Scorcher reviews: Frederic — ‘It’s come to charm your pants off’
Melburnians, lock up your loved ones. A big, swaggering French bistro has just sauntered into town and it’s come to charm your pants off.
Run by the offspring of renowned chef Jacques Reymond, Frederic borrows from the family’s French roots to deliver a suave and sophisticated diner will no doubt lure, siren-like, many a beguiled Melburnian to the groovy shores of Cremorne.
The Reymond siblings – Nathalie, Edouard and Antoine – have hospitality running in their claret and with Frederic have created a place that has a touch of European class that won’t alienate the pub-hungry locals of Richmond and blow-in footy crowds.
The restaurant is split into two equally charming parts: Frederic is the formal bistro, while the more casual Fred’s Bar offers a more pared-down experience, serving bar snacks like a smoked sausage and pickled onion croque monsieur, chicken pot pie and a crispy rockling baguette.
Over at Frederic, the smaller plates on the menu are where most of the fun is had. The manchego mousse mille feuille ($6) is modern take on the traditional French pasty; a lavosh and spring roll pasty is baked into paper-thin shards, stained black with squid ink, and served with a manchego custard and some fresh celery.
Some of the other offerings include blue swimmer crab madeleines ($6), chicken liver pate with hazelnut craquelin ($12), veal tartare with pine nut cream and pickled shallots ($18) and broad bean and pea risotto ($26).
While the dominant thread to head chef Nick Deligiannis’s menu is French, there are some notable outliers, such as the flathead ceviche with dill dressing, ginger, sweet potato and mustard leaf.
But nothing screams French bistro more than an oval plate of steak frites (from $28). Even with the waiter’s caution that perhaps our eyes were outgunning out stomach capacity, nothing was going to get in the way of me having my frites fix. So simple but so satisfying. Here, shoe string fries make happy bedfellows with your choice of scotch fillet, eye fillet or porterhouse, served with pots of house mustard and red pepper sauce.
I do need to flag that Frederic’s is more a special occasion restaurant than a fuss-free thrifty feed. However, the hit to the hip pocket was less severe than I had anticipated. Three courses with wine and cocktails set us back about $110 per person.
Like a wide-eyed contestant on the Bachelorette, I did fall for the charms, the flash and the dash of Frederic. I’m tipping this place is going to have a long and passionate relationship with Cremorne.
Frederic, 9-11 Cremorne St, Cremorne; Monday-Friday, 11.30am-11pm; Saturday, 5pm-11pm. Red hot tip: make sure you book for Frederic, walk-ins only for Fred’s Bar