- 40 Malbon Street, Bungendore, 6238 0662
- Owners Christophe and Josephine Gregoire, chef Christophe Gregoire
- Open lunch and dinner Wesdnesday to Saturday, lunch Sunday
- Licensed, no BYO
- No wheelchair access
You might remember Christophe Gregoire from his French restaurant in a little laneway in Manuka some years back.
Well, he moved out to Bungendore and if you haven't got out there yet, you really should.
It is absolutely worth the drive. He's in a rickety, atmospheric little shopfront on the main street, small tables, old wooden chairs of that French spindly kind, Parisian prints on the walls.
Very country French cafe, but not in a twee or over-done way.What's great about this place, though, is the food. Simple presentations of classic French dishes.
In the entrees, there is a mild terrine ($19), roughly textured like a meatloaf with pistachios and, according to the menu, pork, duck and veal, really pleasant and simple, served with gherkins and beautiful leaves dressed with a bit of finely chopped tomato and cucumber.
The foie gras ($38), well, foie in Australia is never foie in France, since it must be pasteurised to enter the country, so here Gregoire has turned it into a stiff pate, buttery and rich, faintly livery, and not bad, but what makes us love this dish is the fig and honey relish on the side, the great fresh lettuce, and most of all, the spiced bread made in house, a gorgeous malt-coloured loaf full of the taste of star anise and cloves.
Mains are of the cassoulet kind - wild rabbit stewed up and smothered in a very rich, sticky, full-of-mustard sauce ($34); goat in a tomato gravy with capsicum ($34), both served on our visit with the Alsatian pasta spatzle - kind of squished through a vegetable mill; and with a round of gorgeous, simple, spinach with nutmeg.For dessert (all $15), we loved a berry and melon salad, but didn't relish a soft chocolate terrine.
The wine list is largely French, with a few somewhat oddly chosen Canberra-region wines, and if you take Gregoire's advice on the wine you'll be very well served indeed. He's happy to explain, offer, open and share. And yes, he's at the table delivering your food, as well as in the kitchen serving it, presumably. This appears to be almost a one-man band.
And you've really got to love it.