Frenchie's Bistro & Brewery, Rosebery
Rosebery’s Cannery complex is finally bringing in some real weight, expanding the after-dark dining options in what can be somewhat of a suburban ghost town once the sun goes down. With The Parlour Group (Riley St Garage & Surly’s) soon to open Stanton & Co in October, Frenchies have now opened their doors as first nighttime eatery in the undercover indoor market space of Saporium.
With a balanced scorecard, the two owners, Vincent de Soyres and Thomas Cauquil split their expertise between the kitchen and on-site brewery. De Soyres has been brewing in Australian operations across the last six years, initially exposed years earlier in Lyon. Cauquil’s apprenticeship started in Michelin-starred establishments in Spain & of course, France, well before landing down South, with the pair meeting in hospitality school in France more than ten years ago.
The menu is simple and uncomplicated. Bar snacks, cheese and charcuterie are an obvious choice for this semi-casual bistro, whilst a few larger mains also feature for those wanting something substantial. With a focus on seasonal produce, reliant on market availability common in Europe, the menu is not concrete and can change day-to-day.
French influence is clear, and it’s refreshing to see the menu free from classics often repeated throughout the city. The Chicken and Duck Pate en Croute is a technical masterpiece, with all pastry evenly firm and crisp, framing the foie gras-lined chicken and duck segments which are beautifully tender and soft. Pickled vegetables are mostly gentle in flavour and a little firmer in touch.
The beef tartare isn't served as expected, with the bone marrow blended in with the finely diced beef, sadly taking away from the flavour of the meat. That said, the flavours are much more pronounced after a cleaner taste of the crème fraiche in the salmon. Visuals of the red pepper cream replicate your expectations of a tartare’s beautiful, bright yolk, and whilst delicate and delicious on its own, I don’t feel it contributes. The smoked salmon is firm, velvety-matte in texture and delicious with its crème fraiche and malted bread. The bread is relatively dense, yet soft in form, well against my expectation of a texture similar to rye when judging from looks alone.
Squid ink risotto is a treat for both eyes and tastes. A striking jet-black in colour, the risotto seems to have a mild blue cheese throughout. It’s topped with gently-fried squid, and crisp-rendered prosciutto – one of the most flavourful that I’ve encountered, just on it's own. The barbounier (red mullet) sees a few modest fillets fried with bright and colourful crisp skins which sport pearlescent hues of orange and even some purple. The fillets are tender and are laid on a smooth blend of olive oil, butter and potato mash. It’s tied in with some ultra-bright diced lemon dressed with capers and fresh herb.
From Frenchie’s fitout to the menu, it sticks entirely to its name & form - everything here is simple, and focused on true quality. Dining furniture alone has been handcrafted in France on the family's farm and shipped here to Rosebery. The wine menu is no longer than 5-6 per colour or bubble, nor are the food options and house-brewed beers. Excluding the cheese and charcuterie, the bar snack menu follows suit. The dining areas are slick, and simple, with some clever and handcrafted elements tying Frenchies into the rest of warehouse feel of the Cannery.