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Venue Report: Anton Forte's favourite restaurant in Australia

Words by Anton Forte

Melbourne's France-Soir is a restaurant with the type of authenticity that you'd believe you were really in France. Swillhouse founder, bar owner, and restaurateur, Anton Forte, tells us why it's his favourite restaurant in Australia.

Travel might be restricted for now, but we're thinking forward to a time when we can finally get back out and do the things we love most. In saying that, let's pay homage to a Melbourne institution that you need to check out whenever you’re next in town: France-Soir.

This is my favourite restaurant in Australia. Everything about it is perfect. Waffled paper tablecloths, blue and pink neon sign that permeates the dining room, French floor team - all male, female owner, daughter supervising the testosterone - this is magic.

Image: France-Soir

This is what restaurants mean. This is why we’re in hospitality.

When I was in my early 20’s working in Melbourne restaurants, there would be many rumours about this place. The tips they earn (over $900, back in 2002), staff meals (oysters, steak and Rhone) and how the floor staff would stop service at precisely midnight everyday, no matter the situation, to sit down as a family and eat meals together.

France-Soir was established in 1986, and it’s widely hailed as the most authentic French brasserie in Melbourne. The key to the magic is in its sense of permanence, with staff that never leave and menu items that stay even longer. Geraud Fabre is France-Soir’s second ever head chef in the restaurant’s history, and he’s been at the helm for over 25 years. France-Soir exudes luxury, nostalgia, and an authenticity that can’t be faked.

As soon as things are back and running - and I'm hopeful they will be - this is the place to go.

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