An incredibly alluring quality defines the French. I believe it’s because they fundamentally know how to indulge. Culturally they celebrate the inherent beauty in everything, and then glamorize it; so naturally the clichéd material luxuries they showcase to the rest of the world reflect that. Sipping champagne in your getaway château while wearing Chanel? Sounds rather lovely. The care and attention that they devote to pursuing anything of the finest quality is inspiring, and demonstrates a certain love of life - which is addictive.
Auckland would definitely benefit from more of that French vitality and sophistication, so I was delighted when I discovered Petit Bocal tucked away near Eden Park. Located at 177 Sandringham Road this gorgeous little French café is open from 7am in the morning until late in the evening. Boasting delicious breakfast, lunch AND dinner menus, its perfect for all occasions of the day.
Now, rightly or wrongly when I got out to dine, I value an establishment’s interior design almost more highly than the food. There is something about monochrome décor that expresses effortless elegance. Famous black and white Robert Doisneu photographs line the white walls transporting you to the side streets of Paris instantly. ‘Petit Bocal’ translates into little jar and everything is matched accordingly; lights suspended inside clear glass jars on black wire are draped from the ceiling, and a jam jar illustration with the signature Petit Bocal typeface features on the right hand side as you walk in.
On the last visit, my sweet-toothed dining buddy had already decided she was going to order the stereotypical French crepe before we arrived. I love a hearty breakfast so once we were seated I decided to opt for another French classic – the eggs benedict with bacon. It was a tough decision to make because the croque monsieur on the lunch menu sounded incredible. A café’s eggs benedict is a staple dish that often defines its quality and Petit Bocal did not disappoint. My eggs were poached perfectly, the bacon was thick and crispy, and the hollandaise had just the right amount of citrus. Afterwards we decided to share one of the absolutely decadent muffins smiling at us from the counter, and oh my god was that a good decision. Syrupy passionfruit coulis oozed over the top with boysenberries and caramelized pistachios melting into it; topped with a dainty little orange flower. And it was filled with cream cheese. Mmmm. Executive chef Eder Marinho has done a fantastic job on this one.
The French Crepe front and centre, an amazing eggs benny too
I have two favourtite little things about Petit Bocal which elevate it into a class of its own. They create the most beautiful coffee art I personally know of in Auckland and without fail, every time I have been in there they have a bouquet of fresh flowers on the main dining table. It’s these intimate demonstrations of attention to detail that speak volumes of how the management at Petit Bocal want to provide an excellent dining experience for everyone who wanders through the door. It’s also apparent in the way they communicate with you - our cute French waitress was bubbly and helpful, and when we went to pay, the manager made sure to ask how we found everything before wishing us a lovely afternoon.
We just had to
It’s a given that quality conversation and genuine connection between people is enhanced when you have good food and drink to stimulate things, and so in harmonious consequence the atmosphere of the place is always warm and friendly. And when the French language phonetically compliments this vivacity… you have a winning combination. So say ‘bonjour’ when you next walk in the door with as much enthusiasm as you can muster, for Petit Bocal more than deserves it.
Title image cred here