Friday 14th July is Bastille Day, France’s national day which always brings an excuse to indulge in the rich culture and cuisine of the famous country. Being that some of the country’s best French restaurants are located up and down the East Coast – particularly Melbourne and Sydney – Bastille Day across the country’s two most famous cities is always a must. Below you’ll find some of the best happenings across Melbourne and Sydney to help you make the most of this yearly celebration.
Balgownie Estate (Bendigo, VIC)
If you feel like a bit of a road trip out of Melbourne for your Bastille Day feast then it’s worth checking out what the celebrated Balgownie Estate has planned for the day. They’ll be putting on a lavish six-course degustation in their exclusive Barrel Room for Francophiles, charging into the weekend with a delectable feast curated by Head Chef Travis Rodwell, reflecting his French-style cooking and dedication to local ingredients. It kicks off at 6:30pm on Friday and is priced at $110pp or $170pp for matching wines. The menu will feature the likes of freshly shucked oysters, caviar, baked snails wrapped in jamon, and chicken liver & foie gras parfait en croute cornichons.
46 Hermitage Rd, Bendigo VIC 3551
(03) 5449 6222
Song Kitchen (Sydney, NSW)
There’s no better excuse to try out one of Sydney’s newest restaurants, especially when what their offering for Bastille Day includes a dedicated cheese trolley. Come Friday, CBD newbie Song Kitchen will be doing up a set menu for $75pp (additional $60 for matching wines; $10 for the cheese trolley) that includes pretty much everything a discerning lover of French food would want. It’ll start with the French 75 cocktail and then lead into a true feast with everything from caramelised onion soup with greuyere cheese and croutons, and rabbit terrine, to goat cheese soufflé and Duck mille-feuille lasagne. Don’t forget the Crêpe suzette and Crème brûlée for dessert either.
5/11 Wentworth Ave, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9285 6244
Syracuse Restaurant & Wine Bar (Melbourne, VIC)
One of the top Bastille Day options in Melbourne this year would have to be this gorgeous 20-year-old restaurant, set between Collins and Little Collins in the CBD. The restaurant’s ornate, old-world aesthetic is an ideal location for Head Chef Philippa Sibley, who will be leading the kitchen in offering guests a five-course set menu on Friday with matched drinks. It’s about as traditional as they come, with dishes for the evening the likes of Brillat Savarin aux Truffes (triple cream cheese with truffles), Normand Grâtiné, Gougères, Confit de Canard aux Agrumes with Fenouil and Purée de Pommes de Terre, and Crème Caramel with Sauternes and Fruit de la Passion. These will of course be paired up with carefully selected French wines from the restaurant’s extensive list. The menu is priced at $145pp (includes five courses with matched drinks) and can be booked for any time on Friday evening.
23 Bank Place, Melbourne
(03) 9670 1777
The Winery (Sydney, NSW)
This Surry Hills favourite is always one to depend on when it comes to a good ol’ fashioned Bastille Day celebration, and for 2017 they’ll be turning it up a notch as the French-styled venue is full of life with Can-Can dancers, a champagne glass act, and fan feather dancers to take care of the entertainment. Guests heading along can also expect a set from DJ and instrumental act Martini Club and a three-hour package of free-flowing Veuve paired with French fare, a towering cheese station, and chocolate fondue. Anyone planning on making a day of it should grab tickets before hand though! They are priced at $150 each and can be purchased HERE.
285a Crown Street, Surry Hills
(02) 8322 2007
Bistro Moncur (Sydney, NSW)
You can’t really talk about French food in Sydney without a special nod to the stalwart Bistro Moncur in Woollahra. The long-standing favourite will be doing up a dinner menu on Friday that they promise will “truly encapsulate the flavour and feel of France”. Chefs Mark Williamson and Jon Trouillet have created a four-course plat du jour that borrows from different French regions, offering dishes including bouillabaisse and rum baba – that’s a small cake saturated in syrup, made with rum, and filled with pastry cream if you didn’t already know. Guests will have the option to let the chefs lead the four-course menu, or supplement with their own choices from the a la carte menu. Tickets are priced at $140pp with the option of adding matching wines for $55pp extra.
116A Queen St, Woollahra NSW 2025
(02) 9327 9713
Sofitel on Collins (Melbourne, VIC)
Of course one of the world’s best known French-styled hotels will be getting in on the Bastille Day action this year. The luxury hotel will be taking advantage of the fact that they have an endlessly talented Executive Pastry Chef with David Hann, tasking him with creating a huge array of French treats including éclairs of lemon meringue pie, chocolate and raspberry, pistachio, mango and passionfruit, violent and vanilla, and even Nutella. This offering will take place in the property’s level 1 Sofi’s Lounge, where guests and visitors can grab a platter consisting of six éclairs as well as their choice of espresso coffee, hot chocolate or loose leaf tea, priced at $24pp. Bookings are essential as the offer is only available for the first 50 parties.
25 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9653 7744 | H1902firstname.lastname@example.org
Ananas (Sydney, NSW)
Now that it’s settled into its water-side Circular Quay location, Ananas will be charging into their Bastille Day celebration with an elegant three-course dinner set for Friday. Guests will be offered classic French dishes to pair with that stunning view of the harbour, set to the romantic tunes of a traditional French accordionist. Expect the likes of escargots, a light Parisian French gnocci, steak tartare served on brioche, and a chicken liver parfait to start it all off. Mains will then move into the likes of whole sole meuniere with pomme purée and beurre noisette, steak frites with Café de Paris butter, tender slow braised beef cheek, and aromatic bouillabaisse, right before the menu finishes off with your choice between vanilla crème brulée, golden-topped tarte tatin, or a collection of French cheese. The three-course menu is priced at $69pp or $89pp for matching wines. Bookings are essential.
Ananas, 2 Philip Street, Circular Quay
(02) 9259 5624
Bastille Festival (Sydney, NSW)
Once again Sydney’s beloved BBR Festival (now named Bastille Festival) will be returning for its fifth year – no surprises here, since in 2016 the event attracted over half a million people across it’s four days. The free street celebration will again take place at Circular Quay from this Thursday to Sunday with its biggest program to date with celebrations of European food, wine and art. The program includes over 100 performance artists, more than 100 specialty food offerings (including a Nordic village and a Latin village to celebrate other European cultures) and a huge selection of beers and wines from some of the most reputable vineyards in France, Spain and Italy. For more information on the essential free-entry festival (though cinema screenings and wine masterclasses are ticketed) head to the website linked to below.
Circular Quay, Sydney
All images supplied by the respective venue. Feature image: Syracuse Restaurant & Wine Bar.