A few nights ago, T, K and L gave me a fantastic birthday present – a night with them at The French Café! Before I talk about the food, I’d just like to make a note of the high level of professionalism of their waiting staff. They did not laugh or show contempt when I, en route to the ladies’, performed a most distasteful fall in the middle of their establishment (my foot ensnared by the strap of my handbag). I fell on an awkward one-knee bend before the waiter who thankfully did not perceive my fall to be an impromptu proposal. The entire restaurant fell silent for a few seconds – and upon being asked if I was ok, I managed only to wave and sing “sorry, everyone!” before hurrying to my original destination.
In hindsight… perhaps I should have curtsied instead?
Anyway. The food. That’s what you came here to read about, right? It was a pleasure to eat here.
We pored over the menu for a long time… so many tasty-sounding options! In the end, T and I opted for a first and second course (the equivalent of one mini-entree and one entree) while K and L opted for a third course (one main). We were served a complimentary amuse bouche of warm goats’ cheese croquettes and pea soup, and sourdough rolls with homemade butter.
My favourite course was the butter-poached crayfish with braised oxtail, jerusalem artichoke and parsley oil. Did you know that crayfish and oxtail go together like egg and toast? I didn’t, either. They’re like my idea of a great couple – two whole people, different as night and day, coming together to form a third whole entity. Light and creamy crayfish and tender and rich oxtail are so good together! Combined with the other elements on the plate, the course was MMMMM-ness.
I also had the chicken liver parfait – which was smooth, pronounced liver encased in a crisp nougatine cannelloni shell, served atop some pear relish and apple caramel. This was very well done, but I think someone who enjoys stronger flavours like liver and goats’ cheese and has a sweet tooth would really appreciate it much more than I did.
Oh, and dessert – see below – beautiful, uh? This is their vacherin of poached cherries with honey, vanilla cream, lavender and cherry syrup. A delicate triple decker meringue sandwich laced with sweet poached cherries and vanilla cream, topped with a pretty sprig of lavender… complemented by a scoop of nourishing honey ice cream. A sweet finish.
A glass of mellow European red (Beaurenard rasteau from the Côtes du Rhône region) accompanied all courses for me, it’s not so bad being a slow drinker… get to enjoy it all throughout dinner!
Merci beaucoup, ladies, for a very special evening! :-)
The French Café – 210 Symonds Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland – Phone:
09 377 1911