115 Bulleen Road Balwyn North, Victoria 3104
|Opening hours||Daily 8am-5pm|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Payments||Mastercard, Visa, eftpos|
|Phone||03 9859 4224|
A quiet shopping strip near the Eastern Freeway isn't an obvious place to concoct an ode to France but Bar Sur Loup’s Greek-Australian owner Kathy Licciardi thinks Balwyn is as good a place as any to let Francophilia flourish. She lived in Le Bar-Sur-Loup, a hill town in Provence for four years, and its Melbourne namesake is a selective remembering of France's most delightful creations, such as flicking through a carefully edited photo album with all the wrong turns, snooty ‘'merci mesdames’' and bad omelettes excised once and for all.
The fantasy writ real is a bright timbered shopfront with picket-fenced pavement area. The repertoire includes delightful macarons, baguettes, waffles made with proper yeast dough, savoury buckwheat crepes (and sweet flour ones), all served on charming enamel plates. It’s a popular place with ladies a-lunching and the after-school crowd.
Parents seeking to bribe their children are assured success: the waffles have a good balance of crunchy crust and chewy centre, the chocolate sauce is Belgian couverture and strawberries gesture benignly towards health.
Crepes are properly crisp, pliant and slightly sour: I like the Le Grec with spinach, dill and a generous crumbling of feta. I suggest sharing if you’re to have a hope of finishing with something sweet. The macarons have good, chewy texture and are sandwiched with flavoured chocolate cream.
Even in cool weather it’s hard to say no to the ice-cream, displayed in deep barrels under spectacular chrome domes. Creamy and delicious varieties include hazelnut and raspberry.
The fancy Hansi soft drinks are from Alsace, loose-leaf tea is served in pots and the coffee is good. The fabulous coffee slushie is taking a winter break but a daily soup has risen in its place. Come on Fridays for French onion soup.
Bar Sur Loup is evidently a labour of love but the team seems easily rattled during busy periods and the order-at-the-counter strategy means staff can appear disconnected from the dining room action.
Anyway, the hot and cold service makes Bar Sur Loup even more authentically French, and it’s hard to stay grumpy with a chocolate waffle in front of you.