105 Swan St
Richmond, VIC 3121

I don’t like traditional French food, it’s way too stuffy and boring – there, I said it. French-ish food, on the other hand, is a different story. The marriage of old-world decadence with modern ingredients creates a lighter and more varied palate that’s much more in line with my preferences. And here is Tartine, a textbook example of a harmonious relationship between old and new. The dim, suave interior brings to mind endless rounds of late-night champagne and caviar, whilst traditional eats such as gnocchi Parisienne rub shoulders with the likes of scallop tartare. And the excellent service? Not sure if that’s French at all, but it’s certainly very welcome.

Rating: 14.5/20 – a toast to good times.
Final thoughts: they’re very french, but they’re not too precious about it – aka all the good bits without the bad.

Scallop Tartare ($27)

Scallop Tartare ($27) may not be French, but the understated elegance is certainly in the right spirit. The portion here is generous, the silky scallops complemented by the effervescent crunch of translucent, lightly pickled cucumber.

Crisp Hash Browns, Foie Gras ($18)

Far more decadent is the Crisp Hash Browns, Foie Gras ($18). The salty, golden crunch and the fluffy centre of the hash brown alone warrants a double order, whilst the heavily cognac-spiked foie gras adds decadence without the greasiness.

Brie de Meaux Tartine ($14)

The restaurant is not called Tartine for no reason; the name refers to the popular French open sandwich, and there is a whole section of the menu dedicated to them here. The Brie de Meaux Tartine ($14) is a French classic, the oozy, musky cheese complemented by sticky caramelised onions and the crunch of walnuts, on a thick wedge of buttery brioche.

Egg Tartine ($12)

The Egg Tartine ($12) is really, really ugly, no two ways about it. Order it however, and you’ll be rewarded with the most decadent egg salad, smooth and full-flavoured thanks to the additions of avocado and copious amounts confit garlic.

Wagyu Bresaola Tartine ($13)

The Wagyu Bresaola Tartine ($13) was a special, and despite being the prettiest of the lot, is probably also the least exciting. Mind you though, the combination of smoky, buttery bresaola (excellent quality) with a crunchy fennel remoulade is still plenty tasty.

Moules Marinières ($32)

I was after a light main that day, and what better than Moules Marinières ($32), the sweet shellfish seethed in a broth of white wine and cream, served with toasted and heavily buttered baguette for mopping.

Peaches and Cream ($18)

We ran ridiculously late for our booking that day, but the staff still heroically managed to help us squeeze in a serve of Peaches and Cream ($18). More of a parfait than anything else, this layered dessert of stewed peaches, vanilla ice cream, salted caramel, and candied pecans is a reprieve from the richer fare on the menu.

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