Être comme un coq en pâte (being like a rooster in dough – it means feeling cosy and pampered, being in a state of absolute contentment, with one’s every need catered to).
~ French idiom (see Clotilde’s post here)

When people say the French are charming, they aren’t exaggerating. I may, like the most adamant of the anti-French, associate them with the quality of arrogance, or French food with wide hips (never mind what Mireille Guiliano says), or parts of Paris with depressing and dirty streets; but when it comes down to it – I often say oui before non.

Can’t help it.

Some of the richest moments I have experienced would not have been possible without the French. I can testify to the lyrical beauty of their language; the charm of their men (okay, maybe just one, once upon a time); oh, and everything they say about their pastries (when you find a good place) is true.

See here a humble-looking slice of tarte aux pommes? I bought this in a tiny boulangerie-pâtisserie in Paris when I was there with Nish in December… the lady squinted at me, but then burst into a beam when I muttered some form of an order – I think I said “Je voudrais une tarte aux pommes, s’il vous plaît” (some day I will learn how to speak French) and I know it’s just a tart – but this is one of the fondest memories I hold of Paris. Magic on a paper plate.

I probably love tarte aux pommes in Paris as much as some women love the idea of falling in love in Paris.

So anyway, where was I? See, I’m losing myself again. Oh, right. L’Assiette. I was going to blog about L’Assiette. Yesterday, the sky sighed with grey and pregnant clouds so Tracey and I ducked into L’Assiette for brunch. What a good place to hide :-)

Located on Britomart Place, this whimsical little cafe boasts a fun and simple menu covering the essentials like crêpes, terrine, a hearty breakfast, and croque monsieur – along with an attractive selection of cabinet nibbles. I was glad the menu wasn’t too long, because it would have been impossible to decide what to order. It all sounded delicious!

In the end, Tracey and I both opted for croque madame, and cups of coffee (Tracey – mocha, me – long black). Coffee arrived, strong and robust, with a Hershey’s kiss on the side… which made me like them even more (such a nice touch when coffee comes with a little treat on the side!) – and the croque madame was just what I hoped it would be. Observers might have called my brunch a perfect ham and cheese grilled sandwich, crowned with mornay sauce, a fried egg and plated alongside crisp balsamic-kissed lettuce… but I’d say that croque madame, well done, is not quite plain ol’ ham and cheese toast. It’s comfort, comfort, comfort, hugging you tight.

We ended our meal with a sweet macaron each before it was time to leave and run errands…

And now I know that while my next trip to France is probably many months away, I can pop into L’Assiette for a dollop of French sunshine whenever. Or rather, whenever I can find a seat – it’s been full the last few times I walked past!

L’Assiette – 9 Britomart Place, Auckland – Phone: 09 309 0961


9 responses to “L’Assiette

  1. Oh, what a treasure! THREE blog posts from Mel! Oarsome +) Love reading and you’ve definitely got the story-telling spin back!

    And charming Frenchmen, aye *wink* Not to mention other French speaking men…hahahah

  2. What great photos. I want the food and that shelf too!

  3. I had the bite of memory in Paris too. Apple tart. Cheap, plenty and chic. :)
    There is a French in all of us, unfortunately I found it truly embarrassing to introduce myself in French with such a cliche` French name.
    Hope you’ve got to rewind your memory lanes soon.

  4. This is such a lovely post, I know exactly what you mean – and I will hunt out L’Assiette when I’m next in Auckland. Merveilleux, milles mercis!

  5. I have heard of this cafe and will certainly check it out next time I am in the city. I love France and everything French and when traveling there we try our best with the language and find everyone very friendly.

  6. we’ve just been home to nz and had an amazing meal at escargot’s in new plymouth, its been there forever, not quite paris but just divine x

  7. Paul – yeah… whatever!

    Rufus – I know, I wish I had them in my flat too!

    Pierre – I think you have an awesome name! Keep it.

    Anne – come up and have a coffee with me!

    Allison – :-)

    Satch – hehe, yes unfortunately Paris is a little far away… nice to have these places here that can bring a bit of Paris to us!

  8. Pingback: L’Assiette – post #2 | treehousekitchen

  9. Pingback: Embracing the spirit of French cooking | treehousekitchen

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