Dari has ventured to Melbourne's Cremorne to check out the suburb’s latest addition, Frédéric
Who’d have thought you could stick a classic cosy European bistro in the back alleys of an industrial ‘hood, on a corner with no shops, no foot traffic and basically warehouse central – and it would flourish? The Reymond group – that’s who. From the offspring of the famous iconic French restaurateur Jacques Reymond is the cute newcomer to this city – Frédéric, located in the hip and grunge ‘suburb inside a suburb’ Cremorne (a pocket of Richmond). Despite the area being a boisterous Aussie pub central, the elegantly smart and worldly Frédéric has already made its mark. The interior is exactly how you’d picture traditional Euro meets industrial warehouse – rustic brick walls, neatly set wooden tables, premium glassware and daily specials scrawled on chalkboards. Couple this with industrial elements of unfinished ceilings and exposed silver vats – total opposites, yet it totally works.
The menu is anything but industrial. Stunning European fare with flair, with bits and bobs from around the regions of Spain, Italy and France. Start off with a gorgeous oval sweet corn madeleine. The sweetly noted fluffy French cake is topped with blue swimmer crab espelette. Everyone is doing a raw fish these days, but not everyone is doing a poignant job like Frédéric – where the refined dainty kingfish is diced so finely, dressed in a subtle but gorgeous dill and ginger with a paper-thin shaving of orange sweet potato for colour, texture and a tweak of crunch. Colourfully robust is the circle of grilled octopus. Bite-sized chunks of crustacean are hidden amongst lines of yellow pickled corn, purple braised radicchio and dollops of wonderfully ugly black goo (garlic mayo). Garfish a la plancha is like a champagne party on a plate. The pointy-nosed head hosts the dish while its beautiful butterflied body lays flat, bathing in bubbles of creamy sauce champagne. The invite extends to mussels, which feature prominently, and it’s finished off with flamboyant pink balloons of shaved watermelon radish.
Fred's Bar (Image credit: Sharyn Cairns)
Fancy a cocktail to drink with this festive affair? Frédéric offers half sizes for those with petite palates, like petit Fred’s martini (but whilst in party mode, with it tasting so good, it then may be followed by a petit negroni). Otherwise be easily tempted by their excellent part Aussie, part Euro wine list (that thankfully is not charged by the Euro).
Bottom Line: Didn’t think classic Euro had a place in the back alleys of industrial Cremorne? Think again.