Step into a little slice of France in the city at Chez Marcel. It's nothing short of a little Parisian street out of a movie — from the live two-man band, stone pavement and glow of streetlights, the scene is set even before you step inside.
Chez Marcel is a charming crepêrie and the brainchild of Edouard Le Goff who also runs the French eatery Le Chef, just steps away. Working with head chef Fabien Bravo, the menu has a selection of galettes (savoury buckwheat crepês) and indulgent sweet crepe options. Whatever you choose is undeniably authentic, with imported cheeses or ingredients made in-house, and a meal not to be underestimated.
Every galette is made to order, with cheeses that come melted and hot, encased in a fluffy, thin pancake with crisp edges, topped with a handful of mixed greens. The portion sizes are not to be underestimated, with generous servings of just about everything, each and every plate is big and hearty.
The classic La Compléte ($17) with Emmental cheese, ham, egg and mushrooms is a trusty option, and for those feeling a little more adventurous, the La Montagnarde ($18.5) comes with sliced potatoes, raclette cheese and generous slices of prosciutto. Don't miss asking about the chef's special, either. The La Spécial Du Jour ($20) of the day was a seasoned chicken, fresh tomato and cheese galette, where all the elements played off one another perfectly. They also offer extras to level up your crepe, including a variety of cheese including goat, Emmental and blue, salmon and a runny egg that will make the perfect Sunday breakfast addition.
This is one spot to save room for dessert. With a whole page of the menu dedicated to the love of sweet crepês, they range from the Les Classiques Nutella, jam or sugar variations, to the standout La Tatin ($15) which was a pillowy crepê with caramelised apples, cinnamon inside and caramel ice cream, lashings of salted butter, grilled almonds and whipped cream. There's no doubt Chez Marcel is big on indulgence. From the apples soaked in caramel sauce, to the grilled almonds as the final touch, no matter what combination of elements the fork managed to pick up, it continued to surprise and delight.
It's comfort food but not like we know it. With expert care and love in every plate, Chez Marcel is a welcome addition to the French cuisine scene in Auckland.