When faced with Montrachet's cheery façade on Given Terrace, you may be inclined to drop in for a quick coffee – don't. It's not that the coffee here isn't good, but they aren't in the business of providing 'just a coffee' and staff will tell you so, as politely as possible. Montrachet's strict meal service stance, and $39 minimum (mains start at $42) may smack of elitism to some, but it is an example of Montrachet's supreme self-assuredness and commitment to preserving a lovingly crafted brasserie atmosphere.
There is a conviction and a confidence about Montrachet, in its trend defying menu, unabashedly francocentric wine list, resistance to flashy marketing campaigns, and their decision to not open on Friday nights, or on Saturday and Sunday at all.
A plush red leather sofa takes up the length of the restaurant, with white clothed tables pushed up against it, to be pulled out as necessary. Copper fixtures, marble and wood unite to create a warm and inviting effect. More to the point, this considered but boisterous combination of colours and finishes gives Montrachet a convincing Parisian atmosphere.
A decade-old this year, the restaurant, founded by chef Thierry Galichet, holds a special place in the hearts of Brisbane Francophiles, a fact for which the Soufflé aux Crabe et Gruyère is largely accountable. Though other dishes may come and go from the menu, this double baked soufflé with crab meat and gruyère cheese, finished with a light cream sauce, is stalwart. On any given visit, you will see plenty of these gracing the tables of fellow patrons, as well as yours if you're clever. Wonderfully rich in flavour and light in texture, this alone makes a visit worthwhile.
It also appears to be a permanent fixture on the degustation menu, which this season sees it appear alongside a bevy of delectable dishes, including the Carré d'Agneau (baked rack of lamb with fresh French tarragon sauce and potato mash with fresh corn, peas and speck) and the Entremet au Chocolat Truffé (silky dark chocolate and cognac ganâche with crème anglaise).