banquettes, bentwood chairs, marble bar) with striking contemporary accents, such as towering Moroccan-style screens and exposed pipes that snake across the double-height ceilings. Wine appears at every turn, from backlit cabinets and a wall of champagne bottles to bar shelves that stretch towards the lofty ceiling. While deals are done over the linen-topped tables, a mezzanine beckons for intimate gatherings.
Entrees span garlicky snails, punchy French onion soup and freshly chopped steak tartare crowned with a golden egg yolk. Mains are decidedly meat-y. Take your pick of eye fillet, hanger or minute steak; pork belly with a black-pudding croquette; or cassoulet of confit duck leg and Toulouse sausage. Lighter, brighter options include bouillabaisse and fish of the day, perhaps served with prawns and a zippy orange gel. Whichever way you swing it, a side of crisp frites is a must.
Old faithfuls fill the dessert menu too, such as crème brûlée and chocolate mousse, the latter given a nod to now with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.
The expansive wine list features a handful of affordable local drops in among the vintage champagnes and grand cru Burgundies.
For the length of the Melbourne International Film Festival 2019, the French Brasserie is offering all ticket holders a pre-cinema dining special if you order before 7pm. For $40 per person, you'll get a two-course dinner and a complementary glass of Kir Royal upon arrival.