We snagged the front outside table and were helped to park the pram alongside so it was safely out of the way. The first thing on the blackboard to catch my hungry eye was a chorizo hotdog with mustard, caramelised onion and cheese, but at the bottom lurked moules marinière with frites, a dish I find it almost impossible to go past on a menu. I persuaded Pea Pa to share it with me, and after much deliberation over a second dish to share he chose the duck and pork rillettes with cornichons. This would be the end to a very ducky week for us - after snapping up a whole 2.5kg Muscovy duck from Feather & Bone, we'd enjoyed roast duck breast on Sunday and noodle soup on Monday with homemade duck stock and bought Chinese barbecued duck. I must have been in the mood for pork though, because when I found out the mussels weren't available after all I didn't hesitate to order that hotdog.
While we waited for the food I decided to feed Baby Pea so I'd be free to eat later. This was a little more confronting than yesterday - then I was inside and surrounded by other nursing mothers, now I was right on Victoria St with my back to the other diners but in full view of passers-by. It's hard enough to get the feeding right in the comfort of home, so attempting it while wrestling with a large muslin wrap for modesty's sake was a real challenge and one that was met with a lot of sympathy from the staff.
At least today's food was much easier to eat with babe in arm. Topped with a thick layer of duck fat and a fresh tomato garnish, the rillettes came with a little dish of cornichons and only three pieces of baguette but as advised we'd asked for a basket of extra bread. It was warm and just right for tearing into pieces and smothering with the lovely meaty goodness.
Baguette number two was spread with punchy Dijon, filled with thick, juicy chorizo slices and topped with melted cheese. Not classic French food but absolutely delicious nonetheless.
Always up for carbs on carbs, we also enjoyed a bowl of frites - crispy, salty and extra sinful when stuffed into the hotdog – though I'm not sure the French would approve.
Stuffed as we were, we still had time if not room for something sweet, so said yes to coffee and chocolat chaud. A little indulgence (and a lot of quack fat) doesn't hurt ... much. Ah, je ne regrette rien!
Cafè Sel & Poivre263 Victoria St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
p. 02 9361 6530
*not any reference to 80s lady rappers but my food nickname given to me by my workmates as my initials are S and P.