La Crêpe de France in Melbourne
Like a pleasant lunch at a quaint sidewalk Parisian café, La Crêpe in historic downtown Melbourne, is a delightful addition to the growing list of restaurants in the area.
A crêpe is a very thin pancake, made from wheat flour or buckwheat flour. While crêpes are often associated with Brittany, a region in the northwest of France; their consumption is widespread in France and many parts of Europe. They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert.
Patrice Chaffaut who owns La Crêpe with his wife Celeste, is from Brittany and grew up in the restaurant business (though not as an active participant.)
“Crepes are ingrained in us, my family,” Patrice said.
After a career in the jewelry business, Patrice and Celeste decided to relocate here after their children grew up. What began as a takeout window with one table in Indialantic, grew in popularity and eventually expanded and relocated in December of last year to its current setting in downtown Melbourne on New Haven Avenue. The change in venue began with a four month renovation to convert the building from a beauty salon to a restaurant. The result is a pleasant and casual atmosphere with décor that has a French ambiance and touches of other Asian influences.
Crêpes are made by pouring a thin liquid batter onto a flat circular hot plate, often with a trace of butter on the pan’s surface; the batter is spread evenly over the cooking surface of the plate distributing the batter with an offset spatula. Sweet crêpes are generally made with wheat flour while savory crêpes are normally recommended with buckwheat. The fillings are added to the center of the crêpe and served with the edges partially folded over the center.
Crêpes are made to order and diners can watch the entire process through a clear glass window in the restaurant. Of the savory options, the Parisian, a delectable blend of mesquite wood smoked turkey, brie, candied walnuts and drizzled with honey is a stand out. Another recommended savory option – the La Grignote, made with rosemary and sundried ham with gorgonzola sauce, walnuts and topped with organic salad, is delicious. Savory crêpes come with a choice of regular white flour or the “galette” made from organic buckwheat. The galette is nuttier, 100 percent gluten free and recommended for the savory selections. Other varieties like the spicy masala or South Pacific with chicken, organic potatoes and tomatoes with spicy coconut curry are an unexpected treat. The chicken curry is Celeste’s own recipe. The salads and crêpes are made mostly with organic vegetables.
You’ll want to save room for dessert because the sweet crêpes are perfection. Dessert crêpes are traditionally made with white flour and filled with fruit, nuts or homemade jam. But it doesn’t stop there, from the traditional options to rocky road with marshmallows, Nutella and walnuts, your sweet tooth will rejoice. Fruit options include raspberry treat, blackberry “cobbler” and the ultimate, Love ‘em berries with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries raspberry and honey options. Add a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream to take it over the top.
In Brittany, crepês are served with bubbly apple cider and La Crêpe recommends “cidre bouche” for both savory and dessert crêpes. Craft beers and wines from sustainably farmed vineyards are selected to complement each dish as well. “Bubble tea” aka boba tea is a cold sweet tea-based drink with large chewy boba pearls (tapioca made from tora.) Fruit flavors, variations made with tea, chocolate and coffee flavors are offered. At first, a drink invented in Taiwan seems like an unlikely choice for a crêperie but the customers love it.
Something else the customers love – Sunday brunch. Due to customers’ request, La Crêpe now offers brunch; the menu rotates specials including eggs benedict, croissants or bagels.
Dining at La Crêpe is a refreshing change of pace and a unique treat.
Click here to see how a crêpe is made.
La Crêpe de France
Address: 707 E. New Haven Ave., Melbourne
Phone: (321) 837-3760
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday