If there’s one thing Brighton doesn’t lack, it’s cafes. But there’s nowhere on Church St or Bay St quite like this place. Curly Whiskers is an impeccably sourced French bistro, run by husband and wife team Rosalin and Oliver Virnik.
Now a lot of venues talk a bit game when it comes to provenance, but Rosalin has literally visited every supplier on the books (she took an epic country road trip last December). The olives are from Mt Zero, the milk from Shultz Organic Dairy in Timboon. She gets the eggs from Glorious Googies (a proper free-range farm in Korumburra), and the bread from Irrewarra.
Ethical sourcing and good quality ingredients are everything at Curly Whiskers, and you CAN taste the difference.
“We chose French cuisine because it doesn’t mask the quality of the ingredients. It heroes them,” says Rosalin.
You’ll spot Curly Whiskers as you’re driving down Martin St—a moustachioed little bistro with monochrome touches and a whimsical French vibe. The sort of place Edith Piaf would have dropped by for an apple tart tatin (baked fresh by Rosalin daily) and a double shot café au lait.
The lunch menu is based around handmade buckwheat crepes, stuffed with simple but beautiful ingredients like Gary McBean’s maple-cured bacon, L’artisan gruyere, Schultz feta and seasonal vegetables. Our tip? Try the Reuben—light and buttery and pan-fried to a crisp, served with a tangy sauerkraut from The Fermentary.
At night the lights dim, the candles come out, and the menu switches gear. Start with a classic ‘cigar’ (a mini crepe rolled with minced lamb and toasted pine nuts), or maybe an artisan charcuterie platter. Then go all-out with fresh-made beef wellington, seafood bisques or any of Rosalin’s rotating seasonal dishes.
One last tip: don’t leave without trying a little sweet something something. Curly Whiskers serves a couple of desserts daily, and the tart tartin is a masterpiece (it comes in apple or peach, depending on the season).
Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White