Pre-Christmas, Frenchies Brasserie opened on Noosaville’s Thomas Street with a little local fanfare. Then we were hit by the double-whammy of devastating bushfires and a ravaging pandemic. Now as restrictions are loosening and the Queensland border less than a month away from reopening, it’s time to let the world know that Frenchies Brasserie is open for business.
Helmed by the classically trained head chef Fabian Oliveau, the Noosaville restaurant is sibling to the popular Frenchies at Elanora Heights on the outskirts of Sydney’s northern beaches.
A Normandy native, Chef Oliveau knows the French bistro classics like the back of his hand. Classically trained he has worked across three continents with stints at Relais and Chateaux properties in France and St Barths before Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas. Fabian’s first Australian gig was in Broome, before landing in Sydney at Manu Feildel’s Le Etoile. He worked at Melbourne’s Le Cirque before four years as Justin North’s Sous Chef at Centennial.
Not straying from Escoffier’s essential techniques, Fabian highlights fine Australian produce in his “honest, French classics”.
The decor is Parisian bistro lite with white Thonet chairs replacing the more traditional dark stained timber. ‘Aged’ mirrors sit above black, tongue and groove panelling. But as we are a stone’s throw from the river, we opted to sit outside while we sipped sparkling “Madame Coco Blanc de Blanc” from the Aude Valley and nibble perfect, glistening, gently warmed and marinated olives. The French, pop/disco covers make an ideal soundtrack on this warm, winter Noosa afternoon.
The menu is a top 40 of classic hits. Two courses at $54 with three for $69 is a bargain in anyone’s language for food this fine. Starters include hand cut Steak tartare with quail egg and croutons and a house made chicken liver parfait, with cornichons and baguette. But it is the siren call of French Onion soup with Swiss Cheese and croutons and the Fourme D’Ambert twice baked soufflé with Heidi gruyere that we can’t resist.
The soufflé is like eating a cloud if clouds were Fourme d’Ambert and Heidi Gruyere flavoured. Elegant and rustic all at once. Served bubbling in a shallow white and blue rimmed enamel bowl it is ‘C’est Magnifique’.
The French Onion soup isn’t the prettiest but you know you should never judge a book by its cover. I pressured the amiable Restaurant Manager Eileen Schumacher for the secret ingredients of the finest French Onion soup to ever pass my lips. They will go with me to my grave but I will let you know it involves the stock and the alcohol. Absolute genius.
Keeping it traditional, next up was Steak Frites and green salad and Duck leg confit with port wine jus, gratin dauphinois and frisée salad. The steak broke the cardinal rule of ‘less is more’ with swoon-worthy (or should that be spoon-worthy) cafe de Paris butter and meaty jus. The confit was the stuff of dreams. Deeply lacquered skin gave way to meltingly soft duck with a deeply caramelised, smoky port wine jus. The gratin was textbook and delicious. The frisée was so, so fresh with just enough bitterness to offset the major players.
Eileen took such good care of us with service that didn’t miss a beat. With a background in international, 5 star hotels she is well-equipped to be the smiling face front of house.
After a breather, we make room for desserts. For me: creme brûlée. My partner in crime went ‘off Broadway’ with a tarte tatin from the specials menu. The brûlée was silky, custard cream heaven underneath a thin layer of caramel ‘crack’ on top. The tatin was masterful with the pastry and apples combining in a blaze of caramel glory.
Noosaville might seem a long, long way from Paris. But Frenchies Brasserie serves up the classics like it’s on a cobblestoned lane in the middle of the 7th arrondisement. We’ll always have Paris and let’s hope we’ll always have Frenchies.
ThisMagnificentLife was hosted by Frenchies Brasserie but our opinions are always our own.
All images: https://timbond.photography/