Bastille Day means different things to different people. If you’re French it probably means throwing off the shackles of an oppressive monarchy. For the rest of us, it’s an excuse to order massive plates of steak and pomme frites, or drink Burgundy by the bottle while toasting “liberty, equality, fraternity and reasonably priced booze!” That’s the good thing about Bastille Day. There’s something for everyone.
Want to get your French on this Saturday? Here’s 5 very français things to eat in Melbourne.
Steak & Pomme Frites | Entrecôte
South Yarra & CBD
It’s hard to go past Entrecôte for steak and pomme frites. The restaurant name literally means a boned steak cut off the sirloin. Entrecôte have got this simple dish down to a fine art. They take a cut of grass-fed Black Angus beef from Cape Grim in Tasmania, grill it to medium-rare perfection, then top it with a big lug of herby house sauce (the famous maison au beurre et aux herbes). Oh, and bottomless fries. Yep, you can literally summon endless fries to your table.
Moules Frites | Franco Belge
This is Camberwell’s brand new French-Belgian all-day brasserie, tucked down Evans Place, opposite The Rivoli Cinema. Moules Frites is their signature dish—just take steak frites and replace your beef with a huge pot of mussels, done either natural, Provencale-style with tomatoes, or ‘Au Blue’, which means slathered in blue cheese sauce. Moules Frites is technically a Belgian dish, but that blue cheese is a classic French twist. Franco Belge does this one better than anyone else in Melbourne.
Escargot | Chez Olivier
Chez Olivier is one of our favourite spots for a classy French feed. You’ll find it on Greville St in Prahran, heaving with locals on a Friday night. Here’s how you do it right: head up the rickety stairs to the top level, plonk yourself down and order the Escargots a la Bourguignonne—your classic snails in garlic butter sauce, which is the only real way to eat a slime-covered gastropod who crawls along the ground and eats your letters. If you’re a snail-sceptic, we promise you’ll love them here. It’s really just an excuse to eat sh*t-tonnes of garlic and butter at the same time.
Crème Brûlée | France Soir
Another Melbourne French classic. France Soir has been rocking pretty much every single night since it opened back in 1986. Neither the décor nor the food has changed much in that time. And why would you when it’s this good? The French-speaking waiters can be a little brisk (particularly when it gets busy), but the Crème Brûlée is worth it. Bubbly and brown on the top, custardy vanilla underneath. The perfect end to every meal. Don’t even blink at the $15.50 price tag—it’s totally worth it.
Steak Tartare | Bistro Thierry
To be honest, the steak & pomme frites at Bistro Thierry is bloody good too. But we’re here for something else this weekend: the famous steak tartare. Bistro Thierry do theirs with fine-chopped eye fillet, buttery soft and super tender. They season gently, mix with a little parsley and other mysterious herbs, then serve with Melba toast, cos lettuce and an egg yolk (still in its shell). It doesn’t get much better than that.
For everything else that's happening this weekend, head here.
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White