The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane's best French restaurants
The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane's best French restaurants
The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane's best French restaurants
The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane's best French restaurants
The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane's best French restaurants
The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane's best French restaurants
The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane's best French restaurants

The round-up: celebrate the finer things at Brisbane’s best French restaurants

We subscribe to the notion that food is a primary reason for being. Out of all of the historic European-born cuisines, perhaps French food reflects this mentality the most. In French cooking, indulgence is intrinsic to its character – rich and hearty flavours abound, creating plates that evoke warmth, nostalgia, ecstasy and contentment in equal measure. This intense sensory response is probably what makes French cuisine popular globally and we’re fortunate enough to boast some terrific French-inspired eateries here in Brisbane. Here’s some of the best …

Montrachet, Bowen Hills: Few restaurants are as synonymous with French cuisine as Montrachet – the heralded eatery has sat atop the pinnacle of Brisbane’s restaurant scene since it opened in Paddington in 2004. Montrachet has been owned and operated by internationally lauded chef Shannon Kellam and his wife Clare since 2015, and the couple have continued to rack up accolade after accolade while instigating a relocation of the restaurant to King Street. Montrachet’s front-of-house staff cater to every whim with alacrity, capably ferrying plates of French onion soup with gruyere toast, double-baked souffle with crab meat, brined and slow-cooked Central Coast duck with creamed artichoke, pan-roasted Dorper lamb rack young turnip blanquette, and Shannon’s signature dessert – a Grand Marnier brulée with passionfruit curd, chocolate hazelnut praline mousse and strawberry sorbet.

La Cache à Vin, Spring Hill: Before he opened this exquisite subterranean restaurant and wine store, La Cache à Vin founder Thierry Galichet was head honcho at Montrachet – so you know he has a formidable pedigree when it comes to French hospitality. Now owned and operated by lauded chef Dan Arnold and Romain Maunier La Cache à Vin continues to draw influence from the subterranean cellars of Burgundy, offering a menu of Lyonnaise-influenced dishes like pâté en croute (classic pork terrine with foie gras wrapped in pastry), deep-fried crumbed lambs’ brains with tomato Bearnaise sauce, pork loin on the bone and confit potatoes served with choucroute and mustard sauce, and roasted quail pasta gratin with celeriac and speck, mornay sauce and tarragon jus. You’d be remiss to not check out the wine list – there are some drops here you’re not likely to find elsewhere.

C’est Bon, Woolloongabba: Self-described as an authentic French quarter situated in the heart of Wolloongabba, C’est Bon is a multi-faceted abode that offers everything from breakfast bites through to evening digestifs. Inside sits a chic and elegant restaurant, bar and private cellar, while outside guests can soak up the ambience on the garden terrasse or rooftop bar. C’est Bon’s a la carte menu, crafted by head chef Andy Ashby, features duck parfait eclairs, gnocchi a la Parisienne, John Dory en papillote, confit smoked a l’orange Wollemi duck leg, and Gâteau opéra – all perfectly on point.

Hervé’s Restaurant and Bar, Albion: Craft’d Grounds’ striking French-inspired restaurant is the brainchild of Hervé Dudognon, a sommelier and front-of-house maestro who is working with husband-and-wife chef duo Chris and Alex Norman to deliver a menu of French-inspired treasures. Menu highlights include hand-cut black Angus steak tartare, duck rillet, chartreuse-cured ocean trout with rosti potato, fromage blanc and smoked salmon caviar, and Australian shellfish bouillabaisse. A wine showcases small environmentally conscious winemakers and vineyards from Australia and abroad – though oenophiles that like to travel via their tastebuds will no doubt be intrigued by a full page of organic Corsican wines.

Bisou Bisou, Fortitude Valley: In France, ‘un bon repas doit commencer par la faim’. Sorry, that means ‘a good meal starts with hunger’. A commonsense notion, sure, but it holds a special weight when referring to Bisou Bisou. The menu that the Ghanem Group’s flirty French bistro is loaded with indulgent flavours and the portions here are substantial. The a la carte menu highlights honest French staples, from chicken-liver parfait with prune jam and classic pot-cooked mussels served with a crusty baguette, to rotisserie chicken drenched in your choice of chestnut, Bearnaise, beurre noisette or Madeira sauce.

