It’s 3am on Toorak Road. Most of the streetlights are out, except the glowing blue neon of French bistro, France Soir. It’s still glowing because Bruce Springsteen has done a run up the road for some good tequila. He cracks it open and proceeds to play a few rounds of cricket on the street, using oranges as cricket balls.
Or so the story goes.
Not that that was a big deal at the time – it never is here. The staff are too cool. Or too French. Or maybe that means the same thing.
Veteran restaurateur Jean-Paul Prunetti has been running France Soir for 36 years. He doesn’t care if you’re Joe Cocker here for the steak frites and Côte du Rhône or Mick Jagger, visiting for Burgundy and boeuf bourguignon. If your table isn’t ready, you wait like everybody else.
All guests are important here, even the Rolling Stones.
There’s a mystique about the place. A vibe, a tone, a certain… something.
Maybe it’s the people who eat here – a mix of rich, powerful, stylish and Who Even Knows.
A group breezes in through the front door of Number Eleven Toorak Road in a stream of fuchsia
and burnt orange, crisp white and smudged charcoal, metallic purple and fresh-bitten peach. It’s fresh-drop Prada and Balenciaga, Rick Owens, Gucci, Balmain and Jacquemus. And so beautiful it hurts.
Two older women with tightly set hair don’t bother with the menu. They know what they want – they eat the same thing every Friday night.
Options traders let their wine choices do the talking for them, dressing the table with the big swinging Burgundies the restaurant is famous for.