210 Symonds Street,
(09) 377 1911
The ViewAuckland Review
5 out of 5
The only disappointing thing about the famous and long-running French Café is that you will not be surprised: you expect everything to be superb, and it invariably is.
And so it was one recent Saturday night we found ourselves leaving saying once more how delicious and interesting everything had been. No surprises there, then? Well, only that we hadn’t been more often.
When I was an Important Person In The Media I was often taken there for long and liquored Friday lunches, but that was when record companies had serious money and the people who worked for them had time and actually wanted to talk about music. (These days it’s Prego if you are lucky, and you are out in under two hours because the Cellphone Kids can’t talk music so have to make their excuses and leave).
On our night at the French Café we ran into a couple of friends and that’s always a good thing: if you’re at the Café paying for your own dinner then business must be good. The French Café isn’t cheap—but then who quibbles about quality? And it offers that in spades.
I started with an entrée of gently fried squid which came with a small pottle of chilli jam and a tiny, but tasty, swirl of cucumber noodles. My wife, Megan, opted for a marvellous butternut cappuccino which isn’t what it sounds but a rich, frothy soup-like entrée.
I had an appetite up, so also went for the pressed chicken terrine as a first course then undertook the superlatives-fail-me caramelised pork belly, a mouth-watering confection with an apple-feijoa compote, a few small roasted onions and a feather-light potato puree.
Conversation faltered at this point as Megan was equally enjoying her snapper which came with a risotto of peas, asparagus and scampi. The side order of shitake mushrooms, courgettes and spinach were the perfect compliment.
By the end of this—we’d also enjoyed a bottle of Lawson’s Dry Hills Riesling and I’d had a glass of Bourgogne Burgundy on the recommendation of our discreet but knowledgeable waitress—we were down $200 but replete, and happy.
And that we decided, because this was the French Café, was no surprise at all.
French Cafe has been reviewed by 13 users