Le Traiteur… what’s happened?

Le Traiteur
552 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne  VIC  3000
03 9670 0039
Open: Mon – Fri  7am – 6pm

As you may have picked up, dear readers, I have a bit of a fixation for pancakes in and around Melbourne.  Being a CBD dweller, I consider it my mission to seek out the best pancakes this delightful city has to offer.  Ironically, pickings in the CBD have been fairly slim (although if you know of any good pancake places – please tweet me or comment below!). So far, the best pancakes I have found are at Dimitri’s Feast in Richmond (see my review here)… but if you’re thinking of getting a fix during on a weekday – Richmond is not all that convenient….

This is where Le Traiteur has always been a great stand-by!  if I need a fix, I’ve always been able to rely on Le Traiteur’s pikelet stack – a glorious mound of light, moist pancakes, draped in a beautiful berry compote, and fabulously crowned with a quenelle of créme fraiche.  What more could a girl ask for?  The dish has always been lovely….


It saddens me greatly to reveal that standards have slipped.  The last two times I’ve succumbed to my weakness and trotted up to the legal end of Lonsdale Street – I have been given burned pikelets. Not burned to a crisp… but enough that there’s a carbon taste to the food, and the surface of the pikelet was more of dark, inconsistent brown than a golden tan.  This has been incredibly disappointing.  I mentioned it to them the first time… just checking if they had a new chef (you never know – but they didn’t)…. they appreciated the feedback and comp’d my coffee for me.  So, it was with great disappointment that upon my return (granted, a couple of months later) – the scenario had not improved.

Pikelet Stack, whipped créme fraiche & berries

This photo shows the pikelet stack in all it’s glory – but you can see that the surface of one of the pancakes is a little dark.  I appreciate that it may not look too bad here, however, I can tell you that there was quite a charred taste to the whole dish.  It’s a good thing there’s plenty of berry compote – because it does a lot to mask the burned taste.  But not enough…

C’mon Le Traiteur – what’s happened?  You used to the be pikelet stack I would rave about to everyone…

On a more positive note, I can vouch for the coffee which is extremely good –

Mmmm…. come to me 3/4 Flat White…  

Anyway… here’s a good question for everyone… if a restaurant used to produce good food – but your last couple of visits demonstrated a real loss of mojo… do you go back again?

Alas – I don’t know if I’ll be going back anytime soon – which is a real pity – because Le Traiteur represents the type of café that I’d love to support.  It’s an off shoot of a fantastic restaurant known as Libertine which has its home in North Melbourne.  The owners of Libertine, Nick Creswick and Zoe Ladyman, have a real love and respect for beautiful food – and Le Traiteur was their brainchild – a café / bakery – baking bread and pastries twice daily just like in Paris – what a fantastic niche market for Melbourne!  One of its additional offerings was pre-prepared take home dinners such as beef bourguignone, cassoulet and all sorts of luscious delights.  Unfortunately, I cannot comment on any of these other endeavours (although I keep promising myself to check them out) – because I tend to go there for the pancakes…. let’s hope they return to form soon.

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