PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
Named for a French dessert – which in turn derives its name from the phrase "crunch in the mouth" – Croquembouche Patisserie is as French as they come. It's run by husband and wife team, Frederic and Laurence Caillon. Frederic trained as a pastry chef in Niort, France, and the couple opened the patisserie side of the business in 2000. Frederic had an espresso machine for his personal use, and it wasn't long before customers were asking for a short black to accompany their cakes, tarts, croissants and petit fours. The Caillons moved to a larger premises, added some tables and chairs, and voila! They are now one of the best places on Botany Road to stop and have a bite.
Laurence looks after the savoury side of things, which means French-style quiches and tarts, as well as some traditional French delicacies such as beef bourguignon, cassoulet, confit duck, rilletes and foie gras. In winter there's a plat du jour, but otherwise the cafe menu is suitably extensive. For breakfast try a croque monsieur or French crepes with honey and walnuts, or strawberries and cream. At lunch time choose from the many savoury tarts and baguettes, filled with everything from roast beef to prosciutto and aubergine. It is imperative that while you're there you try something sweet. The range of cakes, tarts and pastries is unbelievable; but most exciting is the huge choice of mini petit fours. Trust the professionals and tell the staff if you're a chocolate or fruit person. Then leave them to their devices and they'll put together an enticing selection of pint-sized goodies for you to take home.