Thursday, March 21, 2013

Frenchy brunch at Flock, Newport


I'm sure you've heard of social smokers.  Well, I'm a social smartphone user.  I'm a cheerful Luddite with my battered Nokia and my big pink Kikki K diary, happy to stare out the window on trains or at spunky waiters when my dining buddy goes to the loo.  But it's all a charade, dear readers.  My family and friends know the texts well:  "I'm so sorry to bother, but could you look up where the nearest ATM is for me?" "Hey, would you mind checking when the next train is?  Sorry to be annoying!"  Annoying is right!


And like smokers who go out with ciggies but never a lighter, I have a terrible habit of heading off without my standard dodgy map scrawled on the back of an envelope and then ringing up some poor mate who was probably quietly caressing their Twitter feed with "um, I'm really sorry, but do you mind looking up where Wonderbao is?  I think I am lost."


Well, it was the typical story when I drove off merrily to find Newport's new Flock with nothing but the notion that "I'm sure I'll stumble across it - Newport isn't that big".  Well, no.  This brand-new, Frenchy cafe is really tucked away in the backstreets, quite far from the well-known strip around the station.  It has a great sense of poise from the moment you walk in, from the soothing pale walls to the eponymous flock suspended above the room.


The menu is a pleasure to read.  Poached hen eggs with blood orange hollandaise (the rooster had stopped laying, quipped the gent who served us - but in fact it's a nod to the French notion that eggs on the menu could equally be from quail, geese or ducks as well as the common chook).  Croque mademoiselle with double-smoked ham...  Espresso butter on sour cherry raisin bread...  Even a "ratatouille" of bananas, strawberries and peaches!  Coffee is by Jasper and was very good.

Zucchini tart with poached eggs, herb salad and watercress sabayon ($17), plus side of organic hand-cut bacon ($3.50)

Aww!  It's like two eggs in a nest!  These glossy googs oozed perfectly over the tart beneath, lined with tiny zucchini barely two inches long.  I loved the baby zukes, cooked til al dente with perhaps a little vinegar, but I found the pastry shell quite hard - I was expecting something softer and more flaky.  Loved the organic bacon, cut satisfyingly thick...  I'm glad I ordered it as the dish might have been a touch small otherwise.  But as my friend M said to me recently - "You eat much more than most girls I know."  Thanks, I think?

White bean cassoulet with poached eggs, Spanish chorizo, chive and avocado curd ($17)

This one really hit the spot, with braised white beans, lovely paprika-rich chorizo and a big squiggle of soft avocado puree.  Lunch at Flock is similarly French infused.  I've got my eye on a house-smoked trout salad with witlof, chervil and pickled cherry tomato.  There are kids' options which are remarkably well priced, $8.50 for mini minute steak with chips, green beans or salad, or gnocchi with Napoli sauce.  Check out their website for their lunch and dinner menus - they're open Wed-Sat evenings as well.

As for my social smartphone habit?  As we speak, I have a brand new phone sitting in a box on my shelf.  I'm just waiting for my existing credit to run out before I join the zombie legion of screen-stroking smartphone users.  And while I know my friends will be thankful, I am sure I'll love every minute of it too!

PS:  Read more about Flock at Milk Bar Mag.  Thanks for the tip!

Flock Dining on Urbanspoon

Flock Dining
39 Challis Street, Newport


  1. Had lunch at Flock last Friday - Delicious. Going back with friend from the other side of town on Saturday night to show off the Western suburbs.

    1. Hi Anne! Thanks for stopping by. How did you guys go last night? Flock feels to me like the new Delizia Cucina.

  2. I'm going to a lunch in a few weeks time so can't wait to see what it's like : )

  3. "Screen stroking" - love it.

  4. i was wondering when you'd get here! I've only been for coffee so far but the food looked great, so will get back there soon for something to eat. Am hoping that it succeeds and is the start of the regeneration of that little shopping strip, cos its just round the corner from my house...


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