If you heard the name Le Bon Ton without knowing its backstory, you’d think it’s a French restaurant – surprise, it’s actually comfort food straight from the southern states of America.
‘Laissez les bon temps rouler’ is French for ‘let the good times roll’ and is a common phrase in New Orleans – and an even more common toast. Yet if you get away from Bourbon street and travel outside the city you’ll find locals have done away with the rules of the French language, and changed it to their own Creole version, only three words long – you guessed it, Le Bon Ton.
The menu showcases dishes and cooking techniques from all over the American South – inspiration for their dishes comes from New Mexico to Alabama.
If you’re in the mood for something smoked, the courtyard has two offset smokers and a big cabinet smokehouse offering up Riverina grain-fed Angus beef briskets and pork shoulders which are mesquite-smoked for up to 16 hours. After those long hours of waiting, the meat gets slathered with barbeque sauce – a comforting taste based on a mix of Texan earthiness and Carolina vinegar.
Their burger is a must try, and awesome news – they have a burger lunch special going on at the moment. Tuesdays to Thursdays you can nab a mouth-watering burger, fries, and schooner of beer for $25 between 12pm and 3pm.
The restaurant itself is tucked away in the backstreets of Collingwood and is the old Collingwood’s Hell Tower Saloon with the very same façade, besides replacing the name on the two signs. With an interior showcasing embellishments like recycled timber tables from the furniture maker next door and inlaid champagne boxes.
The bar is nothing to skimp over either, it sits big and imposing at the centre of the main floor and serves up traditional flavours of the South. American beers are on tap and the cocktail list is long enough to keep you coming back with interest. If you prefer a neat drink there’s absinthes, whiskey, and ice-cold champagne. A personal favourite of the cocktails from the American South is the rum-soaked Hurricane – which is $12 for happy hour Monday to Friday, 5pm – 7pm until Thursday October 31.
Le Bon Ton is one of the best places in Melbourne to get your Southern comfort food on – but most importantly, they keep the good times rolling.
You can find Le Bon Ton at 51 Gipps St, Collingwood. Find out more about the venue at lebonton.com.au.