France-SoirOn February 20, 1986 France-Soir Restaurant was established by Jean-Paul Prunetti and Yvon Vogel; partners in an enterprise neither imagined would endure as it has. The partnership lasted until March 1988 when Yvon returned to France.
Starting his career in Paris as an apprentice waiter in 1964, aged 14 it is no surprise that Jean-Paul achieved great success creating a smaller version of the great Parisienne brasserie.
The first of only two head chefs in France-Soir's history was Joachim Inacio. Whilst untrained in the commercial sense, Joachim had a tremendous ability to produce classic French dishes. Originally handwritten, the a la carte menu was renowned for its regional French dishes.
In 1986, this style of cooking and eating was new to Melbourne; the experience was considered innovative, the idea of inexpensive French brasserie dining unheard of! In the early years Jean-Paul worked closely with Joachim perfecting recipes, creating the menu as we know it today. Whilst remaining true to the restaurants original philosophy, patrons and the changing times have had a great influence on the menu content.
In 2000 Joachim was replaced due to health reasons by his 2nd chef of 6-years, current executive chef Geraud Fabre.
France-Soir was the pioneer of features which are considered standard in many restaurants today; butchers paper for a table cloth and bread with no side plate, totally irregular; the plat du jour and the vin du jour splashed across the mirrors, hand painted each day; the shucking of sleeping oyster's under your watchful eye just milliseconds before they hit the table, all considered de rigueur.
In the early years the kitchen took orders from the full menu until 1am. Today little has changed; the restaurant still opens 7-days, lunch and dinner, taking orders from the full menu until 12-midnight.
France-Soir has evolved into a pit stop not only for the locals, but as a haven for visiting international celebrities. From athletes to rock stars, Hollywood actors and Whitehouse politicians, if they visit Melbourne, they eat at France-Soir.
Whilst opening as a BYO restaurant, in 1989 Jean-Paul decided to "upgrade"and fully licence the restaurant whilst maintaining the BYO licence. Initially the wine list was restricted and printed on the rear of the menu, but as Jean-Paul's palate developed and his interest grew it became necessary to create a separate wine list, a book now holding over 2,100 references.
In addition to maintaining an excellent wine list, much of the restaurants success has been connected to the individuality of each waiter. Jean-Paul has worked relentlessly to maintain the team of skilled waiters, ensuring each maintained their personalities, understanding that the relationships forged between patron and waiter greatly influence the restaurants success. Today the faces in the front of house are mostly familiar; 3 of the 7 waiters (all French speaking!) have been associated with the restaurant 20-years.
Firmly affixed at the helm, Jean-Paul continues to manage the restaurant until today, ensuring that each patron walks away having experienced a little piece of Paris.
❊ Address & Contact ❊
⊜ 11 Toorak Road South Yarra | Map
✆ 03 9866 8569
❊ Web Links ❊
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