Delisse Market Cafe, Sydney CBD

Thursday, April 21, 2016

French marketplaces are scenes of wonder and awe for many food lovers. There's an abundance of fresh produce and luscious baked goods everywhere you look, and a lively atmosphere of hustle and bustle unlike no other. In my opinion, it's market food that I most look forward to when visiting any market. Delisse is a little taste of the French marketplace in the form of a cafe in Sydney's CBD.

The focus here is on serving fresh, wholesome, French-inspired food that doesn't break the bank. For the working day grind, this means generously filled baguettes, hearty salads, soups, hot pies and quiches, as well as a mouth-watering variety of house-made French pastries, cakes and bread.

It's very popular with the weekday lunchtime crowd, many of whom choose to take their lunch away to eat elsewhere. While the Clarence Street shop is more accessible on street level, it is the Martin Place location (just outside the station underneath the Channel 7 building) at which most of the produce is prepared and baked.

The inside of the small café is furnished to look like a rustic French marketplace, with saucisson, whole garlic cloves and dried chillies hanging from the ceiling alongside wooden-framed chalkboards which list some of the day's specials. The front counter is a rainbow of bright colours, making the all-too-important decision of what to choose to eat a difficult one.

There are over 10 different varieties of sandwich offered on any day, all made using French-style bread that is baked fresh daily. Classic baguette fillings such as ham and gruyere and tarragon chicken sit alongside creatively-named options such as Ocean Wonder and Frenchy Turkey.

You can buy their bread to take away as well - choose from traditional white rustiquette baguette, pain au levain (sourdough) or wholesome multi-cereal varieties. A tempting cabinet of homemade pastries, cakes and baked goods makes for a perfect post-lunch pick me up. 

Not quite feeling a sandwich? Also on offer are homemade quiches, as well as hot pies and a wide array of vibrant salads. Some sandwiches and salads are even offered in starving size for those who are extra-hungry when lunchtime rolls around. 

Ze Rilette sandwich ($8.95)
Rilettes is a rich French spread made from slow-cooked pork, prepared in a similar way to pâté. Owner Mathieu tells us that people either love or hate Rilettes when they first try it. Made in-house, it has a very rounded, pungent pork flavour and creamy, paste-like texture that is unlike any other sandwich filling you've ever had. 

The pork is first cooked slowly until soft, then pulled, mixed with mustard and a few other secret ingredients then cooled to form a thick, pale spread. Slices of red onion and tomato provide a nice crunch along with some salad leaves, although it could do with a bit more pickled gherkin to balance the richness of the rilettes. A must try for any Charcuterie lover.

Parisien sandwich ($9.45)
Sometimes, it's the simple things that you crave for at lunchtime. The Parisien sandwich is Delisse's version of the ham and cheese baguette, made using good quality Swiss Gruyere cheese and ham from Two Providores. 

It's a classic sandwich that is done very well, with a good amount of ham and extra flavour added by a smear of wholegrain mustard. The bread used in all their sandwiches is beautiful, with a crunchy crust and slightly chewy bite.

Cherry Tomato + Goats cheese quiche ($5.50)
This freshly baked quiche is delicious, with a sweet cherry tomato filling that marries well with tangy, creamy goats cheese. The pastry is light, buttery and cooked to perfection, so much so that I'd be happy just eating the casing by itself!

Kale salad + quinoa salad (regular $7.50, large $9.50, starving size $11.50)
We're told that one of the most popular lunch-time salads is this kale salad, dotted with feta, roast pumpkin, zucchini and chickpeas. Dried cranberries look like red rubies in the mix, and add a pop of tang and colour to each mouthful. There are also seasonal salads on rotation as well as the permanent offerings - when we visit the special is a fresh quinoa salad with beetroot, corn and cucumber.

Raspberry + ricotta and plain kouignettes ($3.80 each)
If there is one thing that differentiates Delisse from other CBD cafes, it's their attention to baked goods. One particular thing that they specialise in is the Kouignette - a small butter cake that is a miniature version of the traditional Breton specialty, Kouign Amann. Delisse is perhaps one of the only in Sydney to bake and sell this authentic pastry from Brittany, France.

Made by folding layers sweet bread dough with Pepe Saya butter, the Kouignette are similar to a croissant, only with a higher butter-to-dough ratio. Sugar is folded into the last layer, which caramelises in the oven to create a sticky, crunchy, toffee-like exterior.

It's a croissant-bread hybrid of every pastry-lover's dreams, and we can tell why the French translation of Kouign Amann is butter cake - you can really taste the decadence of the butter in every bite of the soft dough. It's quite a rich pastry, and unlike any other I've tasted before.

Salted caramel (left) and Nutella Kouignettes (right)
Although the classic plain kouignette is most commonly served in French patisseries, there are several other variations that Delisse has experimented with. A salted caramel version is swirled with a lightly salted caramel that adds an extra layer of moisture and stickiness. The Nutella-filled Kouignette is not as sweet nor as rich as it looks, and is quite understated in flavour. A recent experiment is a Raspberry and Ricotta variation, which has a nice tang and brilliant bright pink colour.

Among the authentic croissant, mini cakes and tarts in the street-facing display are paleo and gluten-free goods which are every bit as tempting as the sandwiches around the corner. 

Perfect for when you're looking for a fast, convenient, healthy lunch or a French sweet treat to break up the day, the philosophy of Delisse appeals well to the typical lunchtime office worker crowd. Service is quick and almost everything is made in-house. If there is one thing that you must try, it's their authentic, unique kouignettes - they're sure to blow your mind. 


Délisse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I was lucky enough to dine as a guest of Delisse, however all opinions are my own. 

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  1. mm~ everything looks and sounds delicious!
    They're pastries have me wanting some NOW!