The French like to believe they do everything better than the rest of the world. Annoyingly, they're quite often correct. One area they really do have in the bag is the restaurant game. Show me a classic French bistro and I'll show you my bum on one of their seats. White tablecloths, Bentwood chairs, black and white tiling, menus full of words like soufflé and consommé and crème brulee scrawled on blackboards in white chalk. Gah, my tummy is rumbling just thinking about it! Don't even get me started on their wine. If only France were closer.
Fortunately, tucked in a side street of Coogee, is a little pocket of France I wouldn't have thought possible outside of L'Hexagone. Already known for local favourite Le Petit Café, ex-pat foodie Rafaele Yon has created another surprisingly authentic experience in the beachside suburb with her new venture Café de France.
A perfect blend of French bistro and casual beachside dining, Café De France has a menu to die for, Parisienne radio to groove to, and staff with accents to swoon over. Had it not been for the warmth of the sun the day I was there, I would have sworn I was lunching somewhere along the Normandy coastline.
Open for breakfast and lunch daily, with dinner served Thursday to Sunday, menu offerings include French toast (of course!) with roasted pistachios, caramel and apple compote; spiced honey bread with whipped salt caramel butter, shaved pear, and toasted walnuts; red snapper soufflé with cauliflower and saffron sauce; and the best damn croque-monsieur outside of Paris (seriously – it even had enough magic in it to cure the mother of all hangovers).
They're not yet licensed but will be soon. However in the meantime, grab a bottle of your favourite plonk and experience the closest thing to France this side of a 24 hour plane ride.