Le Pain Quotidien, corner of Fitzroy and Bourke Streets, Surry Hills
Holly, Rachel and I popped into this restaurant a week or so ago before heading
up to the football stadium for a dismal Sydney FC match. We'd walked past it a
few times and peered into the window, and had wanted to try it out for ages.
Le Pain Quotidien means the daily bread, and this place really does make
exceptional bread. Chewy, full-flavoured, real bread. It seems to be an
international chain expanding all
over the place.
The room itself is spectacular. It seems to be a converted warehouse space,
with high ceiling and lovely raw wooden floorboards. A very warm, rustic feel
which, given our miserable summer and particularly the miserable evening that
day, was rather pleasant. It'd be a great space to linger over a few bottles of
wine and some grub with friends in mid-winter.
The food centred around bread and things to have with bread. Between the three
of us we ordered the Tuscan platter of ham, tapenade, pesto, soft cheese and
gerkins, and a beautiful pot of Beef Bourguignon. Perfect food for a lazy and
social meal, dipping bits of their amazing bread into the rich stew or slapping
antipasti odds and ends on.
I was a bit surprised that for both dishes, and with three people at the
table, we only got five meagre pieces of bread. We'd mown through the bread
before we were even two-thirds through the bits that go with it, so I ordered
some more. And this is what pissed me off: the waiter brought out three more
little pieces of bread, and I got charged $4 for the privilege.
Now I recognise that these guys have to make a buck, and their meals are
pretty reasonably priced, but charging more than a buck for a slice of bread
sticks in my craw. Not providing enough to reasonably eat the meal doesn't
So while the place is excellent in every other regard, the pricing policy
didn't make me happy. If you live nearby, it'd be a great place to buy your
bread and sandwiches. Perhaps knowing you'll be charged for bread, you won't
be as annoyed as I was and will quite enjoy it.