A little touch of France in Melbourne
Most people have a good handle on the conventional French cuisine items. Baguettes, croissants, macarons and alike have all been thoroughly embraced by Australian culture; however the traditional French crêpe is still often misunderstood.
“I suppose the most common misconception around crêpes is that they are the same as pancakes, or that are really only a dessert item – but we have definitely seen a change over the years and a greater understanding,” says co-founder of La Petite Crêperie Melbourne, Patrizia Maselli.
Back in 2008, Patrizia and her partner, Michaël, brought a ‘traditional crêperie’ idea to life when they opened a fully licensed sit-down venue in Hardware Lane called Crêperie Le Triskel. In 2012, the duo extended their offering by converting a former stainless steel newspaper stand into a fashionable takeaway-only outlet on the corner of Little Collins and Swanston Streets.
The opening of this little food kiosk triggered a refurbishment and rebranding of the original Hardware Lane site, with both sites now sporting the La Petite Crêperie name and tagline of being ‘arrogantly French’.
“It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to creating something that is ‘as French as possible’. It’s a statement of pride that we are offering an authentic product with a sense of experience,” says Patrizia.
Their objective has been successful. When you step into the café you feel like you’re experiencing a little piece of France with traditional music, magazines, décor and the wonderful smell of freshly cooked crêpes. Even the staff at La Petite Crêperie are French, so when you are greeted at the door with a smiling and perfectly pronounced ‘bonjour’ you can’t help but be drawn into the spirit.
Of course, the greatest attention to detail in atmosphere and appearance wouldn’t be worth much if the product didn’t shine. Again, the focus is on authentic recipes and preparation, with all crêpes and galettes (savoury crêpes) made on site and in full view of the customers.
“Part of the experience at an authentic crêperie is seeing it made in front of you,” says Patrizia. “We want the customers to know that it is made with the best ingredients, cooked to order and assembled with care – and so it was important that we made that all visible.”
Furthermore, the recipes are all traditional with a wide selection of savoury galettes (made in the authentic manner of 100% buckwheat flour – thereby making them gluten free) and a beautiful assortment of sweet crêpes, most of which are finished with homemade, locally-sourced fillings and toppings. Quite simply, they are delicious, and it’s very easy to see how a filling savoury galette or a delicate sweet crêpe really can be eaten at any time of the day or night.
Rounding out the offerings is a small selection of baguettes, toasted sandwiches, salads and quality coffee, as well as some specialty breakfast and lunchtime items. And if you’re heading in a little later in the day, you can indulge in some French ciders and wines or a cheese platter (made with imported French cheeses).
It all comes together in a neat and complementary package where quality and authenticity come through, enabling the customer to immerse all of their senses in a little corner of France.
By Jonathan Green
La Petite Crêperie
a: 32 Hardware Lane, Melbourne, 3000
Open seven days (including public holidays) – go to www.lapetitecrêperie.com.au for specific opening hours.