La Voie Francaise

At the uncool end of Dominion Rd, opposite a Chinese restaurant that seems to specialise in health-promoting offal dishes (Ox penis stew: good for pain in the loin!) is a recent addition to the area that is very, very well worth a visit. La Voie Francaise is the first sole venture of baker Tetsuya Namekawa, who  – according to reports, as the guy himself seems very hard to hunt down (but I’m working on it) – has worked alongside master baker Pierre Herme, and as pastry chef in Auckland kitchens Kermadec and Bracu. When I stumbled upon the bakery a few weeks back and inquired about who was behind the delights on offer there, the nice lady at the counter mentioned Tetsuya’s name and I remembered interviewing Peter Thornley, at Bracu a good few years ago, and him raving about his genius Japanese pastry chef – same guy.

I’ve since returned to La Voie Francaise quite a few times, even on days when it’s not open (Monday and Tuesday, I now know), and everything I’ve taken away from there has impressed me – though I can’t vouch for the coffee yet as I haven’t tried it. The baguettes, I think, could be th best in Auckland. The crust is the real deal – the kind that can cause a serious mouth injury if you’re not paying enough attention in the frenzy of your greed. The first time I visited Paris, I remember hearing the woeful tale of a fellow backpacker who had, it was told, literally split her tongue open on a native baguette. A lesson to us all, though it’s never much of a risk with the usual limp baguettes you buy here. But yes, Tetsuya’s could do a bit of damage. And they have that chewy interior, full of elongated holes, the perfect wee pockets for softened butter or tangy goat’s cheese. And like a good baguette should be, they’re best eaten the same day they’re made – tomorrow you can buy another one!

The caramel eclairs, the brioches (raisin or orange peel), various pastry-cream filled creations, simple breakfast baps of poached egg and bacon, buttery croissants, pans au chocolats – none has passed my lips without an exclamation of satisfaction. The guy can bake.

Another quite lovely thing about La Voir Francaise is its incredibly reasonable prices. A baguette will set you back a mere $2.50. A plain croissant just $1.50. A bargain in any language. Go there now – but not on a Monday or Tuesday, or you’ll feel sad for the rest of the day.

La Voie Francasie, Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill – can’t find the address online anywhere, and they don’t have any business cards –  so details to follow!


9 thoughts on “La Voie Francaise

  1. I’ve driven past so many times and not thought to go in. I will have to try it out next time. They are right next to Dosa Plaza, so it can’t be far off from 875 Dominion Road. Looking forward to it already, though maybe not the part about cutting my tongue open.

  2. The actual address is: Shop 4, 875 Dominion Road, Mount Roskill, Auckland, 1041 , New Zealand. I have lost the telephone number (I’ve asked them before)… and no way to find it anywhere online.

    Anyway! I’d like to say this is possibly my favourite French Bakery / Pastries ‘type’. Croissants, breads, patisseries… are like you will find in Boulangeries in France!
    Also lovely people and very accommodating!! Christine, the lovely lady at the front, has arranged (the shop was acutally closed) with Tetsuya for me to pick-up some freshly baked goodies for next morning (6:30am) for a company breakfast!!
    So good when it’s still warm!!

    In summary: very good product, nice quality and good price too!

  3. Since when has there been a cool end of Dominion Road as opposed to an uncool one? Your xenophobia is showing…

    1. Hi William, I may have a few phobias but xeonphobia’s certainly not one of them! Not sure why you felt the need to attempt a personal attack, but if you’re accusing me of a fear of foreigners, you obviously don’t know me at all and haven’t read my previous blogs, in which I rave on and on about the joys of dining out in bustling Balmoral (one part of the cool end of Dominion Rd, the other part being closer to Eden Park, home to a good bistros, tapas bar, and more good Chinese restaurants). La Voie Francaise (and Shefco, another of my favourite places to buy great food from) are oases in a pretty industrial stretch of Dominion Rd. Maybe places that hire out heavy machinery and trucks are cool, to some people – no offense was intended!

  4. Uncool end? I don’t think that part is the end of Dominion Rd as it does continue on for a bit. As for uncool I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder.
    Btw the chinese soup shop across the road from La Voie has other stuff that isn’t offal. I guess the pics on the front window can be offputting for those that do not like offal. I’d be happy to meet you there + point out some of the nice stuff I’ve tried.

    1. I’ll take you up on that soup shop induction, thanks Lin! My mention of the ox penis soup was, far from a criticism, merely pointing out that here’s this tiny, nondescript place doing all sorts of – to the uninitiated – things that are amazingly exotic. Hell, I’m all for nose to tail eating! (But hold the tripe…)

      1. Point taken re nondescript places. There’s a few that do take courage to try out as it is quite unknown. Yes it does specialise in chinese medicinal soups, some w stuff widely recognised like ginseng but there’s some unusual stuff there. I admit I haven’t tried many of them as I have not been keen on these things. Many dishes are cooked w steam.

  5. A regular Saturday morning haunt for us, driving from Onehunga. Hard to beat their fresh baguettes and a strong coffee to get you kick-started!

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