C’est Bon

396 Bay St

Port Melbourne, VIC 3207

03 9646 2296


Please note, this restaurant has closed down in April 2011

I told my workmates how I should dine out more so that I can take pics of the food and then ‘bitch’ about it, ha ha! To my delight, Jo offered herself as a dining companion and partner in crime. It is good. She lives very close by and as all Singaporeans do, we both love our food.

Jo suggested C’est Bon, an unobtrusive French eatery at the quiet end of Bay St, Port Melbourne. C’est Bon means “it’s good” in French. And it was a good start. Somewhere local, a short walk from both our homes. French food sounds exciting, and we will be throwing our Asian palates into unfamiliar ground.

Arancini (fried risotto balls)

The place had a home-made feel to it. Cosy, quiet, slightly awkward. The waiting staff were formal, handsome and attentive. They spoke with an European accent, probably French, and gave an air of reserved aloofness. Trisha, the restaurant manager, was a warm lady who took care of us. Every table had complimentary Arancini for starters. I kept surreptitiously licking at the pool of aioli underneath the rice balls.

We headed for main course right away. This is very unlike me, I usually like French entrées more than mains. The escargots, foie gras, scallops and French onion soup looked quite enticing. But I wasn’t that well that day, a flu bug had just latched onto me and appetite was small. We didn’t even have wine!

We ordered the duck (canard à l’orange) and the rabbit (lapin à la moutarde). I chuckled inside. I could almost imagine a looney tunes-style repartee between Daffy Duck & Bugs Bunny.

Asians like sharing food. Jo and I did a hilarious thing at C’est Bon. We did plate swapsies! In full view of everyone. We each carefully carved our way through half of everything on our first plates, and then stealthily exchanged plates when we thought no one was looking. It was very funny. And we nearly toppled the candles and glasses in our nervous excitement. Our neighbours, an European couple, noticed and were amused. But we were satisfied that we both had a fair go at both dishes.

canard à l’orange ~$34.9

The duck was twice cooked in the oven. When I dug into it, I found the skin was crispy and the flesh familiar. Unfortunately, my Asian palate brought in memories of Asian roast duck. It almost tasted like the peking duck pieces served at Old Kingdom in Collingwood! The duck was nice, but I wasn’t a fan of the orange and Grand Marnier sauce because I found it too sweet. The duck sat on a creamy sweet potato mash and underneath everything sat braised red cabbage. I didn’t like the mix of flavours here as much: sweet sauce, sweet mash and vinegary cabbage. All that didn’t lend well to a crispy skinned duck, maybe because the duck itself reminded me of Asian food and my palate couldn’t accept the Western accompaniments.

lapin à la moutarde ~$34.9

I liked the Rabbit. At the start, my tongue was puzzled. Was I eating a warm sour dessert? Why wasn’t it salty? My face was screwed up with consternation. It was only after the 4th bite that I grew to like it. The meat was tender and went very well with the tartness of the white wine and mustard sauce. The veggies and pieces of gnocchi also went well with that sauce. This was a dish that began slow but gained good momentum.

On a side note, could I take some geeky pride in mentioning that we were served the left forelimb and the lumbar muscles (loins) of the rabbit? Took some time examining the scapula before I came to that conclusion. Hey, those who love their food should also play with their food!

dégustation de desserts ~$38.9

We eagerly ended the meal with a selection of 5 desserts for two. The platter was presented very prettily but the items themselves were nothing to shout about. The crème brulée wasn’t served hot. And Jo didn’t rave about the lemon tart. 

I am not sure whether I will come back again for dinner. The prices are stiff for a decent but not totally fantastic meal. I am still curious about the entrées though. They also have reasonably priced business lunch specials from tuesdays to fridays, $30 for 3 courses. I might quite possibly do that one day since it’s so close to home. Nothing like a stroll down the “Paris’ end of Bay St for weekday brunch!

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