Insert [fancy French name] and watch them roll through the doors! Don’t all eateries wish it was that easy, the fact and the matter is these guys work their butts off to get where they are. This was exactly what crossed our minds when we saw the high ratings for Le Clec, and we were eager to see whether these ratings was justified.
We rolled up and got positive vibes right off the bat. The place was bright, warm from the wooden setting, and they even had Scandinavian style chairs, everybody loves Scandi chairs right? We were escorted to the enclosed back area which had plenty of natural light, without the bothersome bees. I seem to be a bee magnet, they always find me when I’m sitting outside!
There were 4 things which I loved about this menu, normally I don’t have 4 things to love about any menu.
1) They list their kitchen closing time (2:45PM). YES YES YES! Everyone could learn from this, especially the brunch cafes. Most cafes don’t serve food till their closing time, so let’s be transparent and put it on the menu.
2) There’s a ‘must try’ logo on their signature dishes. This is advertising the dishes they do best, takes the guesswork out.
3) Creative dishes – plenty of ways to skin a cat, all their dishes have their own special twist to it and it looked very promising indeed.
4) Reasonable prices! All the dishes on the menu were priced very well. To give you an example, my crispy salmon was $22 and a glass of wine to go with it was $6. A salmon and wine for under $30 presents exceptional value.
Well anyway, enough with the menu admiration, let’s move onto the food! My crispy salmon was out of this world! The skin was as promised – CRISPY, but the highlight was without a doubt the lemongrass, chilli broth. The broth complimented the perfectly cooked salmon beautifully. It was sour with a little chilli kick, very appetising! I was not expecting to be getting flavours like this for my first meal of the day, but I certainly wasn’t complaining. Being a huge mushroom fan, to get King Oyster mushrooms with this dish was just the cherry on top.
I looked across the table at Helen to get a glimpse of her reaction with her truffle scrambled eggs. I asked her how the eggs were, she responded with “It’s salty”. At this point sweat is building up on my forehead and I could feel my body shivering. She eats so much saltier than me, and for Helen to say something is salty, it must be pretty bad! I tried some of the scrambled eggs and my jaw just dropped, gasping for water. This was way over my salt tolerance threshold, and in this case Helen’s as well. She didn’t end up finishing it, and when the waiter come around we told him about it. To our surprise, his response was along the lines of ‘I’m sorry about that, however next time you should ask the chef to put less salt if you prefer to eat more plain’, suggesting that Helen was being particular. I just looked at him as if to say ‘Are you serious dude? Did you just apologise, but not apologise?’ I know for a fact that Helen eats really salty, and for him to just make this assumption without tasting the food was completely absurd! I didn’t feel like he was being intentionally rude, but he just sounded a little condescending. I never knew it was our responsibility to control the salt levels from their kitchen, otherwise it would work like bubble tea right? (No salt, 25% salt, 50% salt, etc.)
Credit where it’s due, the salmon was amazing but the truffled eggs + waiter, was not good at all. The saltiness could be a one off, and others may have had a different experience, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt here. They offered us a discount voucher as we were paying the bill, but whether that would entice us back is a different story. All in all, I wouldn’t rule out Le Clec as one of my recommendations to other people, it just may not be a place we’ll be returning to in the foreseeable future.
Approx $25 AUD per person
Address: 727 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122
Phone: +61 3 9818 8969