If you read my website or column you’d know by now how much I love France. I got the chance to live there a few years ago on and off working in a chateau, and I go back every time I head to Europe. I learnt the language for a few years (even though it’s a little rusty!) and like to spend my time imagining a simple life living in a French loft in Montmartre, buying my baguettes every day and riding my bike everywhere with my scarf flowing in the wind on my way to gallery exhibitions … But for now, I have to deal with the occasional holiday and now luckily we have a few great French cafés around Geelong!
I went along to the second French night that was held at the French Corner Café. It’s owned by a local couple who have worked in hospitality for years and finally decided to venture out on their own. I’ve grabbed the occasional coffee and baguette here before but was pretty excited about the prospect of a three-course meal with petits fours and live piano accordion!
We arrived at 6.30 p.m. – the French Corner Café is always decorated superbly with flags and traditional French mementos hanging all over the walls, from pictures to copper pots. It feels like a proper Parisian bistro you would find on any corner, complete with the flowerpots outside on the windowsills.
We are seated and it’s truly quaint, bustling with the surrounding tables, but still private enough to not feel forgotten or swamped.
The drinks list is brilliant, with a great combination of local and international wines at really reasonable prices. My partner orders a bottle of French red to himself (the benefits of having a pregnant girlfriend who can drive you home!).
The menu consists of:
Entree: A stunning house-made charcuterie board, with veal and pine nut terrine, duck liver pate, assorted pickled vegetables, olives and a selection of cured meats, and my pick for the absolute best part of the board – the baked brie. Nothing quite says indulgent like dipping a baguette into baked, hot, dripping French cheese! There is also a large assortment of breads and wafers, much more than even needed which is a nice change!
Main: A choice between chicken and lamb. The lamb is a shoulder slow-cooked with carrots and potatoes, and the chicken is set on a beautiful truffle puree with broccoli and snow peas.
Dessert: Wow! Out came a spectacular plate filled with homemade French delicacies – crème brûlée, macaroons, an Eiffel tower shaped biscuit, a triple choc and caramel tart, a fresh vanilla and berry tart, lemon sorbet, and lovely little friands. So so so delicious!
(And then some take-home macaroons, of course!). All of this with attentive waiters; David walking around chatting to everyone and taking photos of us wearing French chefs hats and berets and the piano accordion in the background!
It was an absolutely awesome night, and luckily it has been such a hit that they are running them at least once a month through summer – I have heard they’re already selling out, though!
By Madelin Baldwin