BYO – remember that? Restaurants that provided food, service, a location and ambience and you brought a bottle of wine from home or the local bottlo. A usually modest fee was charged for the use of glassware etc and everybody was happy. Well almost….The problem is selling food alone in often high end venues with sky high rents doesn’t make money. And, as restaurants aren’t charities for those of us who want to collect wine or penny pinch, they are surely entitled to make an appropriate profit level like businesses in every other industry.
Enter Sprout French Cafe, the charming little BYO housed in a renovated shop in Auchenflower. . It’s been there for years but changed hands a couple of years ago and is now in the capable hands of French born chef Olivier Boudon whose global career includes a cooking show in Poland and a stint as private chef for Madonna. (I didn’t think she ate…)
The room is very pretty – polished old wood floors, scrubbed pine kitchen tables are rustic and the perfect juxtaposition with a replica Philippe Starke Ghost chairs. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Boudon describes the restaurant as ‘brasserie-style’ and a quick scan of the menu confirms this albiet with wacky little Italo-Japanese-Asian twists. Spanner crab pannacotta is dressed with yuzu, parma ham, pear and feta has a lemon myrtle vinaigrette and lemon myrtle makes more appearances in the sides and at dessert.
Topped with salmon roe and served with a simple little salad, the pannacotta is rich and creamy and the yuzu ticks the citrusy and acidity boxes. The sprig of mint should go though – it doesn’t fit the flavour profile.
Snails sit under flaky puff pastry tops swimming in garlicky butter. This doesn’t get much more traditional but it has to be one of the great culinary menage a trois’ of all time. There’s more salmon roe on the marinated salmon over a crisp potato rosti and the French onion soup is quite the meal in itself packed with melting onions, savoury broth and great slice of sour dough dripping with melting emmental. There’s some truffle in there but happily it ‘s subtle and doesn’t overpower the dish.
Keeping it classic, confit duck falls from the bone and there’s a rich gastrique flavoured with black currants that we want more of. Green beans and lentils finish the dish which is one of our collective favourites.
A charry eye fillet comes with a side of gratinee potatoes and a sauce of morels mounted with cognac. There’s a wagyu beef cheek slowly braised in red wine and beer that comes with steamed baby chats and a fillet of barramundi is baked in the oven and sits over steamed pak choy with a sweet potato puree and a lemon/lime syrup.
Caramel apple tart is infused with the aforementioned lemon myrtle and, with a little deviation to the Middle East, rose sorbet and a sprinkling of chopped pistachio’s. Chocolate and William’s pear charlotte beckons with it’s tempting orange and ginger sorbet as does frozen nougat with passionfruit and mango but we do not have room; the birthday boys are full and have already mentally left the building in search of beers and friends.
Sprout BYO French Cafe 111 Haig Road Auchenflower T: 07 3870 3030