290 Lygon St, Carlton
Call me crazy, but I’m of the belief that stodgy, traditional French fare shouldn’t just be consumed in the grips of winter. Spoonfuls of potato salad, hearty pies, tarts and of course, slices of that seemingly ubiquitous baguette have a universal appeal that transcends seasons, climates and even demographics.
Fortunately, La Parisienne Patés manages to sate all of these cravings year-round. Situated in the heart of Lygon street, it’s a pity that this excellent eatery is all too frequently overlooked in favour of its popular, albeit clichéd Italian counterparts. The quiet, laid-back atmosphere of this place instantly struck a chord with me as I dined here on a balmy summer’s afternoon, overwhelmed with a serious hankering for some carb-laden Gallic grub after six weeks of travelling through Tokyo.
As we watched the goat’s cheese tart and the duck pie arrive at our table, I may or may not have shouted the following -
“This looks so good! I need to Instagram this!”
As cringeworthy as it may have been, it warranted a chuckle from our amicable waitress. However, it was true. Don’t get me wrong, it’s commonly understood that hearty food isn’t meant to look beautiful. An ornate aesthetic is often rejected in favour of something more rustic, as if the food were inviting us to eat it and to take comfort in it. That’s exactly what we did, and the results were nothing short of delicious. Redolent of goat’s cheese, the tart was filling enough for it to be considered good value whilst being light enough to make a much-appreciated addition to any summer lunch. The duck pie was similarly delicious and had a snack-like quality despite being very filling. In fact, it brought back (sadly) non-existent childhood memories of frolicking through the French countryside with a couple of them stashed away in my picnic basket.
Having recently returned home from six weeks in Tokyo, I’ve amassed a semi-decent collection of new Japanese expressions. It’s with great pleasure that I get to share my latest favourite – “betsu bara” – via this medium. Roughly translated, it refers to one’s other stomach, or rather, the stomach reserved exclusively for dessert. Putting our “betsu bara” to good use, I tried the almighty coffee éclair and a pistachio macaron, firmly in the belief that these two delicacies make for excellent litmus tests when it comes to evaluating the French dessert scene in Melbourne. With simple, distinct flavours, these desserts scored well on said tests. Sometimes it’s best not to mess with the original and it’s for this reason that both the éclair and the macaron were thoroughly enjoyed.
In short, I simply can’t underestimate the extent to which devotees of the seemingly unavoidable yet dubious Union House need to venture beyond the confines of the University and saunter over to this neat little place. For the rest of us, if you’re looking for an affordable French foodie experience minus the pomp and frivolity of high-class eateries, this place is undoubtedly one of the simplest – and best.
By Bethany Schoer
Sunday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Monday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tuesday to Friday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
- Goat’s cheese tart
- Duck pie
- Coffee éclair
- Pistachio macaroon and a mango/coconut macaroon
La Parissienne Patés is also a gourmet French deli, and sells fresh baguettes, pâtés, terrines and quiches, as well as other charcuterie items, which are made in their little factory just around the corner.