La Cloche, the much-loved café on Featherston, has now opened a new branch on The Terrace. With its perfect expression of what's good about French food, there's a high chance you'll enjoy absolutely anything you choose from the capsule menu or beautiful glassfronted pastry cabinet.
We turned up for lunch for La Cloche 2.0's second day. The location looks small, but deceivingly fits quite a few people in the dim and cool dining area toward the back of the space — a welcome respite from the hot sun outside. Lunching couples and groups of friends were in fine form, as well as the almost consistent line at the counter for takeaway coffees, salads, cakes and pastries.
We took up our menus and perused. I ordered a beetroot-hued juice (it wasn't just beetroot-hued, beetroot was a primary ingredient) ($5.50) and my lunching partner went for a climate-appropriate cold brew ($4.50). After a bit of a squizz we decided to go for an overarching salmon theme; me with a salmon quiche and side dish of dressed greens ($12.50 for quiche, $3.50 for greens), and he with a salmon baguette plate ($16.50). Can I talk about the salmon baguette plate first? It was delicious. Like a deconstructed salmon sandwich, great lengths of warm halved French baguette and rolls of sliced salmon lay beside a bowl of the most delicious creme fraiche-like spread. Packed to the gunnels with fresh dill, the spread was the perfect adhesive for the salmon to the baguette, and a squeeze of lemon didn't go amiss either. My quiche was exactly what I felt like: softened fried leek and salmon in an egg quiche and pastry that was perfectly cooked, never cloying and not too jiggly. Perfectly done. And the greens were perfectly dressed with a classic French dressing and some pickled onions and seeds for crunch. I forget how good a simple salad can be as a side, but La Cloche makes a fine case for doing it regularly.
If you go to La Cloche for lunch (or indeed any meal), you're going for the pastries. You have to get one (or at least take one away for later). I tried a beautiful opera cake that looked like a piece of layered plywood and tasted like coffee-tinged heaven. My lunching partner, ever the copy cat in terms of flavours went for a beautifully domed coffee cheesecake with a perfectly crunchy biscuit base and hints of caramel throughout.
La Cloche, you have our hearts. Long may you reign over The Terrace's breakfast and lunchtime eating options.