Although French seems like the obvious choice for F and therefore contrary to what the A – Z of international eating encourages, before this night I really couldn’t remember the last time I had been out to a French restaurant.
In order to choose our location, we had to have a French-restaurant-off, going through a list of pros and cons, the kind you used to make to compare your high school crushes. It came down to Boire and Moreton’s Brasserie, with Moreton’s Brasserie winning for reasons as trivial as the ones you used to decide which of your high school crushes was The One.
In the end we were thrilled with the choice. It felt like being in Paris, from the dimly lit surroundings, to the single chalkboard menu that made its way round to each table individually, to the strange odour out the back where the bathrooms were.
The hostess her self was perhaps a highlight for me. Her brash yet somehow caring and hospitable manner was distinctly French. It was the kind of attitude that said “I’m going to be a bit rude, but it is for your own good”. It took a bit of getting used to, but the attitude combined with the fact that she kept calling my 2 fellow diners (both male), my “darlings” (“ooh, I see you have two darlings!”) made for a very enjoyable experience. And that was just the service.
We kicked the night off with a pastis each, an aniseed flavoured liqueur which is served with water for you to add as you like. Very traditional and very cleansing.
As for the food, I know what you are wondering: did we brave the escargot? To which my response would be: mais bien sûr! My last memory of eating snails was when I went to France in 2001. We ate at L’Escargot D’Or (The Golden Snail) and as a thirteen year old, as far as I was concerned I was eating garlic flavoured rubber bands. But my experience at Moreton’s Brasserie was significantly different. These were tiny tender morsels of garlicky buttery goodness; we should have ordered another serve. The aforementioned buttery goodness did not go to waste either, with an endless supply of bread to lap up the left overs (and I wonder why I put on weight every time I go to Europe).
Following this was a smooth, flavoursome duck liver pâté, the côte de bœuf (translation: delicious of meat), wagyu steak and duck confit.
All dishes were excellent and we were pleasantly surprised by the green salad and french fries that came to the table as sides (the meat dishes were, after all, just meat on a wooden board – not that I’m complaining).
To finish of this wonderful meal, although I could hear the chocolate mousse calling my name in a near-irresistible French accent, the combination of red wine, French cheese and good company was too hard to beat.
Moreton’s Brasserie was a fantastically French experience with a welcomed Aussie twist (it is BYO). It was the most expensive letter to date, but well worth it if you’re in the mood.
Before we finally rolled out of the small eatery on Rathdowne St, with a curiosity which is uniquely European, our waitress couldn’t help but clarify, “which one is your actual darling?”