Thursday, February 18, 2010

Crêpe Showdown: Through Thick and Thin! (Part Two)

Aix Café Crêperie Salon
24 Centre Place
Telephone: 03 9662 2667

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30am-5pm, Sat 8am-5pm

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth
Robert Frost

Of course the path to Aix is hardly the road less traveled [sic]; Centre Place has been pounded down plenty. If you've been in Melbourne for anything longer than 5 minutes (and especially if your guide is a university student) the second phrase you will invariably hear is "You should totally check out Degraves. I know a place that does great crêpes..."

(The first phrase is "I'll take you to Lygon St." But that's a different story on a different blog.)

Anyway, true to form when fellow foodie and ex-colleague MT and I were scheduling a catch-up session after a gruel-ing winter's work in Hong Kong, he suggested we head to Aix. It's so nice when other people make the choices you want so you can appear all sweet and accomodating.

And speaking of sweeeet, check out this selection of
crêpes. If Aix can one-up Le Petit Francais
on anything, it'll be on pure variety and originality. Orange Blossom Honey? Rosewater Yogurt? Blood Orange and Burnt Sugar?!

Which is why I'm almost ashamed to show you my order.

Nutella and Cookies (with added ice cream) - $7.00

I'm SORRY. Except...I'm not really. Because it was great! Huge dollops of melting nutella, 'thick' layers of
crêpe in between, and hidden, suicidal teddies popping their little heads up all over. Superb comfort food! In my defense, I'd actually ordered a slightly more interesting Nutella and Coconut, but presumably I was misheard, and I didn't want to kick up a fuss. Especially since I haven't had teddy cookies in I don't know 15 years?! How have I lived?

Now I usually cop it when I'm lunching with lads because I like a light lunch but can never resist a dessert. So my solution is often to skip the meal altogether and have a dessert as my main. This never goes down well and not without some measure of strident explanation to an incredulous expression.

So it's always nice to meet a man who understands. MT's

Sticky Date with Caramel Sauce & Double Cream (with added ice-cream!) - $8.50

Not being a 'sticky date' myself, I didn't try this (I lie - I'm actually just not a fan). But MT really enjoyed this - he wiped his plate clean in less than half the time it took me to finish.

The view from our table. We were 'all the way in the back'.

Now, my description of Le Petit Francais as spacious, bright and airy was no mere sputtering of adjectives. Aix is cramped, dark and slightly stuffy. But you can't deny - it's cool.

My only pickle is that ice cream is clearly not their forté. Watching them spoon some out of one those big, blue, commercial tubs, I nearly choked in dismay. To be fair, however, ice cream doesn't feature anywhere on the menu - and it's only because we asked that we got any. I suspect they just stock it for drinks.

The Verdict? It's a bit like comparing Marie Antoinette to Moulin Rouge . Thin crêpes are really lovely in their light texture and delicate taste. Thicker crêpes are less refined, but at the same time you get a more intense mouthful, voluptuous and indulgent. This comparison is probably reinforced by the locations of the respective crêperies - Swanky South Yarra versus the Bohemian rhapsody of Degraves (which also explains the marked price difference).

Personally, I appreciate beauty (and flavour!) in all shapes and sizes, so it boils down to whatever I'm craving at the time. S'il vous plait, anywhere you go - let me go too! That's all I ask of you.

Aix Café Creperie Salon on Urbanspoon


  1. I do like that creperie. I just like how the little seats are on the kerb of the laneway and i can sit there and watch people walking up and down.

  2. Awesome find and the prices are reasonable! I will have to check it out (I never go to Degraves!). Nutella might not be as fancy as rosewater yoghurt and blood orange and honey, but it's awesome in its own right! :)

  3. Like this place also, except it can get a little cramped up...PLenty of water is required after their nuttella crepes hehe

  4. Penny: I know what you mean, it's one of those places to be really anonymous and wile away the time observing others!

    Rilsta: I absolutely completely fabulously agree - I just can't go past ordering nutella at any crepe place I go. It's a curse and a blessing!

    Adrian: Now that you mention it, I did have loads of water - it was so rich. NOT a bad thing!

  5. Why have I not been here? I'm at Degraves almost every weekend. Shame!!!

    Have you been to Fraus in Norht Melb yet? Pretty generous with their crepes and gallettes - servings are huge and the price is low.

  6. Love this place, just about to write about it now. The nutella crepe looks divine!

    Must. Go. Back. For. More. Decadent. Dessert. Crepe ...

    Btw, Fraus is great. I used to work near there, and it was a lunchtime staple.