Today is Bastille Day, a French national holiday celebrating the start of the French Revolution. Celebrate by spending your day indulging, not revolting, at some of Sydney’s best French venues.
Brickfields – croissant for breakfast
Begin your morning eating a classic French croissant at Brickfields in Chippendale. Brickfields is known for its croissants, which not only have a flaky, buttery consistency but also a rich, slightly savoury flavour. Although Simon Cancio, general manager at Brickfields, says its croissants are always a work in progress, they are made using 27 layers of pastry dough. Get in early before its first batch runs out and possibly even dunk one – à la francaise – into your Mecca coffee.
Lorraine's Patisserie – cake for morning tea
Pastry maestro Lorraine Godsmark is famous for injecting fuller flavours into classic cakes and delicate pastries. For morning tea, devour everything with your eyes before picking one to actually devour. If you are after something classic, go for the lemon tart, or branch out and try the macadamia salted caramel chocolate tart.
Vincent – lunch
Vincent has the appearance of a French brassiere, situated in the dining room of Woollahra’s boutique Hughenden Hotel. The restaurant, not usually open for lunch on Tuesday, is celebrating Bastille Day by serving a new menu, with complimentary canapés and a French martini to start. Sharing plates are de rigeur here, try the lamb sweetbreads with roasted cauliflower and almonds. Or if you prefer to go solo, sip on a glass of wine (its wine list has 100 French labels) and enjoy a classic steak frites all to yourself.
GPO Cheese and Wine Room- pre-dinner snack
Known as Sydney’s temple of cheese the GPO Cheese and Wine Room offers more than 100 cheeses and 250 international and Australian boutique wines to choose from. It’s a great place to unwind and re-fuel before dinner.
The cheese selection is chosen by fromagière Carlo Coluci, and is dependent on season and availability. There is also a strong focus on pairing cheese and wine, with guidance from sommelier Sam Franklin. It offers cheese and wine flights, for which three cheeses and wines are matched. Will it be creamy French Brillat-Savarin or a pungent French Roquefort Pappillon?
Guillaume – dinner
Opened by French-born Guillaume Brahimi, Guillaume offers the perfect pièce de résistance for your Bastille Day celebrations. There’s an a-la-carte menu and an eight-course degustation menu. Head chef Kevin Solomon uses local ingredients, complemented by the wine program, which has a strong focus on Australian heritage wines. For the full experience dive into the degustation menu, on which you will find the French-inspired Grimaud duck, with foie gras, sweet potato, fig and balsamic. But if you just want a course or two, don’t miss the Patagonian toothfish with globe artichoke and speck.
Avila – cocktail and dessert crepe
To round out your day head to Avila in Bondi and finish with a crêpe and cocktail. The crepe list includes savoury buckwheat crêpes for those who are gluten-intolerant, as well as traditional sweet French crêpes, filled with flavours such as Belgian chocolate or salted caramel and chestnut. Istvan Orosz’s cocktail menu includes the Julia, with fresh passion-fruit vodka and a pressed lemon and champagne shoot on the side. Or for a real French Revolution finish, try The Marquis, named after Marquis de Sade.