Salade de Fruits is a quaint slice of a restaurant inside La Maison de la Francophonie School (French cultural school) in the South Granville district. The restaurant is roughly two blocks away from the strip of antique and art boutiques that cluster at the end of the South Granville shopping district. The name, Salade de Fruits, was coined by the two partners and chefs Pascal Poutot and Antoine Bonard, to reflect the food and multiculturalism of Vancouver. Salade de Fruits (fruit salad), with its mix of refreshing varieties of fruit, thus symbolizes the different colors and tastes that make Vancouver so special and unique.
There are two rooms make up the Salade de Fruits bistro. The smaller, original room next to the kitchen sets up the Francophone mood perfectly, from the festively French memorabilia decorating the walls, the jazzy French music humming in the background, to the special energy buzzing inside the bistro. The adjoining room outside doesn’t quite have the same ambience, but during the busy lunch hour on weekdays is packed full of people ecstatic to be freed from their offices, even if only for an hour.
A beverage for every taste, Salade de Fruits beverage list is similiar to the rest of the menu; a nice range of well chosen items. Beverages include cappuccinos ($3.00), rich regular coffee ($1.25) chaud ou froid chocolat ($1.75), Perrier ($2.00), French apple cider ($2.75), and my favourite non-alcoholic drink, Orangina. Alcoholic drinks include beer ($4.50), red, white or rose wine by the glass or bottle ($5.00, or by bottle $22.00).
My favourite item on the lunch menu is the moules et frites ou salade ($9.99 small, $12.99 large). The mussels arrived in a large cast-iron bowl, with the fragrant steam from the mountain of mussels gently exuding the scent of the wine based broth. Each and every time I’ve ordered the moules et frites, the mussels were fresh and perfectly cooked. In lieu of the generous pile of slender, crisp frites, you have the option to order the fresh green salad with the house dressing. The green salad is a healthy choice; it arrived in a fluffy mound of leafy greens and shredded carrots with a drizzle of dressing dashing the top of the leaves. The golden frites can be enjoyed dipped in the homemade mayonnaise that arrives contained in a little silver tin. I like to dip the frites into the heavenly broth and then cover them in mayo, but not everyone may be as health-conscious as I.
Another favourite of mine is the steak entree, a tender, thin slab of steake poivre ($9.99), succulent in an intense gravy, served with frites ou salade.
My old co-worker swears by their grilled vegetarian sandwich ($5.99), the salade de chevre chaud ($8.99) as well as their other brunch items and crepes. The daily specials include quiches, pastas, sandwiches and seafood dishes.
Popular dinner specialties made by the sous chef, Antoine Bonard, include the entrecote; a triple A rib-eye steak ($18.99), the canard confit; a duck confit ($16.99) the carré d'agneau; the rack of lamb ($19.99), and the saumon sauvage frais; the fresh wild salmon. Tables de hotes weekly menu features 3 course meals for only $19.99, offering features like poulet farci a la Normande and escalope de veau a la Milanaise. Dinner prices are slightly more than lunch.
All the desserts I’ve tried at Salade de Fruits are incredible and should not, at any cost, be passed up. The pastry wizard at Salade de Fruits, Pascal Poutot, makes all the pastries, cakes, freshly baked goods as well as my favorite dessert, the chiboustier ($3.99). The chiboustier is a lovely creamy cake, similar in texture to cheesecake, but tasting of almonds. The crème brulee was heavenly, and the crepes are nicely done. The other items I have yet to try are the three cheese plate ($10.99), profiteroles with chocolate sauce, salade de fruits frais, and sorbet. All desserts are only $3.99, or pick the 3 choice dessert plates for only $10.99.
Vancouver is lucky to have a bistro as refreshing as Salade de Fruits, and Vancouverites should take advantage of some of the very best, and affordable French food you will find in this great salade de fruits city of ours.
Notes: Cash only. Open for lunch, brunch, and dinner. Closed six weeks in the winter (around mid December till the beginning of February), six weeks in the summer (around the end July till mid September), and then two weeks in April for spring break. Call for confirm.
Reviewed by: Christine G. Louie
Last reviewed: April 29, 2005