Don't let the French name, bistro style, and the French toast fetish trick you. This quaint eatery and café in Paddington, serving breakfast, lunch, and Merlo coffee, is crossing French borders and offering you a round-the-world-ticket for your taste buds. They pull inspiration from Portuguese, South African and Chinese cuisine to name a few, with Australian favourites fused into the mix. The menu is creative, seasonal, and pretty much impossible to chose from.
The atmosphere is Paddington prim – tasteful and reserved, and just the tiniest bit stiff. They’ve got your belly covered, but when it comes to fun it’s DIY, which isn’t too tough when it’s BYO beer. Share a big side of crisp chats with tangy lime coriander salt and nose-punching horseradish aioli over a couple of brewskies.
Anouk has a reputation for their ever-evolving take on French toast. In the past, they have cleverly gussied up fluffy brioche with flavours from other pastry players, such as baclava and apple turnover, to make a kind of French-toast hybrid. Right now it’s made from flaky house-made croissants, battered and toasted to create the ultimate buttery bite. Top it with a cloud of mascarpone, pouring cream, and a splash of raspberry compote and you’ve got a date with the treadmill. For lunch, it’s home-style cooking with an upmarket twist. Use your hands to tackle the Asian roasted oxtails, gelatinous and rich at the bone, served with couscous in a light beef broth and a squeeze of grilled lime.
Curlicue chairs, rows of low-hanging ceiling fans and potted plants give Anouk a rustic touch. The staff, sleek in black, are gracious and accommodating and won't rush you out, even on weekends when it's packed. Of course, when it comes to avoiding eye contact with hungry Brisbanites telepathically urging you to scull your cappuccino and give up your chair, you're on your own.