Before Paul Keating’s deathless riposte that sealed Andrew Peacock’s fate, soufflé was actually better known – in Australia – as a food that French people routinely eat.
What trip to Paris would be replete without visiting the restaurant named for that time when Australia’s less competent politicians got served?
Le Souffle, the restaurant, delivers exactly what it promises, and by black and white suited waiters no less.
There’s an a la carte option, but also a menu, comprising – you guessed it – soufflé for entre, main, and if you’re game, dessert. There’s also a green salad, of which the less said the better (after all, you don’t win friends – or readers – with salad).
And if by dessert the prospect of yet one more bowl of flavoured hot eggy air has you gagging a bit in your mouth, there is also crème brule and some other French dessert staples to choose from.
Souffle is one of those things in France that fits squarely – or perhaps roundly, given its famous serving dish – into one of those things that foreigners associate with France, along with berets, Breton tops, and, increasingly, horrible taxi drivers.
But many French couldn’t tell you the last time they ate a soufflé, let alone one made from “tomato and basil”, “goat cheese and tapenade” or spinach (and these were just the entrees).
No-one I’ve met in 8 years in France has ever actually made, or even eaten, a soufflé; but being full of hot air, impossibly hard to handle, and easily deflated, it’s a dish that for foreigners “just sums up so much about the French”.