After spending most of their working lives in Australia managing high-end pubs, French-born business partners Damien Desbois (The Grand Hotel) and Sebastien Carmona (Bouzy Rouge) have their own little French bistro.
They're stretching their tricoleur legs at Bon Ap' in a traditional menu that strolls through the classics day and night.
Parisian-born chef Arnaud Mallet sends out a family of croques: Madame, Monsieur and their slightly new-age offspring, the Forestier, with herby mushrooms. They are equally at home served at the bar, on one of the tables along the banquette or street-side at woven cane cafe chairs designed to recline – arguably with a Gauloise dangling between the fingers.
There are waffles: one savoury, with smoked trout and dill cream, one sweet, with berries and panna cotta. Also on offer, until 3pm, are salads and frites, and toast with toppings such as salmon rillettes.
Evenings, the charcuterie selection can work as bar food or as one of a procession of small courses, such as a tomatoey provencale octopus braise, coq au vin, and confit seasonal vegetableswith garlic.
Like the dishes, this is a richly simple space discreetly adorned – with vintage toys and framed French newspaper clippings from last century – and with touches of intrigue, as with the cutlery chandelier hanging in a private nook behind an ornate metal staircase.
Open Tue-Sat 10am-late.
193 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, 03 9415 9450, bonap.com.au