A lovely friend offered to babysit my two year old boys (crazy? maybe… but thanks a million Gemma!), so my next thought was: where do I want to eat? I had previously tried to visit Le Cafe Gourmand but missed out on a Monday. I’m so glad I visited, and can’t wait to head back.
I’ve been to Paris twice (yes I’m a travel wanker / show off) and would desperately love to return. Why? It’s true what they say about joie de vivre, and I love that the French seem to revel in their food. No walking around and eating like we tend to as we rush around with our crazy busy-ness, yes there’s fast food but in general I felt there’s much more respect for taking time to eat good food. Plus the amazing boulangeries (bakeries – there is nothing like a true French baguette or pastry), respect for local ingredients, local street / farmers markets, people sitting watching the world going by at bistros, picnicking in the many parks or by the Seine, pride in regional specialities, need I go on? You get the picture. It feels to me it’s more about food and taking time than rushing and cramming in USA sized portions, which I think us Aussies tend to go glassy eyed over a bit too much.
Sorry, rant over. Back to Le Cafe Gourmand. Long (!) story short, I wanted to eat somewhere French and have something brunchy (look, it up, I’m sure it’s a word.. right?). I always do my research before dining anywhere these days as opportunities to dine out are few and far between. And I had read some rave reviews of this place, including home made desserts and fresh pastries. That in itself was almost enough to draw me there (the waft of a baking croissant or pan au chocolat can stop me in my tracks).
My sis and I arrived on a Saturday morning, were seated straight away by the friendly waiter and reviewed our menus. Our waiter told us that if we wanted to order pastries there was only one croissant and one pan au chocolat left, but more would be delivered in about 20 minutes. We decided to order a brekky each and hopefully leave room for the fresh batch of pastries. Speaking of sweets, we also noticed on the wall there was a list of house made desserts, each of which sounded amazing and enough reason to bring me back for lunch in future.
First off I ordered a coffee, which looked great but was unfortunately a bit disappointing. A bit of a burnt flavour in the coffee, so I put it aside and hoped for better when my meal arrived. Side note – why do some cafes on the GC nail coffee but their brekky isn’t good or vice versa? Second side note – I never bother complaining about coffee because inevitably they just produce a second one the same as the first. That’s a whole different post I think… to complain or not to complain?
I ordered Oeufs Cocotte (Egg in pot, $11.0), it arrived in a mini cast iron pot served on a board with some crunchy baguette slices. It was a perfect balance of creamy cauliflower puree, small slices of mushroom and spinach, with an egg perfectly cooked (soft) on top, sprinkled with a couple of tiny pieces of bacon. Not a breakfast for the big eater (but who cares when you’re trying to leave room for pastries) but I relished every bite. I’ve been getting into cauli puree at home actually, and it inspired me to add to my ‘must cook’ list.
My sis ordered the Le Cafe Gourmand’s Tartine: a mixture of Goat’s cheese, avocado, mushroom and poached egg on sourdough toast ($14.5) plus bacon ($4.0). She said it was a great blend of classic flavours and textures, the sourdough was also delicious.
Although we were both quite full, we couldn’t resist the promise of some pastries. We decided to share a croissant and pan au chocolate. Warm, crispy, soft, sweet, flaky deliciousness, served with a pat of creamy looking butter and some French Jam. That is all.
Whilst we were savouring our pastries, we noticed an omelette being taken to a customer nearby that looked amazing. This was further reinforced when the smell of truffles kept drifting over to our table. Next time I’m getting the omelette.
The service was great, our waiter knew the menu, was getting things done but not rushing which made us feel relaxed. It made me realise how harried it feels at some cafes with tables too close and people buzzing around. I think sitting at Le Cafe Gourmand with a paper would be a lovely way to start the morning… on one of those rare mornings when I’m not either working or wrangling my 2 year old boys. Siiiigh.