Aquitaine, South Bank: This riverside brasserie deftly pairs its elegant surrounds with a menu of sumptuous classic and contemporary French eats (and a stellar wine list, to boot). Aquitaine’s menu draws influence from the famed southwestern prefecture L’Aquitaine, with a la carte and degustation options available. Guests can sit down to a feast of sous vide white Pyrenees lamb eye of the loin, gnocchi niçoise, fresh local seafood bouillabaisse and 120-Day grain-fed, dray-aged angus côte de boeuf with some great views of the city skyline on the side.

Banc Brasserie & Wine Bar, Brisbane City: Sitting pretty on the ground floor of the six-storey Bank of New South Wales Building on Queen Street Mall, Banc Brasserie & Wine Bar is a glamorous nosh spot imbued with the timeless style of European brasseries, with a menu of indulgent French-inspired fare to match. Not only will you find classics such as beef tartare, duck parfait and steak frites, but you’ll also spy Brisbane Valley quail roulade, market fish with asparagus and lemon myrtle beurre blanc, and wild-mushroom risotto with a drizzle of truffle oil. And the wines? You best believe Banc has a vault worth of top drops to choose from.

South City Wine, Woolloongabba: The Talisman Group’s take on a classic European wine bar, South City Wine looks like it could have been transported from the streets of Paris to South City Square. Nestle inside the old-world Parisian-inspired interior and enjoy venison tartare with quail egg, escargots à la Bourguignonne swimming in garlic butter, fish du jour a la meunier, and duck breast a l’orange with potato mille feuille. Being a wine bar, South City Wine’s shelves are laden with an assortment of bottles from around the globe. Keeping to the French theme, expect to find drops from the country’s heralded growing regions, plenty of French rosé and lots of champagne.

Le Coin, Red Hill: Bringing a slice of French bistro culture to Red Hill is gorgeous corner locale Le Coin, which offers locals something for breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus snacks, of course). Highlights include the delightfully crispy tarte flambee (a French riff on the pizza that’s best shared with pals), salad nicoise, sizzling snails with garlic-herb butter, classic French onion soup, Dijon-marinated spatchcock, poission en papillots and cote de boeuf.

La Belle Vie Bistro, Bardon: Perched in the leafy hills of Bardon, La Belle Vie is all about living up to its namesake and celebrating ‘the good life’. The team does this via its menu infused with passion and quality ingredients, executed by an experienced team led by head chef Samuel Perrin, who was trained by the famed Alain Ducasse. La Belle Vie’s a la carte menu features entrees like foie gras with artisanal brioche toast and fig preserve, and pan-seared scallops with Tahitian vanilla infused oil, as well as mains such as pan-fried Brisbane Valley quail breasts with forestière sauce, grilled lobster tail with creamy saffron sauce, and artisanal gnocchi pan-fried in butter and garlic.

MICA, Newstead: Part patisserie and part brasserie, MICA at the Breakfast Creek Lifestyle Precinct is a sensational spot for those after a French-inspired pastry or breakfast bite. Saunter in for freshly baked croissants and olive fougasse, or snag a seat and tuck into the likes of pain perdu (thick-sliced brioche pan-fried and rolled in anise sugar with mandarin compote), croque monsieur, and buche de chevre.

Haig Road Bistro, Auchenflower: The fare at this neo-French bistro is the epitome of hearty. Head chef Selma Pourbaix’s beef bourguignon, pork tenderloin with butternut pumpkin and cavolo nero, and glazed crepe with Grand Marnier sauce and ice-cream are simply to die for. You can’t go wrong with any choice, especially if you’ve got a glass of French champagne or heady red from Bordeaux within reach.

Boucher Bistro, Graceville: Get cosy and treat yourself to some phenomenal bistro delights at charming neighbourhood eatery Boucher. We’re talking French classics like steak au poivre, chateaubriand for two with Lyonnaise potatoes and roast carrots, an bouillabaisse, plus red-wine-braised octopus, twice-baked Roquefort cheese souffle, and steak tartare. An on-site champagne and wine bar stocks bottles of vino from storied wine regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Alsace and Bourgogne, so we suggest ordering a bottle to really elevate your experience.

The French Table, Cleveland: One of Brisbane’s best kept secrets is The French Table – a bayside gem and hub of French culinary delights. The menu is worth spending a minute or three browsing – we guarantee you’ll be tempted to get an appetiser (baguette with truffle butter), entree (whole roasted camembert with onion chutney), plat principal (two-way pork belly with herb croquettes or ratatouille ravioli) and dessert (creme brulee or Paris-brest). When it comes to French food, you can’t have too much of a good thing!

The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Brisbane dining guide with more than 2400 places to eat, drink, shop and play.


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