Three French restaurants to visit this July 14
As our Instagram feeds continue to fill with those who managed to escape the Canberra winter, we find ourselves faced with the return of Euro Summer Envy (ESE).
But this July 14, let’s gather at our local French restaurant and get out of our cold funk. We asked Franck Leonhardt, French resident, teacher at the Alliance Française and responsible for Ainslie IGA cheese, how we could better embrace our French spirit and take our taste buds somewhere slightly warmer (and with as much power, you know that you can trust him). Here is liberty, equality, fraternity…. and the power of French cuisine.
The Very Good (Bungendore)
As the oldest French restaurant in the Canberra area, Le Très Bon is worth the 35-minute drive from the capital. Its exposed brick fireplace and licked vermilion tablecloths are inherently French, allowing you to transcend borders in the heart of Paris.
Its interior creates a cozy setting perfect for tasting the culinary creations of chef Christophe Grégoire and its winter menu pays homage to tradition while playing with seasonal strata and delicate flavors. The cauliflower velouté is a creamy mixture of cauliflower and white leek, a delicacy for the mistress of Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour. Each mouthwatering bite is filled with late 18th century nostalgia and prickly moments of creamy, aromatic cauliflower.
Taking us to the southwest of France, cassoulet is what Franck describes as a perfect winter dish. Fragrant white beans mingle with stewed meats. It’s a hearty dish that will warm both your bones and your heart, the kind of meal that will bring out your inner French citizen. Le Très Bon is a note of love for French cuisine and memories firmly rooted in tradition.
40 Malbon Street, Bungendore | letresbon.com
While most of us cannot celebrate this July 14 by frolicking in the streets of the Champs-Elysées, Ondine is undoubtedly the best thing to do. In the hands of Chef Keaton McDonnell, Ondine will tantalize your taste buds with deep layers of traditional French flavors. It’s the epitome of balance, unexpected details and surprising combinations – a place where dishes are perfectly at home in a warmly lit European bistro ambiance that makes you want to pause momentarily, soaking up of every detail.
If you’re overwhelmed by the menu, Franck points us towards the beef bourguignon paired with the life-changing Parisian mash and French peas. This dish of salty buttery goodness and rich red wine flavors will transport you straight to 20th century France, steeped in French tradition and identity. And it wouldn’t be the 14th of July without the snails bathed in café de Paris butter — with the temperament of true freedom
fighter, we encourage you to be brave and try. The Parisian vanilla bean crème brûlée is a no-brainer – a smooth, sweet finish after a night of groundbreaking favors.
7 Duff Square, Deakin | ondine.com
The Bistronomes (Campbell)
As its name suggests, Les Bistronomes is full of duality. This is a place where casual dining happily blends with the sophistication and class of a fine dining experience. Chef and owner Clément Chauvin enjoys a fierce reputation throughout the ACT, spearheading an authentic dining experience that rivals any in France itself.
Here, even the harshest critics are disarmed by the complex and subtle combinations of traditional French flavors. Signature dishes such as beef tartare and duck à l’orange remain on the menu year-round for those who want to experience July 14 more than once a year. The chateaubriand is Franck’s recommendation – a filet mignon roast oozing with robust beef flavor.
“Chateaubriand is divine. It’s a beautiful and very creative plate.
Their truffle-laden four-course tasting menu on July 14 will go all the way down the line of elegance and history, from scallop carpaccio (carpaccio of scallops and truffles, with a hazelnut vinaigrette) to profiteroles to sweeten the palace. It’s also important to note that their wide variety of cheeses have Franck’s approval.
Les Bistronomes has a certain je-ne-sais-quoi that will keep you coming back – a beautiful and delicious tribute to the French way of life.
18 Place Blamey, Campbell | lesbistronomes.net