We have the French to thank for a lot of brilliant things: some of the world’s greatest wine, most delicious cheese, bready delights like croissants and baguettes, sweet treats like crêpes and soufflé, a musical called Les Misérables and a few of history’s biggest fashion legends, like Karl Lagerfeld and his cat Choupette, for example.
With this culinary country’s national day coming up, there is a lot to celebrate from our corner of the world—and happily—a bunch of Sydney venues to get in on the Bastille Day spirit. It’s all about tasty, hearty winter food, wearing berets if you must, and really, really good wine (read: Côtes du Rhône).
Here are all the best spots in Sydney to practice your French, bellow "Les Marseilles" and celebrate the wonderful day that is Bastille Day this year.
A massive Bastille Day festival is taking over the entirety of Circular Quay and The Rocks for four days in the lead up to and across Bastille Day weekend. The tagline for the festival is “Revolution in The Rocks”, so hit the harbour to get in on some French-style fun. There’ll be mulled wine chalets, French cider bars, a champagne and oyster bar, a Bastille Wine Walk, a gourmet produce alley and a Parisian foodie village. While you’re there, check out The Rocks' epic Christmas markets too. Get more details and tickets here.
Bistro Papillon is easily one of Sydney’s most authentic French restaurants—right down to the escargot, the wine list and the traditional coq au vin. They’ve stepped things up a notch or two for this year’s “Fete Nationale”, offering not just one, but three special five-course feasts across three days to celebrate (meaning, if you’re busy on the 14th of July, you won’t miss out on this epic French food party). Book in for dinner on Friday the 12th or Saturday the 13th of July, or opt for a hearty lunch on Sunday instead. On the menu are classics like French onion soup, house charcuterie (including chicken liver parfait), duck and pork cassoulet and a perfect crème brulee. Be quick and book your place here.
Four Frogs Crêperie
Circular Quay, Mosman, Lane Cove and Randwick
This Bastille Day head to any one of the Four Frogs Crêperies for your chance to try their black truffle galette. Made with freshly grated black truffle, prosciutto, swiss cheese and an egg, this dish sold out in only hours last year. If truffle isn’t your style, this French establishment is promoting four brand new flavours for July only. On the menu is an escargot galette, a black forest crêpe, a goat’s cheese galette and a Mont blanc crêpe. Honestly, they all sound insanely delicious. Head here for more information.
Loluk is known for their glorious bottomless specials, and for Bastille, they will be playing host to the flavours of the lavender-lined Provence region. No hints yet as to what the menu might involve, but here's hoping it'll be Provence icons like ratatouille, tapenade, bouillabaisse and even a niçoise salad. Head in with your crew for lunch or dinner and bear witness to some of the tastiest French flavours this side of Sydney. Book for Sunday 14 July here.
Felix is hospitality juggernaut Merivale’s French lead. Located on Ash Street in the CBD, Felix’s detailed traditional brasserie-style interiors are second to none in Sydney, and the authentic, decadent French fare packs a punch too, so you’ll really feel like you’ve stepped into the heart of the 11th arrondissement in Paris (arguably where some of the city’s best dining spots are). For Bastille Day, Felix is offering a special a la carte menu featuring French favourites like chicken liver pâté, gruyere soufflé, duck leg Ballantine and steak frites. Book a spot here.
Alexandria and Oatley
This Bastille Day the legends at Bitton have created a menu that is full of the traditional trimmings of a French meal, plus a little French music to get you in the mood. Start off with rolled beef carpaccio and truffle aioli, and lead into fish soup and roasted duck. But the real winner here is the chocolate fondant to share amongst the table, filled with salted caramel, french vanilla ice cream, praline and orange syrup. You’ve never tasted anything like this before. Book for Sunday 14 July here.
Pitched on Sydney’s northernmost peninsula is Frenchies Brasserie. Head chef Fabian Oliveau will be whipping up classic French culinary delights, paired with exquisite drops of wine straight from France. A four-course menu is in the works, including blue swimmer crab and prawn bisque, hiramasa kingfish with braised leeks and even a mousse au chocolat to end it all. Book for Saturday 13 July here.
While you're here, check out Sydney's best Sunday roasts.
Image credit: Four Frogs Crêperie.