A cosy little French bistro that is the secret to many hearts.
Chapel Street is Melbourne’s Rodeo Drive — home to frenetic shopping, orange tanned bodies, boozy nights, big brands, big hair and bigger cars. Just off the Prahran end of Chapel Street lies the quieter, somewhat eccentric, Greville Street. With an almost-hidden frontage, Chez Olivier is a consistently reliable, cosy little French bistro. It is modestly furnished in the typical French bistro-style of bare tables and pervasive tones of earthy browns. It is where MoMo & Coco can practice le francais, and where the wait staff are most welcoming, helpful, and importantly, not condescending towards ignorant diners. And if we may add, Chez Olivier has one of the best menu of irresistibles — including the rarely-seen on dessert menus, ile flottante, cafe gourmand and claufotis.
MoMo & Coco visited for a leisurely Easter weekend lunch, and selected the extended prix fixe menu ($26pp). For mains, our party selected a very traditional mainstay of French bistros, the succulent coq au vin, braised slowly in red wine and mushrooms; and something less traditional, a painterly, colourful dish of goast cheese ravioli.
To finish off these very sizeable and wholesome mains, we cast our eyes on the prix fixe dessert menu of five desserts. Bypassing the icecream bowl, ill flottante, and mousse, MoMo & Coco decided to embark on a chocolate extravaganza. For our first irresistible, we chose the favourite traditional French dessert of an oooozzzing rich rich rich chocolate fondant (chocolat au fondant), served with a dish of creamy vanilla bean icecream. Look how silky that ooooozing chocolate is! Simply…hmmmmm…irresistible…
For our second irresistible, we selected the menu’s dessert of the day (dessert du jour), and it proved to be a highlight, a true Easter extraordinare. One large handmade chocolate egg, estimated 15cm tall, covered with slightly burnt almond slivers, sitting encircled by a pool of what we remember as vanilla cream and strawberry coulis. You had to be a miner to break the egg apart, but what a suprise inside – intense chocolate mousse and tangy strawberry coulis!
The attentive, friendly service, the sizeable course sizes, and that dessert of the day certainly made MoMo & Coco not cry that cafe gourmand was not on the menu on that visit. It also confirmed Chez Olivier as a long-standing, ongoing favourite of ours. La douceur de vivre!!
- Dessert adventure checklist
- Dessert destination: Chez Olivier Restaurant, 121 Greville Street, Prahran, Vic 3181.
- Budget: $$-$$$.
- Sweet irresistibles: Restaurant dessert. Neo-classical French.
- Must-eat: The chocolate fondant.
- The short and sweet story: A cosy little French bistro that is the secret to many hearts.