Thursday, March 30, 2006

France Soir

Introduction: Long regarded as one of Melbournes finest French restaurants, France Soir continues to thrive at 11 Toorak Rd South Yarra
Ambience: Noisy
crowded and bustling, filled with vitality. Heavy paper sheets cover the table cloths. Solid unexciting cutlery and no side plates make for considerably more space on the tables
Service: Efficient and friendly. Our obviously French waiter provided accurate explanations with some difficulty above the noise

Food: The menu is extensive and I will have to sample more of it. Last night we started with an very good entree of mussels mariniere in an excellent white wine sauce and a prawn quennelle in a superb cream sauce. Unfortunately the quennelles were much too firm. The roast pigeon with petit legumes in a light slightly sweet red sauce was beautifully prepared as was the roast duck served with a large bowl of pomme friites

The creme brullee, an extremely difficult dessert to get just right, proved to be too creamy and rather disappointing
Wine: Probably the best wine list in Victoria. It is presented in a large leather bound book!! We enjoyed a 2004 Palliser Pinot Gris BYO $10/bottle corkage but not on Saturday

Price: Very reasonable at about $55 for two courses for two

Comments: Traditional French without too many frills. The kitchen stays open 'till midnight so you can still get a good meal at 11.30 or even later

My estimation of France Soir has risen! The tripe in wine sauce was super - tender and very good taste, the rabbit casserole as good as any I have ever eaten. Tender not at all dry and with an excellent jus. The 'Filet de Boeuf' served warm blue, as ordered (most unusual in my experience) was also really excellent and the Il flottante dessert an improvement on the creme brullee
Revisited again! And not disappointed at all!!
Snails in garlic butter were unusually tender and tasty - not at all tough. Whole snapper retained its moistness and delicacy, Duck in orange sauce as good as it gets Filet of Hapuka also cooked perfectly. Side dishes are generous Beans in a butter sauce lightly cooked, spinach - satisfying for the most discriminating diner
Tart tatin excellent as was crepe suzzette
A Vouvray Pinot Noir ($55) went well with everything
Score: 16.5/20

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