Thursday, September 3, 2009

Le Grand Brunch at Le Grand Café

I knew I would visit Le Grand Café, but little did I know that it would the day after reading about it at
Not Quite Nigella! This café is run by the folks from Bécasse restaurant (which is just across the road), so the odds were always in favour of gorgeous food and classy presentation.

The café is on the ground floor of the Alliance Francaise (257 Clarence St, Sydney), so it’s a great opportunity to practise your French language skills on the staff or the menu. In fact, I felt a bit sorry for the charming French lady behind the counter, as she had to take meal orders from patrons using their high school French (moi included).

The customers are mainly students taking lessons at the language centre above, as well as walk-ins and grey-haired Francophiles. On the Saturday morning we were there, there was also the French waitress and a couple of waiters – some of whom had broad Aussie accents.

Anyway, over to the food. You sit yourself at a table when you arrive, then peruse the short menu and order and pay at the counter. There is a selection of baguettes at the counter, as well as the daily desserts.

I ordered the Frisée aux Lardons ($10), a salad of poached egg, salad leaves, bacon bits (lardons) and vinaigrette. I have to say that it was the best salad I’ve had in ages, perfectly dressed in a light and tangy manner, with the lardons adding that extra perfect savoury dimension.

Frisée aux Lardons: Salad of frisée leaves, caramelised onion,
soft poached egg, bacon and crouton
The other half decided on the ‘artisanal charcuterie plate’ ($12). Imagine his shock and disappointment when a wooden board turned up with 3 rows of salami and prosciutto. He was at least expecting some bread or condiments to go with it and I had to give him a bit of toasted bread from my plate. So be forewarned about this dish, and about the cheese plate ($12), which is also behind the counter, and from what I could see, consists of 3 pieces of cheese (no fruit or crackers!).

Charcuterie plate: Salami and proscuitto - and that's all

Lovely pot of English breakfast tea - enough for 2+ cups

I had already decided on the petit pot au chocolat ($8) after seeing it on NQN, and was lucky enough to get the last one (this was at 12pm). It definitely lives up to the hype, with the rich, chocolate-y, mousse-textured pot hiding the splodge of smooth gorgeous caramel at the bottom of the bowl. Superlatif!

Petit pot au chocolat with caramel blob in the bottom - c'est magnifique!

A return visit (and many more) are on the cards. I just have to brush up on my French skills so that I don’t embarrass myself. Come to think of it, how many ways are there to say ‘J’reviens. Vive le Grand Café’?

Au reviour, bisous! ** Exit stage left, whistling Le Marseillaise' **
Le Grand Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. I am going there soon (waiting to my hubby to arrive here first)! Thanks for the review. I love it.

  2. That was a fast post indeed! Food looks great and it's strange they didn't ask whether you wanted bread with the charcuterie if it's not automatically provided - upsell and all!

  3. I went there last Saturday..around 10 am..maybe too early for weekends? cuz not many things there.. I tried Brioche.. very very buttery..the texture is just like banana cake..hehe.. You make me wanna try salad now

  4. Bizarre about the lack of bread or crackers in that charcuterie plate - but then that's the way I like to munch on my cold cuts so I wouldn't have minded too much..

  5. Love your sequence shot of the chocolate dessert. It looks delicious. I've just msgd my friend and told her that we are going to try this place as soon as she arrives back from her holiday!

  6. Maybe your companion accidentally got the Pritikin plate? I'd be pretty upset if I didn't get any carbs with my cold cuts!

  7. I like the idea of the secret caramel at the bottom of the chocolate pot!

  8. this is the place that also serves up the wagyu beef burger? Looking at the food, I think i'd like to learn a bit of french too :P

  9. Oh myyy I have to go for that petit pot au chocolat!!! but it does look a bit petit :S

  10. Ooh I've been meaning to go here since it opened! Love the look of that surprise caramel at the bottom of the pot au chocolat =)

  11. Oh my god that was only brunch? It's all so rich and decadent and lovely!

  12. Hmm I wonder if they sell the wagyu burger too ? Might pop down for a work lunch!

  13. Ahh brilliant, I remember reading that you were going and I was hoping that there would be a chocolate pot for you! :D Isn't it brilliant? Although the charcuterie plate is a touch too bare methinks! A litlte bit of bread on the side wouldn't ruin the perfect look of it would it hehe?

  14. hi Anh - hope you get to go to the cafe soon: it really is very nice!

    hi Helen - they didn't ask if bread was wanted, and the waiters were a bit thin on the ground after the plate arrived. Oh well...

    hi Bean Sprout's Cafe - we were there at 12pm - maybe you were too early for them! Definitely try the salad - it was delicious.

    hi Forager - ah, at least you won't mind it then! The meats were very good regardless.

    hi Betty - the cafe is really worth going to - very classy with great food.

    hi YaYa - I'd be disappointed too - must have my daily bread!

    hi Arwen - the caramel was good, but the chocolate was better!

    hi panda - the wagyu burger is at Plan B across the road, but the food at the cafe is just as good as the burger (almost!)

    hi FFichiban - the choc pot was bigger than it looked, but then I had a meal before it...

    hi Jacq - it's a great spot for coffee or lunch. Hope you make it soon.

    hi Trisha - well, brunch is really 2 meals, isn't it, so the more food the better!

    hi Howard - maybe they'll introduce it if you ask them. Or maybe they could send someone across the road for it for you!

    hi Lorraine - yes, I had to give up a piece of bread from my plate to give to the poor dear. PS: thanks for telling me what to get!