Set up & site
Valentine's Day is on a Wednesday this year and, luckily for our city's lovebirds, L'Assiette is well placed for a lingering morning repast before the day's work begins. Stroll hand in hand from the Britomart public transport hub to wander along the waterfront, leisurely window-shopping along the way. Take a seat outside L'Assiette to people-watch as office workers hustle their way to work on a sunny summer morning. Or nestle at a cosy little table for two inside and gaze into each other's eyes among the black-and-white photographs of old and new Paris and the aroma of fresh coffee. Big open doors open on to Britomart Place and allow a light cooling breeze inside. Choose your desired dish from the cute French-inspired menu already sitting on the table.
Sustenance & swill
The staff were quick with a very, very welcome bottle of ice-cold water. We then ordered a galette de pomme de terre and oeufs benedict (both $19), accompanied by a mocha and a cappuccino. The two coffees arrived suitably swiftly — maybe with a bit more time they might have actually been hot — and the food quickly followed. We liked the mismatched French country kitchen-style earthenware plates our food came on. The yolk of one of my oeufs — that's eggs for those who don't know the lingo — was disappointingly hard but that was my only complaint about the filling breakfast standard that came with sourdough bread and spinach. But I had major envy for my companion's potato and herb hash, which was deliciously salty and herby, and her perfectly poached oeuf. We could also have opted for croque monsieur or crepes on the (naturally) French-flavoured menu.
Service & other stuff
It is one of life's well-known truths that food always sounds so much tastier when served with a French accent. Even eggs sound almost sexy when they are called oeufs. We may have asked the staff a few unnecessary questions just to hear the lovely accent but they didn't seem to mind one little bit. Sated and fulfilled, our imaginary lovers may wish to pick up a little macaron from the counter selection on their way out to tuck into their satchels and enjoy later at their places of work while dreaming of each other as they nibble their colourful little treat. Helen van Berkel