Bastille Day Celebration Dinner in Sydney

On this Bastille Day in Sydney, the ambience at Restaurant A Toute Heure is very French. Crisp white tablecloths, tricolore napkins, Bernardeau porcelain tea lights and the sounds of Charles Aznavour, Thomas Fersen and Patricia Kaas fill the dining room. On one wall, a foulard commemorating 50th anniversary of la France Libre, on another, framed menus from the restaurants of Maxim’s in Paris and Paul Bocuse in Lyon.

resto foulard

Four of us are celebrating le quatorze juillet as if we had been true born French.

We start the evening with a pousse rapière cocktail. The aperitif originates from Gascony and  is made with a small amount of liqueur a l’Armagnac topped with a sparkling wine. Not overly sweet but with a distinctive Armagnac taste that teases the palate. We raise our glasses and toast a Happy Bastille Day!

pousse rapiere cocktail pousse rapiere

The first course arrives, a plate of marbré au foie gras de canard with cornichons and crusty bread. Layers of foie gras de canard (duck), foie de volaille (chicken), foie de porc (pork) and trompettes de la mort (black  mushrooms) make this a most delectable starter.

marbré au foie gras de canard

For the second course, escargots a la bourguignonne are served. Lightly poached in wine and served in their shell with garlic butter and finely chopped parsley. Crusty pieces of baguettes are not too far to mop up the oozing butter. This is paired with a JP ChenetMerlot 2008 from Pays d’Oc.


The third course is an earthy cassoulet, a speciality of the Languedoc region and the subject of many variations. This version has a generous serving of confit of duck, Toulouse sausage, white beans and pork belly. The duck is cooked to perfection and falls off the bone. This is not a pretty looking dish but one that wins with the first taste. We pair it with a bottle of La Bastide Saint Dominique Cotes du Rhone 2006.


Faint echoes of La Marseillaise play in the background. The two Francophiles among us sing along and switch languages to French. In such a relaxed ambience, we talk food and travel, remembering past dishes we ate, memorable holidays and we talk about future plans to explore new destinations.

After a pause to digest, we pass on the fromage. The cassoulet has us defeated and we need  to make room for dessert.

tarte tatin aux coings tarte tatin aux coings

The tarte tatin aux coings makes a grand appearance. Made with caramelised quince and served with a side of lightly whipped cream with sugar and laced a dash of Calvados, every mouthful is an explosion of sweet flavours. This is nicely paired with a Monbazillac Cuvee des Anges 2003.

Un café noir is in order but this kind of meal also begs for that quintessential pousse-café. We enjoy a little Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac, a natural digestif as we all like to call it, before we take note of the time. It is just past midnight and Bastille Day is over for another year.

tricolore tricolore

Bon quatorze juillet!


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.