Yuye and I ate at France Soir for dinner two nights ago out of complete impulse. Despite being a Monday night, France Soir was fully booked out. I may have just booked the last available table actually (just in time too as we only made the booking at about 6:30pm for an 8pm start) and saw a long line of people waiting at the bar for a table shortly after we arrived for our meal.
The waiters were very friendly, attentive and reasonably efficient given how busy they were. In the photo is Jacques who was very nice and so was Jean Noel, the other waiter who served us on the night (I love France Soir’s website :D). The only thing that I didn’t quite like was how cramped and loud the place was. The customers next to us had to manoeuvre their table to get in and out and most people had to yell in order to be heard by their companions. Regardless of this, it was a nice and friendly bistro atmosphere and the noise certainly didn’t affect our enjoyment for the fine food.
Like any other good French restaurant, we were given complimentary French baguette bread with butter at the beginning of the meal. I quite liked France Soir’s bread – the outside was crunchy and inside still fluffy.
We decided to get two reds this time (even though we’re not big wine drinkers) to get into the whole feel of the place. I got Jacques’ suggestion (to go with our mains) – 2006 Pezat Bordeaux made in Bordeaux for $13.00 a glass and Yuye got the house red, 2006 Domaine Galus made in Rhone Valley for $10. I know mine was a cabernet sauvignon but we had no idea what Yuye’s was. Both of course were imported wines from France and both were very good. We liked my one more though :). The wine in the picture is the Pezat.
We’ve been to France Soir before and last time we ordered all meaty entrees and mains which was a huge mistake (we were way too full). This time we were more cautious so Yuye ordered the escargots ($19.00) and I got the scallop carpaccio ($18.50). The escargots were beautifully cooked. I must admit, I do tend to picture them when they were alive while I’m eating them so I can’t say I’m the biggest fan. However! These were actually very tasty! Just the right saltiness soaked in a whole lot of butter. I’d recommend this more than Chez Oliver’s as it wasn’t as well salted.
The scallop carpaccio was just superb! The raw scallop pieces were cut very thin and melted in my mouth. Its natural sweetness and the sauce’s slight lemon zest tingled my taste buds. It wasn’t a filling dish but it totally expanded my appetite (not sure if this was a good thing or bad thing…:S).
I must say, after tasting such wonderful entrees, I was expecting a bit more from the mains. Yuye’s Magret de canard, pommes sautées ($35) which is a whole duck breast with sauteed potatoes was quite nice. Although the duck was slightly overcooked (just slightly) it was still full of flavour and there was a lot of sauce to cover for any dryness in the meat. The duck must have been quite small though because there wasn’t that much meat on the dish. Potatoes were also very good, soft and flavoursome, it complimented the duck very well.
My pork cut of the day was not as nice. Like many other French restaurants, France Soir doesn’t offer a set pork menu item. The pork of the day was Cote de porc an fennel petits legumes for $33.50. It was basically pork cooked with fennel and asparagus. Not only did it not really have a sauce, but the pork was totally and utterly overcooked. I had to dip the pork in Yuye’s duck sauce to give it any flavour. I’m aware that pork is a difficult dish to get right but I think a restaurant that can serve a nice pork dish can really show off their culinary skills. Maybe I was expecting too much so I was quite disappointed after having this dish. I did like the cooked veggies though.
I was happy that I wasn’t too full to have dessert that day. Because I tasted the best dessert EVER! *gloating and mouth watering*…I ordered the Profiteroles au chocolat (chocolate profiteroles) for $13.50. Looking at the photo is making me cringe with craving. It was total chocolate heaven (but not too sweet!). As I took a bite, the warm dark chocolate sauce covered my mouth while the beautiful vanilla bean ice cream inside oozed out of the soft and airy pastry. The combination is indescribable. Yuye ate one and I ate two as well as polishing off all the chocolate sauce on the plate.
Yuye ordered the dessert of the day – creme caramel, also for $13.50. This was also a heavenly dessert with perfectly cooked caramel and not even a hint of burnt sugar. The custard is soft and silky (but not too sweet again) and glided down my throat with such grace. It’s unfortunate that this is a special of the day so I can’t actually say ‘highly recommended!’ because it might not be on the menu when you go.
We ordered 2 coffees to go with the desserts, I got a cappuccino and Yuye got a latte which were both very good. We normally order coffees because the desserts are too sweet and we need to wash our mouth with the bitterness of the coffee. However, this was unnecessary at France Soir, the desserts were all just made to perfection! I was so happy that I actually forgot to drink my coffee until I had finished the profiteroles.
On a side note, I actually dropped my iphone in the restaurant as I was leaving because I had put my bag under the table due to the lack of space. While I was fumbling for my wallet, the phone must have dropped out. Anyway, I called the phone at about 1am and one of the waiters picked up with his beautiful French accent. I was quite happy that the phone wasn’t lost and was also surprised that they were still around at such late hour! France Soir sure is a good place for a late meal.
Overall a very friendly and authentic restaurant. Although I was quite disappointed with my pork main, the wonderful desserts and entrees more than made up for it. I would suggest getting one of their steaks or lambs instead of pork, and DEFINITELY try the profiterole.
Phone: (03) 9866 8569
11 Toorak Rd, South Yarra 3141