When you walk into a restaurant and the heady scent of sizzling butter heralds your entrance, you know you're in for a good time. And a good time is certainly what the team at Garçon intends for you.
Taking over the space previously home to the CBD outpost of Entrecôte, Garçon is the epitome of an eighties Parisian bistro — both in feel and food. It's cool here. If the capital city's je ne sais quoi attitude was a venue, Garçon would be it.
And, lucky for us, chef Matt Franklin, previously of Geelong's Le Parisien, is nailing the food, too. Start off with Champagne and oysters ($4 each) — you're in a Parisian bistro, after all. You'll want to order extra aged red wine shallot vinaigrette, too, it's that good.
The rest of the starters are a lineup of France's greatest hits: escargots de Bourgogne ($18), swimming in glorious garlic butter; spiced beef croquettes ($14) with dijon mustard; a pissaladière ($12), which brings much more to the table than its simple onion, anchovy and olive tart descriptor might suggest; and a Gippsland angus beef tartare ($24) served with an organic egg yolk and pommes gaufrette.
The Niçoise salad ($24) may be one of the lushest versions you'll find this side of the Mediterranean, featuring hot-smoked New Zealand salmon instead of the traditional tuna. All of these pair well with a glass of either the Tournon 'Mathilda' rosé grenache ($9) or the label's marsanne viognier ($9)— both from the Victorian Pyrenees.
Then it's time for the star of the show: the steak frites ($39.50). A mighty Great Southern 250-gram angus porterhouse served with thinly cut fries, café de paris butter and a soft-leaf salad. Not many combinations go together as well as a perfectly grilled and slightly smoky steak and salty and crunchy shoestring fries. Match this delectable duo with a glass of Heathcote's Tellurian 'Tranter' shiraz ($17) and you'll be set.
It wouldn't be a Parisian bistro without lemon tart ($17), profiteroles ($17) or crème brûlée ($17) and, thankfully, you'll find all three on the menu. If you wish for a perfect dessert when cracking through the brûlée's delicate caramel, it'll be granted immediately.
Images: Griffin Simm