COUNTRY CHICKEN SOUP WITH CRUSTY BREAD BY THE COOK’S GROCER There’s nothing our bodies crave…
In about two weeks’ time, I’ll have been in Canberra for nine years. Out of those nine years, I think 2013 probably holds the record for the highest number of new eateries opening in the one year—I still can’t believe how many there were. It’d be easy to think that because of this, we’d have most things covered, and that any new players wouldn’t have anything different to bring to the scene. But Chez Frederic, the newest addition—and quite possibly the first one for 2014—has proven otherwise.
Opening its doors for the first time at 5pm yesterday, Chez Frederic (or Chez Freds) is the work of Sara Poguet (of fashion label Mec and the Maid), and offers good food, fast. For those of you from Western Australia, if the name and the concept sound familiar, that’s because Sara’s father Frederic (pictured below with Sara) opened the first one there, at Cottesloe Beach. Sara just decided that Canberra needed one too.
While a sandwich board outside Chez Freds had been announcing its pending opening date, as well as updates being posted online, I’d never heard of it til I got a link to the menu from fellow foodie, HerCanberra editor, Amanda Whitley. All I had to read was the first line—lamb shanks—to decide that I definitely needed to check this place out. But my conviction only grew as I read the rest of the menu. Pork spare ribs? Yes please! Duck ravioli? Hellz yes!
If you follow HerCanberra on Facebook, you’ll know that I missed Zumba and went to Chez Freds instead. I swear that it’s because I wasn’t feeling well, not because I just wanted to eat (I should leave out that it was my stomach that was playing up, and that I almost never let that stop me from partaking in a good meal. Sometimes I think I love food way too much…)!
I’d asked a friend to come with me, partly because I know he also loves food and partly because I thought I could try my usual trick of trying more than one thing if my dining companion ordered a different meal to me. He brought another friend, so that added up to three things I’d potentially get to try!
I’d already read over the menu several times before we actually got there, so had already decided what I wanted to order (duck ravioli). Of course, this immediately changed when I saw the specials menu, and I ended up ordering veal scallopini with white wine creamy mushroom sauce, with mashed potatoes and sauteed veggies. My friend ordered meat balls with linguine, and his friend ordered the duck ravioli.
Now, just so you know, Chez Freds is not a fine dining establishment. It’s more like a really nice casual takeaway/dine-in place. You order in one half, where the menus and desserts are displayed, and if you want to eat in, you take a seat at one of the tables or benches in the other half (this will make much more sense when you go there). Whether you’re taking away or eating in, the food is served the same way, in foil takeaway containers, with eco-friendly disposable cutlery.
While we were waiting for our food, delicious smells from the kitchen wafted out, and we were pretty excited by the time our meals arrived. I was really taken aback with the size of mine, as I had no idea it would be so big. My friend’s meat ball linguine also looked pretty sizeable, whereas his friend’s duck ravioli looked quite small in comparison.
But all the meals were delicious—it was like eating restaurant food in takeaway form. My friend took a bite of a meat ball and immediately started raving about it, as he did with the pasta, which was handmade in-house. I got to try some, and agreed that they were worth the fuss. My veal scallopini was delicious, and the sauce went so well with the mashed potatoes. The duck ravioli was pretty amazing, and, while the serving had looked small on first sight, you probably wouldn’t have wanted to have it much bigger, as it was really rich.
We also got to try a few samples of the pork ribs (delicious), the boeuf bourguignon (yum) and one of the specials, butter chicken, which I thought was a bit of a random thing to be serving, but it was nice enough.
After eating the extras and even after offloading some of my food to the boys, I couldn’t finish my meal and had to take the leftovers home. My friend, although full, had caught sight of the tiramisu on display while ordering, and couldn’t resist trying it. He said he just wanted a taste, and he’d take the rest home. But once he started, that was that and there was nothing left to take home! I think means that it was pretty darn good (I don’t like coffee so I’m not a big fan of tiramisu, but there was also crème caramel which I’m hoping will be there next time).
I ordered some takeaway for my brother, which meant I also got to try the chicken and prosciutto tortellini with creamy mushroom sauce (delicious, like everything else) and we’ll be having lamb shanks for dinner tomorrow night (I may have gotten a bit carried away and over-ordered).
So basically, I really liked Chez Freds and I’ll definitely be going back to make my way through the rest of the menu—I just need to remember to try and save room for dessert next time!
The place: Chez Frederic
Where: Unit 4, 14 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
When: Open 7 days, lunch 12-2pm, dinner 5-9pm
Food: Pasta (including vegetarian options), meat & veggie dishes, desserts
Drinks: A range of wine and beer, as well as soft drinks
Contact: Call 02 6248 0044, visit the website at www.chezfrederic.com.au or check out their Facebook page.