A charming stalwart of Elliot Stables, Torchon French Creperie is a guaranteed good time. The butternut interior with vintage orangina posters and so on is a toasty and inviting ticket to the familiar territory of French café land. Correct, this is well and truly a 'character' restaurant cashing in on French cultural cheese. And I buy it every time.
An established mid-town spot, Torchon is a quick stroll away from the Aotea Centre and the Civic for a pre-show snack or a cheeky dessert crêpe after. There's an array of French culinary basics on the menu from the humble but mighty croque monsieur to escargots, but the crêpes are definitely the stars. On a recent visit I was captured hostage by the forestière after a whiff of my neighbour's plate, and in an instant all my good intentions of 'just' having a dessert crêpe went out the window. This savoury buckwheat galette generously filled with sautéed mushrooms in a white wine cream sauce is absolutely delicious and a steal at $12.50. There are loads of other yummy savoury options, most featuring fromage of at least one variety. You can add a salad for $1.50 to counteract the cheese sweats if you really feel it's necessary.
Here is just about the only place in Auckland where it's completely valid to eat a savoury and then a dessert crêpe in quick succession (although not guaranteed physically feasible). You must not pass on the dessert crêpe. If you're not that hungry, skip dinner and head straight there, il faut. France's beloved crêpe au nutella is always good yardstick by which to measure the calibre of a creperie, and Torchon's is good; oozing that heavenly hazelnut nectar and showered lovingly with toasted almonds. For a textural slash taste eruption opt for the pear-filled crêpe, concealing a big ball of vanilla ice cream within its folds. Or the citrus-embued crêpe suzette doused in Grand Manier and torched for a bit of drama (watch the hair). The French are sticklers for set menus and Torchon is no exception. For just $23.50 you can get two courses.
The Frenchy staff are cool and happy to chat. Don't come for silver service, that's not really their thang (like most real cafés in France). Come for good crêpe, and good crêpe you shall get.