La Fourchette (The Fork) which opened mid 2013, is the big sibling to L’Assiette (The Plate or The Dish) in Britomart. I can’t believe I had forgotten to check this French café/restaurant/patisserie when it’s (sort of) just on my doorstep.
The Eastern Bays (particularly Mission Bay) is an overhyped, overpriced tourist trap. Which is why when friends visit, I take them eating all over Auckland, but not 5 minutes from my house. However, this year, two wonderful things have happened which is changing my mind; first, the opening of St Helier’s Bay Café & Bistro by the Hip Group, and now, La Fourchette, around the block. And both of them are open 7 days, from 7am until late. I can barely contain my joy.
The patisserie section of La Fourchette proffers a range of tarts, macarons and eclairs from Ma Cherie patisserie, as well as a selection of sandwiches, quiches and salads to take away.
La Fourchette has an extensive menu; there’s all the breakfast favourites; – pain perdu (aka French toast), ouefs benedicte, l’omelette and croque monsieur or madame, and the typical continental petit dejeuner which consists of pastry, baguette, jam, orange juice and a hot drink. The main menu expands to galettes (buckwheat crepes), pizza, a range of plats, shared platters, crêpes and fromage (cheeses). There is also la formula du jour (daily fixed price menu, $29 for 2 courses and a drink, $36 for 3). For dinner, you get the addition of steaks and a bigger dessert menu.
I was brought here one evening to sample their crêpes. The caramel salé (salted caramel) crêpe was very good; great texture (though I do like my crêpes to have some crisp to the edges), layered in a wonderful salted caramel sauce, topped with biscuit crumbs and served with whipped cream ($9).
The service was friendly and efficient, and truly lived up to its neighbourhood bistro charm. Which was why, three days later, when I was asked on suggestions for a lunch outing, La Fourchette was top of my list. With the warm summer weather, we decided to sit outside. I went for le forrestière galette (savoury buckwheat crêpe with herbes de provence roasted mushroom, buttered spinach, emmental and topped with a raw egg yolk, $15.50). This is probably the best galette I have had in Auckland, and is quite a substantial meal.
Younger brother had the pâté de canard (duck liver pâté with caramelised figs, toasted brioche and blue cheese salad, $16). I had a taste, and it was delicious, superbly smooth and sublimely savoury.
Sis-in-law had the moules marinières (green-lipped mussels cooked in white wine, shallots, garlic and served with fries, $23). The mussels were cooked perfectly, tender and flavoursome. Though for 8 small-ish mussels, this was an expensive dish. She wanted an iced coffee, which wasn’t on the menu, but they were happy to comply. And it was excellent.
From 3-5pm, La Fourchette serves high tea. What doesn’t this place do? I was very impressed both times I was here. The service is attentive (earlier reviews were mixed), the food is well executed and the location is perfect, well, I might be a tad biased.
Update 30/12/2013 : I had an invite for high tea by a wonderful friend (who became my
boyfriend, fiancé, husband). La Fourchette serve Harney & Sons teas in beautiful pastel porcelain. The croissant, mini galette, quiche were all excellent. As were the lemon tart and eclair. I wasn’t enamored with Ma Cherie’s macarons, but everything else was delicious and beautifully presented. High tea can also be served with Veuve Cliquot champagne, my favourite!
8C Turua Street, St Helier’s, Auckland
Ph: 09-215 8332
Open 7 days, 7am until late
Breakfast menu from 7am until 3pm
Dinner menu starts at 5pm