Back when Muffin and I were on the way to go to Peko Peko, we got on the wrong tram and ended up on Brunswick Street instead of Smith Street (Hayley! How did this happen?! You’ve been living in Melbourne all your life and can’t even differentiate between the 112 and 86 trams? FAIL. GIANT, EMBARRASSING FAIL). Realising our mistake, we decided to walk the few blocks down to Smith Street and scrambled off the tram… right in front of Madame Sousou.
Immediately drawn to the warmly lit windows, I peered in… and was completely swept away by a haze of romanticism. It looked like someone had uplifted the most picture perfect cosy Parisian restaurant and incongruously plopped it in Fitzroy. Or at least what I wished a Paris restaurant would look like (Paris and I had ISSUES. No, I don’t want to talk about it).
“Hayley, you’re about to get run over, get off the street!” I had been so enthralled by this dream vision that I’d stopped stock still in the middle of the street and Muffin feared I would die.
“Muffin, Muffin,” I babbled, hands flailing. “We totally have to go to that place sometime. That place there!”
“Yes, yes,” Muffin said, taking me by the elbow and guiding me away. “But first we should make sure that you live to eat anywhere.” This is why we are faux-lesbian life mates, she takes care of me.
But in the end I ended up not going to Madame Sousou with Muffin at all, but with The Boy, reneging on our epic love! I AM REVEALED TO BE FALSE AND INCONSTANT, FORGIVE ME, DEAR MUFFIN (Fun fact: Apparently Muffin’s mum reads this blog. Hello, Muffin’s mum!).
Now, Madame Sousou isn’t cheap. She’s a classy lady, and an expensive one, too. Much more expensive than me and The Boy were really expecting for our quiet Sunday dinner, but hey, we should all indulge on occasion.
(Incidentally, Madame Sousou has a terribly nice business card. Nerdy hobbies relevation: I like collecting the business cards from cafes and restaurants, they’re pleasing things. Madame Sousou’s might be my favourite, except maybe for one from The European that’s all white and EMBOSSED and reminds me of that scene in American Psycho. “Look at that subtle off-white colouring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!”)
The Boy was utterly overwhelmed by all of the deliciously described dishes. He wavered all over the menu, like a flitting hummingbird undecided as to which blossom might contain the best treat. I was similarly flighty, plotting in my head what would give me a filling meal for the best price. The waitress was enormously patient with us, and dealt marvelously with The Boy’s indecision especially. She went through each of the dishes with such enthusiasm and obvious love for the food, and won over The Boy with her recommendation of the mussels. “I don’t even like mussels ordinarily,” she said, leaning in to us conspiratorily. “But these are just so wonderful.”
As for me, I ended up going with the cep and pea risotto, teamed with a very nice German riesling. The risotto was rich and filling, the peas popping with freshness, and was just the thing I needed. The Boy wouldn’t stop talking about the amazingness of the mussels in their creamy sauce (and I wouldn’t stop stealing the potato frites that accompanied his meal).
What made the meal, though, was the dessert, tarte tatin. This, this was not a mere dish of nutrients cobbled onto a plate. This was ART. Perfectly caramelised pastry and poached pears, with a dome of ice cream on top and a drizzling of honey (there was something special about the honey, lord knows if I can remember what. Magic bees, maybe? Let’s go with that. MAGIC BEES!). Honestly, I can’t remember enjoying a dessert so much in a long while; The Boy was lucky I didn’t grab our shared dish and gobble the whole thing while hissing “Mine!”
Madame Sousou is the perfect place for that special evening where you want to be nice and cosy with your beloved and whisper sweet French nothings into their shell-like ear. Or, if you’re me, it’s the perfect place to go any time, to sit back in a corner with a glass of wine and tarte tatin… just don’t expect me to share next time!
231 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Ph: 9417 0400