Boire is at 92 Smith Street - just round from Gertrude and next door to Monsieur Truffe.
Boire is a French 'wine bar with food'. Its been around a while but has been building up a following, so we thought we'd go check it out when we fancied an early dinner - this is important, because Boire does not have a phone and doesn't take bookings. That said, there was space all through the evening as people came and went, but we did get the pick of the tables to dogwatch.
There is no menu, just a large chalkboard covering the whole wall. There are three starters, three mains, two sides, three cheeses and three desserts. The owner brings in all her own wine from France: an extremely short but balanced list, about half by the glass and half by the bottle only. Draws mainly from Loire, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Languedoc Roussillon. Also one aperitif, two armagnac, one eau de vie and three beers.
We had a tasty quinoa salad (although it was probably more vegetably), a rustic pork pate with good bread, sticky lamb neck with pickled cauliflower and capsicum and boulanger potatoes, a side salad of mixed leaves, a piece of reblochon in excellent condition, a nicely light chocolate tart with milk sorbet and salted almonds, and a chocolate pannacotta with raspberry coulis and a chocolate sorbet (I think, as Mrs_G kept it close).
Wine selection was very well done, a mixture of styles and weights, we variously demolished a very good muscadet, a gamay, a bordeaux, a cahors and a great vin doux from (I think) the Loire. All were very good examples of their type and paired with the food very well. The bottles tended to pick up more premium stuff, and their glass price is the same as a bottle - a lesson plenty of places in Melbourne could learn. A very very strong wine list.
Starters are 11-14, mains 22-26, cheese and desserts 12. Wine was 9-14 a glass. Service is efficiently Parisian and the wine suggestions from the small waiting team were spot on. The prices are good for the location, although we dropped $200 on dinner but that was mainly down to eight glasses of wine.
In summary: the limited list allows them to play to their strengths. Decor is plain tending to Spartan, so don't go there expecting the whole "ooh la la bonjour madame I have a beret and a poodle" kind of vibe.
This will become a regular haunt. Would be more regular if it was easier (for us) to get to.