Gontran Cherrier Richmond
Traditional French boulangeries aren’t typically hotbeds of culinary innovation. But fewer rules apply at outposts of celebrity French chef Gontran Cherrier’s franchise.
The first Australian Gontran Cherrier (and the 27th worldwide) opened on Smith Street Collingwood in 2016. The second, in Hawthorn, followed just over a year later.
Cherrier has a bold and daring approach to baking – the chef is constantly changing his menu. Cherrier’s past hits include squid-ink rolls, kimchi quiches and loaves of bread made with molasses and coriander.
This third Australian venue in particular is a place for Cherrier to experiment.
Like its siblings (there’s also one in Hawthorn), the Richmond store has a simple, rustic feel. Rough brickwork and concrete floors combine with timber dado panelling to strike a balance between old and new. A service counter set on hefty stone plinths keeps the spotlight on the store’s pastries (made with imported Lescure butter and Gontran’s favourite French flour).
An intimate dining area at the back of the eatery encourages the steady stream of office workers trickling in for coffee to extend their stay. It comprises cosy banquettes, a handful of wooden tables and chairs, and a mirror illuminated by two spherical lights that give the space a welcome airiness.
Here, guests tuck into croque monsieurs loaded with ham, bechamel and gruyere; quiche Lorraines; sandwiches made with Cherrier’s signature sourdough; and squid-ink or curried multigrain baguettes. Later, maybe a café au lait and some kouign-amann (a buttery, multi-layered, sugared pastry) ice-cream.