So this is my first post of 2017 and my 100th in total. A long overdue first visit to the latest addition by the French Village folks. The Patisserie & Brasserie which opened its doors for the first time on the Lisburn Road 6 months ago.
BT9 is positively teeming with places to eat these days whether you’re looking for a coffee, an ice cream, Thai or Indian curry, pizza or a full blown 3 course fine dining experience. Anyone throwing themselves into this mix would need to bring something pretty remarkable to see it through the initial ‘New Place’ interest and establish any kind on longevity. With their very popular cafe already drawing crowds in Botanic Avenue, along with a long established wholesale cake business and a regular stall at St George’s Market, I’d expect French Village’s Patisserie & Brasserie to have what it takes.
‘Brasserie’, as well as meaning a French or French-style cafe also carries with it relaxed and/or informal dining characteristics, and that’s bang on the money as far as this French Village goes. Very easy going, zero snobbery. The staff were busy yet very pleasant and prompt. We were seated almost immediately and had a drinks order taken just as quickly. The service throughout was excellent, with the servers interacting with everyone at the table including my 2 Sons (a personal bug bear of mine is when the kids at a table are overlooked or ignored altogether).
They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus for all three will have you deliberating for some time as all are very impressive. Of particular note are the lunch charcuterie board and the classic steak frites main with balsamic onion & black pepper cream. This was a chilly mid afternoon in the ‘week that time forgot’ between Christmas and New Year and we were in for a quick snack after a visit to the park to give my Boy’s new bike a proper test run. So something small for each of us. After developing a fondness for seafood chowder on a recent Game of Thrones food tour, this was very tempting once again, especially as it was served with Yardsman Stout wheaten bread (next time).
However, it was the duck and pork sausage roll which caught my eye, served with salad, balsamic dressing and homemade tomato ketchup. I would never consider ordering duck as a main course but, much like the company of my In-Laws, I enjoy it in small doses. This little savoury pastry delight was the perfect way to do so. Rich with meatiness and the homemade ketchup was to die for. I only wish I had asked for more.
One thing that did disappoint me was the lack of gluten free options at this time of day. A very impressive display of desserts and buns are on show as you walk in the door, but nothing sweet for coeliacs. The macarons are GF but not made in a GF environment. Having checked, they do have gluten free brownies and caramel slices and can offer ‘gluten free versions’ of their menu on request. A case of unfortunate timing as far as my coeliac sibling was concerned.
This blip aside, French Village is a great setting with good food and excellent coffee. Couples, groups and families were all among the clientele and I would be happy to have a meal here at any time of the day or night.