While its name may conjure images of an adult shop, French Fantasies is actually a traditional French bakery-cafe. This small and bustling establishment is located in the rather French section of Toorak Road, next door to France-Soir restaurant.
After perusing the reasonably extensive menu for some time, Bob and I both went for the breakfast cassoulet.
This tomato-based stew of white beans, ham hock and pork sausage was topped with crunchy garlic croutons and a poached egg. It was rich and meaty, a little on the salty side but not unbearably so. The fresh buttered bread it came with was perfect for mopping up the last of the sauce.
Apple and salted caramel crepe
I knew that I couldn’t leave without at least trying something sweet. There was a rather tempting selection of cakes and pastries on display at the counter however I ended up giving in to a crepe. Aware that we were sharing, they were thoughtful enough to divide it in two and serve it on separate plates. The crepe was perfect: thin, light, soft and just crisp around the edges. The apple was shredded, rather than in large chunks, which was nice and practical. The salted caramel and chantilly cream were balanced in flavour and served in appropriate quantities. My half-serving was just enough; I couldn’t imagine eating the whole thing on my own.
I must apologise for the lack of prices in this post: I lost the receipt and unfortunately their website is currently under construction. I do know however that the total came to $53.60 for two lattes, two servings of cassoulet and one serve of crepes. Assuming an average coffee price of $3.50, that means each dish on average was just over $15. Very good considering the quality of the food and the fact that this place is in South Yarra.
French Fantasies was a nice change from the cafes I usually brunch at: no hipsters, no line out the door, no mismatched crockery, no indifferent staff. Perhaps not very ‘Melbourne’, if you care about showing that sort of thing off to your visiting friends or family. For me though, I think enjoying an authentic French meal served on retro gold-rimmed plates is a rather nice way to spend a Sunday morning.