by Michelle Gilmore
After the English lost the battle, the French, Thierry and Cindy Clerc, reclaimed the restaurant next door to open their French Brasserie.
Thierry and Cindy’s son, Sebastien , returned to the coop a few months ago to set up his own chocolatiere on site.
Together they are planning a unique French experience for dining on the range, returning to the location that for ten years made them very popular.
This year, Thierry and Cindy celebrate a quarter of the century in the restaurant trade, here and in Brisbane.
Known for their excellence in French cuisine, the Clerc’s Le Relais Bressan Café and Deli in Flaxton is a mecca for authentic pastries and cakes. Most breads and croissants are made on site with French flour and their deli will wow you.
Now that Sebastien has returned from his six months in Melbourne (“I didn’t enjoy city life”), he is bringing his artistic talents to his work.
“My handmade chocolate is created on the premises. It is something you don’t find everywhere.”
All gluten free with no artificial flavours, and a base of real French chocolate, he says the flavours are his experiments – his ideas.
Walk into his Cocorico chocolate haven and you will see his flair for his craft. Some are works of art – including Le Bressan’s Cock, a grand rooster of chocolate, larger than any Easter egg I’ve seen.
The aroma and sights of the morsels behind the counter leads to heightened anticipation.
Sebastien hands us a decadent chocolate ball. I knew it was going to be good, and all of a sudden the sphere releases the flavour within – a secret nip of spirits. “Don’t eat this if you are driving,” he warns, delighted with our surprise.
He crows that his chocolates are rated by some locals as an aphrodisiac. “One fellow buys a box for his wife every week – he says it makes his life ‘better’!”
The new restaurant calls for a different way for him to create: Friday and Saturday nights there will be what Sebastien calls his “special cocktails”.
“Now we are opening next door, I am the official barman, or ‘cocktail artist’ and they won’t be your average cocktails.”
So how is this barman/chocolate specialist, with his passion for flavour and fun, going to balance an extra business?
Sebastien says he juggled his school, the business and apprenticeship with his parents (both chefs and pastry chefs) at the premises next door, plus two jobs on the side for three years. This should be a piece of “gateau” in comparison.
To his parents well-regarded business, he says he brings a younger generational view, “I love the traditional food and culture in France, respecting that there is a tradition and some things can be manipulated and some you can’t .”
He seems to know the difference – and his parents would agree.
The Brasserie, Le Coq Bressan, boasts a set menu and three-course meal for $33, and if you are there enjoying a drink, you can share an aperitif plate.
It will be opening in December, with dinner Thursdays to Sundays, and lunch Saturday to Mondays. They will keep their coffee shop running too – it closes at 4pm. Go in and say hello.