241 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9639 0307
Tonight, I was meant to post my review of Touché Hombre, the newest taquería in town. I had been working on it in the office this evening, whilst also finishing off some work before I take a few days off next week. Unfortunately, just as I was halfway into describing my fish taco (this is NOT a double entendre), there was a power surge in the building. While Brent – the only other person on my floor – was concerned about the functionality of the lifts, I was more cut about losing my blog draft (and I’m not someone who constantly presses CTRL + S while typing something up, a lesson that I should have learnt 10 years ago). So for now, Touché Hombre will have to wait until I get back to work next week to (hopefully) continue from whatever’s been written since my last CTRL + S and tonight, you’ll have to deal with me talking about crêpes.
If tacos are Mexico’s street food, then I guess the humble crêpe would be the French equivalent. Then again, that role would probably suit the baguette more but shush, let’s not spoil it for me, okay? Marty and I were looking for breakfast one Saturday morning before a bout of shopping at GPO. We didn’t want to eat anything heavy as we were heading out to Bistro Thierry for lunch, just something light to sate the hunger pangs. After walking through Centre Place, we ended up on Flinders Lane and that’s when I suggested we try ‘that crêpe place in that alley way next to that sushi café.’
The place I’m talking about is Roule Galette, a crêperie that’s been quietly charming Melburnians for several years thanks to owner, native Frenchman, Michel Dubois. I go past this place all the time en route Flinders Street station but have never stepped into its homely quarters until now.
It’s only a small eatery that can fit 20 people at best, with several tables outside for those who like to dine al fresco. This place gets busy at lunch and we were worried that their Saturday breakfast sessions might be just as packed, but thankfully there was a spare table next to a bunch of annoying north-of-the-Yarra literary-wannabe types. I love the little touches that dot this place. From this cartoon (above), to the tattered childrens’ books that line the wall edges above the tables.
I suspect that Michel named his crêperie after this cute little French book by Natha Caputo. My French is extremely limited so I have no idea what any of the words mean, but going by the pictures I am assuming that it’s about a runaway galette (essentially, an umbrella term that means ‘crusty cake’ in French) that gets eaten by a fox at the end.
Too cute for words!
Our coffees came about 15 minutes after we had ordered them. Given that it was a full house and with two staff running the show, I knew that I had to be patient. My latte ($3) was so milky, which is normally a good thing – but they gave me skim milk when I did not specifically ask for it. Slightly annoying but it happens all the time that I’m actually starting to get used to it.
It took a while for our crêpes to arrive (fair enough – there was only one guy cooking crêpes for about 15 people) but when they did, we both sighed with contentment.
I ordered the Forestière ($9.50) because the menu said that it was a recipe from Michel’s father and therefore, anything that’s been handed down from generation to generation must be okay. I love mushrooms and I love béchamel sauce even more so I was excited when I saw that this crêpe had both. It also contained bacon and cheese and as a result, it was an extremely rich crêpe that filled me up before I even finished a THIRD of it. It may have been a little bit salty and I would have probably preferred ham over bacon, but I still give it two thumbs up.
Marty ordered the Complète with a few variations. Normally at $9.50, it comes with egg, ham, mozzarella and butter but he decided that he wanted to try morbier cheese and add tomato in it so his crêpe ended up costing a few dollars more. While Marty loved his crêpe, he felt that the morbier was too strong – I had to agree and I didn’t quite like the subtle bitter aftertaste – and wished he had stuck with the mozzarella. Also, he was glad that he requested the tomatoes as their freshness cut through all the fattiness beautifully.
Prior to our crêpes arriving, we were going to order a sweet crêpe to share. However, we had struggled terribly with our savoury crêpes and were in no shape to eat another bite. Reluctantly, we set goodbye and vowed to return soon. By ‘soon,’ I meant a week later sans Marty. After I had a conversation with some lovely, young Ukrainian engineers I had met at the city library, I decided to grab some sweet crêpes. I went for the Lucie ($8.50), not just because the crêpe’s name sounded really pretty but also because the combination of braised apples, ice cream and slivered almonds sounded amazing. Unfortunately, they had run out braised apples so I asked if I could have strawberries in place of the apples. The result was amazing. Most crêperies are tight when it comes to ice cream scoops so I was surprised to find THREE massive scoops of vanilla ice cream on top of my crepe. They were also generous with the strawberries (they had to – they charged me an extra $1.50 for them), which were beautifully sweet given that they were new season strawberries. Magnifique.
Both times, I enjoyed my crêpes thoroughly. It’s central yet quiet location, combined with cheap prices and generous portions make it an ideal place for a meal (I was going to say ‘snack’ but given how big the portions are, they should be considered proper meals). The only issue I have with this place is that service can be slow, and not just during peak periods (there were hardly any diners when I ordered the strawberry crêpe, for example) so I would only recommend Roule Galette if you have time to spare. Now go before some sly fox steals all the crêpes!