Located just off Hindley Street on Gresham Street, La Buvette Drinkery is a classic French-style laneway bar and bistro that brings the vibrant French laneway culture to Adelaide. Not only is La Buvette a beautiful and cosy bar with a massive selection of drinks, but it also offers breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner menus full of French favourites that taste just like they do in Paris.
We visited for dinner and drinks but the day menus all look amazing too! If the taste and authenticity of the dinner menu is anything to go by, it's fair to expect the same level of attention to their croissants and coffee.
La Buvette translates to 'The Bar' and it's the bar side of things that La Buvette does best. There's a huge range of Aperitifs, cocktails, beers, wines, and ciders. It's a diverse selection worthy of a bit of exploration and experimentation.
The food offering is a bistro-style menu of house classics and crowd favourites. Think moules frites, escargot, steak, salad niçoise and gorgeous sourdough bread. Customisable cheese and charcuterie platters are also for a good grazing session with drinks.
On our visit, we opted for their porcini and lentil pate and escargot for entrée. The pate has an ice-cream like texture and is rich and velvety. It's perfect with the pickled condiments and sourdough bread. The escargot… what can I say? You either love them or you can't stand the thought of them. There's so much garlicky buttery flavour in the little pot with the snails that dominates the palate that all you have do is learn to live with the texture. I think they are just like most other shellfish, it's just that snails come from the land and not the sea. Mopping up the abundant sauce with the 'light and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside' baguette loaf is simply delicious.
For mains, we tried the salade niçoise with grilled yellowfin tuna and the pinnacle buvette steak and pepper sauce with a serve of frites on the side. The salade niçoise is a wonderful arrangement of different tastes and textures that somehow holds together well. The generous portion of grilled tuna will definitely fill you up and the fresh dressing and tasty salad includes snappy green beans, deliciously soft capsicum, perfect fried egg, and an abundance of fresh salad leaves. The 200-gram steak is done perfectly and sliced and smothered in creamy pepper sauce. It's not the pub steak as you know it, it's the steak you remember from that café in Paris years ago. Team that with a bowl of impossibly thin and crispy French fries and a beer and you're in Frenchie heaven.
La Buvette's owners are originally from France and wanted to create a space where they could bring the French Aperitif culture to life. The historic old-world Parisian feel of the exterior translates through to the dark wood and stone feel of the interior. Patrons often spill out onto the pavement to enjoy a drink Paris style! We arrived at 7.30 pm, which was when the lights were turned down and the place went into 'bar mode'. Maybe visit earlier If you'd like to see your food better, the dark is great for bar ambience but not so great for visually enjoying the food.
Come for the coffee and pastries during the day or an aperitif and a meal later but be warned, a quick bite may become an all-night degustation! La Buvette is open until 2 am on Friday and Saturday nights. During the week they open from 7.30 am to 11 pm and are closed Sundays and Mondays. You can book via the website here and keep up with them on Facebook here.