It has been a long time since I obsessed about a food spot in Brno. Well, times have changed. Le Phare is the first place I’ve been to that I can say “a great authentic…..” without adding the caveat “for Brno.”
Let’s face it, ethnic cuisine here is iffy at best. Hopefully Le Phare is upping the ante here and won’t end up being the exception to the rule.
After hearing about it, I stopped by in the afternoon. I was skeptical given the location (small residential street in a random area). Just stepping inside changed my mind. Le Phare (“The Lighthouse” in French) is a charming homage to the owners’ heritage.
Distinctly French with quaint references to the coast-line region, Le Phare’s decor manages to be kitschy without being tacky. Despite being one of the half cellars (ground floor of apartment buildings, then a few steps down), the layout and decor manage to keep it light and pleasant.
Being greeted by Fred and Vivi (the owners) I felt a comfortable, almost home-like, easiness to the place. We were given menus and told the specials. We went with the specials as well as a few others to sample.
The crepes arrived promptly. The first bite told me all I needed to know. The crepes were perfection personified. I love the soft delicate flavor of crepes (compared to the more robust American style pancakes), but all too often they end up being too thin and a bit rubbery. Not at Le Phare. Despite their thinness, the texture was fluffy and melted in our mouths.
I had a savory crepe with goat cheese and ham. The goat cheese was fantastic and the touch of honey really brought everything together. My friend had the smoked salmon crepe. The salmon had a fresh flavor that melded with the cream and dill in perfect proportions.
As expected, the sweet crepes were the pièce de résistance. I had the banana split crepe which somehow put a French twist on my childhood memories. Honestly, this was the best vanilla ice-cream I’ve had in Brno. The urban dictionary definition did not apply to this vanilla. It was decadent with hints of other flavors in it. My friends’ crepe with peaches and raspberry jam was equally fantastic.
Le Phare may be a bit out of the way for many of you, but I really think its worth the effort. The creps more than make up the few tram stops from Česká street.