Ever feel like French food, without the overtly insane price tag and snobby service? Not that all French eateries are like that at all. In fact, it seems as though the very 'idea' of French food comes with that baggage automatically.
Enter, Bistrot D'Orsay.
THis fantastic little French restaurant, right in the heart of Melbourne's theatre district, has ticked all the right boxes. Great French cuisine with a Mediterranean twist, comfortable atmosphere, sharp service (without the pomp) and a reasonable price tag. Not a bad overall scorecard.
Let's start with the most important aspect: food. On this, D'Orsay gets it all right. Ranging from lovely gnocchi with a rich ragu, to a traditional Bouillabaisse overflowing with seafood, the food smacks of comfort and warmth. Rather like sitting next to a fire in a small chateau in the French wilderness.
Problem is, look outside, and you won't find wilderness. Instead, the Regent Theatre stares you directly in the face, overwhelming the cosy feeling inside. Hint: get a table not near a window. You'll feel like you've stepped literally into France.
Bistrot D'Orsay caters for the theatre crowd, and this can be either a burden, or a relief. Make a booking and let them know yu're going to the theatre, and they'll pump you in and out in no time. If you happen to want a quieter table for the whole night, be warned. Rush hour is a storm of people. However, an early dinner or a late supper can be rather nice, with the crowds thinning to an acceptable degree.
So if French cuisine tickles your fancy, try out Bistrot D'Orsay. And no, before you ask: there are no frog legs to be found. Or snails, for that matter.