A Melbournian who wonders as I wander. I have spent a lot of life colouring in moments and take great pleasure in creative expression of experience. Interested in Design, Art, Film, Photography, Painting and all things French.
Published July 20th 2019
A relaxed taste of French perfection
You are spoilt for choice when it comes to French restaurants in South Yarra. Toorak Road is a boulevard of possibility, it can be hard to know which to choose. This Saturday night I tasted the ambience of L'Hotel Gitan and it was delicious.
Why L'Hotel Gitan? Designing a French experience on a Saturday night takes exquisite planning. We did not book far enough in advance for much hope of space in any of the options available in the area. We were very fortunate L'Hotel Gitan found a booking for us. They were very kind from initial phone contact and considerate when we were delayed in arrival.
L'Hotel Gitan is a relaxed pub-like environment but it has French flair and sophistication in the layout. On entry, you get a sense of space and can see through to the bar which is the kitchen. Skilled chefs create perfection before your eyes just as a bartender might traditionally mix a cocktail. There is a sense of theatre and life. Rooms extend right back and it is a great multifaceted environment. You could host a private function or find your own corner. This is a great way to experience French cuisine sans (without) the intimidation of white table cloths and starched serviettes. You can lose yourself in the hum whilst the service maintains the efficiency and flavour of France.
Les aliments The kitchen closes at 9pm but desserts are still being served. If you need someplace to go after seeing a French film at Como to continue the Frenchness of your evening, then this is it. We were still able to order some delicious bread and Frites (French Fries) which came with tomato sauce and aioli and were spot on in crunch and length. The bread had French texture and taste, it was warm and came with delicious white French butter. The desserts took some choosing. The descriptions are Masterchef worthy and they were exquisite creations.
Coffee and chocolate tart. I did wish the description had mentioned this tastes like Ferrero Rocher; we could have ordered two. Everyone agreed that this stood out as our favourite.
L'Orangina. This dessert delivered visual appeal and fascination. It had an orange made of chocolate that was so realistic. The white chocolate shell gave way to reveal flummery type honey, lemon mousse inside and a centre of orange compote. The butterscotch ice-cream and textured crunchy base were delightful but very rich. This was a dessert for a person who likes citrus flavours.
Pear and Vanilla Bavaroise. On enquiry, I was told Bavaroise was a mouse. I liked the pureed pear element beneath the mouse which came in a semi-circle. It is a dessert for those who like the flavour of almonds. It had the most delicious vanilla ice cream at the edge but such a gourmet portion if I ever had the chance again, I'd plead for more.
The desserts were great in the way they balanced texture and flavour so delicately. Sharing between three, we were still left feeling it would have been best to only choose two.
A priceless experience at an affordable price
Coming here was a great birthday treat. The atmosphere was friendly and casual enough that you were not left feeling this was a place you could only visit on a rare and special occasion. The prices for the desserts were very reasonable compared with what you would expect to pay for such a glorious treat. We did not order much savoury food but the sides were reasonably priced that you could imagine finding something here to satisfy your appetite for a taste of France.