France-Soir Article Lead - narrow
France-Soir Article Lead - narrow 

11 Toorak Road South Yarra, VIC

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Features Accepts bookings, Bar, Business lunch, BYO, Late night, Licensed, Long lunch, Pre-post-theatre, Romance-first date
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Chef Geraud Fabre
Seats 70
Payments Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9866 8569

Settling in at this veteran bistro can feel like joining a lively party. A window-table blonde sips champagne, telling the gents on the next-door table about her trip to Paris. The gents greet a foursome coming through the brassy glass entrance. And isn't that so-and-so from the telly? But this long, mirror-lined room, busy as a train carriage at peak hour, is more than a neighbourhood hero with sharp service. For a quarter-century it has done a thriving trade in the classics: bubbling onion soup or juicy, charred steaks with a gravy boat of bearnaise. Goat's cheese on garlicky croutons with a tumble of frisee is another menu stalwart. Plump, pan-cooked scallops might come sans roe, with springy chunks of king brown mushroom. A tenderly cooked veal escalope is lapped by creamy mushroom sauce. Specials include fish and pork of the day and most mains come with textbook frites. Finish with ale flottante, a single airy iceberg of soft meringue.