>le parisien geelong

>15 Eastern Beach Road Geelong
www.leparisien.com.au

A long lingering lunch with my sister Mena was in order. We had much to catch up on. we headed to Mena’s favourite place on a breezy Sunday afternoon, to sit by the water and graze the afternoon away.

I was feeling really ill, with a chest infection picked up in Perth just not going away. I kicked off with two paracetamol and a full-fat Coke to get the heart going, quickly followed by a nice glass (or two) of Austin shiraz – a local red. I was starting to enjoy this.

We both chose the seafood chowder to start, and we were not disappointed. This is one of my favourite soups and it is rare to get a good one anywhere I find. By the time I had soldiered through mine I was feeling much better and wondering how I could fit my main course in.

The waiter had taken a shine to me so our service was impeccable. The owner, a grand-sized Frenchman, also took time to visit each table and chat with the lunchtime crowd. It was a nice vibe and we really felt at home sitting at the window. There was no rush.

An elderly lady came in to lunch alone, nicely dressed up in a navy blue suit complete with hat. Perhaps she had been to church that morning. It seemed to me that she was a regular – maybe she had a favourite dish she had every week. She stayed about an hour and then walked briskly on home along the waterfront in the wind. I want to be like her when I am that age.

My fillet steak Cafe de Paris was huge: topped with sauteed mushrooms, bacon, onions and garlic butter it was a heart attack on a plate but I dug in and mopped up the sauce with chat potatoes. We tried to ignore the complimentary French fries on the table but failed dismally. My defence is that I did my sore throat good with all that salt.

How we managed to leave I do not know. We sat for over four hours putting the world to rights, sipping on our wine and finishing off with a couple of good quality lattes before facing the long drive home. It was comfort food at its best, and a location probably best enjoyed in the autumn or winter months when you want cosiness with your lunch.

At $202 the bill was not cheap, but I can see why it is Mena’s favourite and I will find an excuse to accompany her there again!

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