30 June 2007

Almost French

138 Swan St, Richmond
Ph: 9429 2080
Open: Mon-Sat, 7am-5pm

I GO past Almost French on my tram twice a day and without fail I inwardly drool at the crusty bread and sugary donuts on display in the window. The classic French-style bakery seems out of place in grungy Swan St. But at the same time, every time I go past it seems so right.

Finally I found myself in Swan St on a Saturday afternoon with some time up my sleeve so I popped in. As it was late most of the selections were gone and I hadn’t really had breakfast, let alone lunch, so I was ready to eat.

A scrambled egg and bacon baguette looked pretty good ($7.50) as did the croque Monsieur (ham and gruyere cheese grilled sandwich) and croque Madame (same as Monsieur but with a fried egg on top). After a quick deliberation, I settled on a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich on wholemeal bread ($7.50) with a chai latte ($3).

From the outside, the sandwich looked great mainly because of the bread, which had been thickly sliced. Unfortunately in reality it wasn’t so good. Even though I was attracted to it because it looked so filling, there was just too much bread. I’m not sure of the technical ham/cheese/tomato vs. bread ratio, but in this case it was way out of whack.

The chai on the other hand came in a big glass, was brewed with real T2 leaves (a rarity these days) and was steaming hot. There were funky tunes on the radio, both papers were on the paper stand just waiting to be read by me and the general atmosphere was laid back, which is just what I was after.

While the sandwich didn’t really rock my world, the whole experience only stung me $10.50 so I haven’t totally knocked this one off my list. Why? Well, Almost French has a great selection of sweets in a display cabinet such as baked cheesecake, tiny apple crumbles and glazed fruit tarts. Add a chai latte to one of those and I reckon the Swan St bakery would tick most of the boxes.

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know.


- Zoe


Anonymous said...

Hi there - stumbled on your blog when googling the number for Almost French.

Your description sounds fairly accurate (though I've never had their sandwices, tae or coffee), but I would add that you should try their baguettes sometime. Having lived in France for a while and married to a Frenchie I'm fussy about what generally passes for baguettes in Australia (either spongy or too hard), and these are the only ones I've found in the southern hemisphere that come anywhere close to a crusty fresh baguette you'd get in a typical French boulangerie.

They absoultely rock - the only frustrating this is that they only bake in batches which sell out quickly and often don't bake them first thing in the morning - hence ringing ahead.

Their croissants and pains au chocolat used to be good, but the croissant I got from them this morning was disappointing - too 'bread-y' and not particularly flaky. Their patisserie is pretty good too, and reasonably priced.

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(Submitted by SeKu for R4i Nintendo DS.)