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Published July 2nd 2013
Britanny on your doorstep
Venturing down Adelaide's East End on a bright sunny afternoon, it was marvellous to discover a French creperie poetically named Le Carpe Diem. Lying behind part of the beautiful exterior of what was once the Adelaide Fruit and Produce Exchange, word of this six week old establishment has already circulated amongst the local French community. In fact Parisian owner, Djani Goodes, tells me her French clientele have been delighted to find a true taste of home where the crepes are just like the ones found in France.
Owned by a husband and wife team, Le Carpe Diem is Djani and Dale Goodes' third culinary venture after operating two cafes in Paris. In search of a more laid back lifestyle and to be closer to family in Australia, both made Adelaide their new home a year ago where Dale himself originated.
Stepping inside Le Carpe Diem, the delicious aroma of crepes being prepared was intoxicating. Had I not had lunch earlier on, a savoury crepe known as a galette would have been my first choice. From a modest selection of classic fillings like ham and swiss gruyere cheese to more elaborate fillings like artichokes, mushrooms and caramelised onions, the galettes are made with buckwheat flour and thus suited for those looking for a gluten-free meal.
After examining the list of sweet crepes and savoury galettes on the menu, I settled on the Margaux with its topping of figs, fig jam, walnuts and a dollop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with maple syrup. Placing my order at the wooden counter made by Dale himself and a friend, I locked ears to a smattering exchange of French not only between staff but also the customers. It dawned on me that Adelaide does have its fair share of people of French origin.
To accompany the Margaux, I ordered a sweet French cider. I could not have made a better choice as I later found out from Djani that in France, cider is the traditional beverage consumed with crepes. However to my astonishment, it arrived not in a glass but a glazed earthenware vessel called a bolee. Resembling something between a cup and bowl, Djani and Dale imported these traditional cider bowls from Britanny after failing to find them locally.
Whilst I enjoyed my scrumptious crepe with its perfect marriage of ingredients, my partner devoured the in-house baked raspberry financiers, coconut financiers and chocolate brownie. He described them as being delicious and moist and I certainly had to take his word for it since he ordered an extra two after consuming the first three. When I asked why not try one of the other just-as-inviting madeleines or some of the French pastries, he replied "I am sticking to what I have tasted and liked".
With black and white canvas wall prints of France on display and effigies of Eiffel Tower on tabletops, Le Carpe Diem's pretty interior exudes a romantic ambience. On the second floor is extra seating and when I went to have a peep, it occurred to me that this area will suit those who need some quiet moments and space, maybe for a little tete-a-tete. Accompanied by French music in the background and coupled with the cacophony of French sounds, I was drifting to Normandy before I was 'rudely' brought back to this new Grenfell Street creperie by my partner.
Excellent review and an amazing place -thanks for sharing! I just checked it out today for breakfast and I really liked the atmosphere AND the food. The savoury crepe with cheese, mushroom and tomatoes was SO YAMMY, as well as the pear, chocolate and roasted almonds one!