From charcuterie to salad nicoise, French cuisine has made valuable contributions to the way the world eats. When the mouth yearns for Gallic deliciousness, these Perth restaurants continue to fly the tricoleur with pleasing results. Bon appétit!
This casino outpost of Guillaume Brahimi, arguably Australia’s best-known French chef, is a safe bet for bistro comfort. Pretty lattices of pommes gaufrettes are perfect for scooping up well-seasoned steak tartare while rillettes and terrine are further wins. Dishes built for two – luxe roast chook with buttery Paris mash, say – and a vast cellar further underscore the space’s convivial nature.
Crown Perth, Great Eastern Highway, Perth; (08) 9362 7551
The giant “tabac” sign in the window. Bus seats repurposed as booths. A vigorous live jazz program. It’d be all too easy to spend an entire afternoon at this neighbourhood French bar. The bistro-inspired menu features everything from fun riffs on pissaladière (aka French pizza) to hearty steak frites and a Gruyère and onion omelette named for Francophile British food writer, Elizabeth David.
198 Whatley Crescent, Maylands; (08) 9272 4428
From his open kitchen in this suburban small bar, veteran Perth chef and Breton Gwenael Lesle covers the entire French cooking spectrum. Great charcuterie and a brilliant croque monsieur tick the timeless box while tightly composed plates, such as a Thai-influenced green pawpaw and beef salad, speaks to French cuisine’s fluid, cosmopolitan nature.
406 Oxford Street, Mount Hawthorn; (08) 9444 3406
Despite edging close to the two-decade mark, the party at this neo-bistro continues to rage. There’s more than enough wine to fuel festivities in the cellar and the kitchen consistently plates up French and European dishes cooked with comfort in mind. Pan-fried Parisian-style gnocchi is tossed through with sweet tomatoes and ricotta, the soufflé is twice-baked and duck confit never comes off the menu.
519 Beaufort Street, Highgate; (08) 9328 8255
Born into one of Perth’s better-known restaurant families, Pierre Ichallalene has hospitality in his blood. A deep-seated spirit of generosity underpins everything at Chez Pierre, a plush French restaurant in Perth’s western suburbs that celebrates classic cooking. Confit duck is served à l’orange with a Grand Marnier sauce, Burgundian snails are sautéed in garlic and butter and local scallops are referred to by their French name, St-Jacques.
131 Stirling Highway, Nedlands; (08) 9386 5886
From the crisply dressed tables to the handsomely attired staff, Petite Mort remains true to its fine-dining roots. Todd Stuart’s classically based yet modern French cooking is always polished, whether he’s teaming flank steak with a single dainty croquette of braised oxtail meat or serving local duck two ways, the breast perfectly tender and the leg meat pressed into a neat brick.
225 Onslow Road, Shenton Park; (08) 9388 0331
P’tite Ardoise Bistro
The classics – French onion soup, snails, duck – are always available at this cosy inner-city bistro but it’s the seasonal and blackboard specials that make P’tite Ardoise as a destination of note. Calvados and cider add a decidedly Gallic apple element to juicy pork cutlet while Pernod-cured salmon is teamed with a salsa of avocado, tomato and fennel.
283 Beaufort Street, Highgate; (08) 9228 2008
Bistro des Artistes
Alain Fabregues might have made his name with deeply technical French cooking at Perth Hills fine diner The Loose Box but at Bistro des Artistes, the lauded chef is keeping things simpler. There’s ever-reliable charcuterie and duck confit, of course, but Bordeaux-style snails with a red wine jus and sardine escabeche showcase bistro cooking’s wider line-up.
424 Hay Street, Subiaco; (08) 9382 2546
Top image: Petite Mort