One of the most important days on the French calendar, ‘La Fête National’ or Bastille Day, is on the 14th July. The day celebrates the storming of the Bastille Saint–Antoine prison back in 1789, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. The peasants were all up in arms over a lack of bread, so it’s natural that celebrations include food and drink!
Show some savoir faire with a Kronenbourg 1664 in your hand. It’s a distinctly shaped bottle with over three hundred and fifty years of history; and your first one is free at participating restaurants including La Brasserie (East Sydney); Element Bistro (CBD); Bellevue Hotel (Paddington); Aperitif (Kings Cross); Tastevin (Darlinghurst) and Restaurant Atelier (Glebe). If you can’t get along to one of the restaurants on the 14th July, pop into Hurricanes, Bondi Beach or The Eastern Hotel sometime to toast your Gallic mates!
French restaurants all over town are gearing up with special menus; my pick of the bunch is La Brasserie, Sydney’s most authentic French brasserie. Philippe Valet is planning a week long festival! Not only do they have a special three course menu ($75/head) that includes Parfait de Volaille, a silky smooth truffled chicken liver parfait, and Magret de Canard, duck breast with gingerbread sauce; they’ve also got – wait for it – live Can Can girls!
Rolls Royce Rosé
While we’re on all things French, Flying Fish and Chateau de Sours are doing a wine dinner on Tuesday 27th July. You’ll get nine wines including the spectacular Chateau de Sours Rosé, described by a leading UK wine critic as ‘possibly one of the best Rosés in the world’. Peter Kuruvita is relishing the “opportunity to pair the Flying Fish menu with wines from both Chateau du Sours and Songlines Estate”. The five-course menu includes Smoked Rainbow Trout with Fennel Cream and Celery Heart Salad, and (with wine included) will set you back a reasonable $150/head.
Ethical Foie Gras
Eating the French delicacy foie gras is often frowned upon by animal rights activists. They object to the technique of force-feeding or gavage. A clever Spaniard, Eduardo Sousa, has pioneered a natural foie gras. On his farm, when the temperatures drop in autumn, the geese gorge themselves to prepare for winter without assistance – they’re lucky enough to roam the land and choose what to eat. There are limited supplies (the livers are smaller) so hunt it down at places like Astral Restaurant in Pyrmont. Sean Connolly is currently serving it up with lobster, beef or tofu!
Pie & Pint
Bungalow 8’s Head Chef Lachlan Lynch remarks: “A lot of chefs choose Guinness to accompany a beef pie but I chose to use Fat Yak Ale for its more subtle flavours to bring forward the flavour of the meat and mushrooms.” Head on down to King Street Wharf for a perfect winter warmer; their ‘Pie & Pint’ ($22.50) is available every day. Choosing might be difficult though – there’s also a fish pie topped with creamy mash.
July’s also speckled with venues taking advantage of the correct weather to eat Christmas themed menus! I had a wonderful lunch previewing the great menu on offer at Rozelle’s 3 Weeds Hotel on Thursday 22nd July. Dessert is a particular pleasure – an Eggnog Bombe Alaska and a Christmas Pudding Soufflé. It’s $95/head or $140 with stellar matched wines. Selected seasonal dishes are also available all week à la carte.
The Loft at King Street Wharf are also jingling the bells with $12 cocktails with names like Rudolph’s Nose and Silent Night to complement their Festive High Tea ($35.00/head). The special July menu includes Turkey and Cranberry Sandwiches, Ham & Roast Onion Frittata and Traditional Mince Pies
Xmas is of course about giving, so why not pop into Moo Gourmet Burgers at Bondi Beach or Coogee for a kid’s meal. Each Little Cow™ meal sold means fifty cents goes into the pot for the Starlight Children’s Foundation. They’re aiming for several thousand dollars a year, and they’ve already donated over five hundred dollars!