Finally, it’s finished. Over the past three years, C’est Bon co-owners Celine Damour and Peter Roelfes have been planning, strategising and converting the humble little Stanley Street diner originally opened by Michel Bonnet in 2008 into a miniature French dining precinct.
First there was the launch of C’est Bon Bar last year in an old butcher shop next to the restaurant. Now the two venues have been given a complete facelift and re-brand plus a pair of beautiful function spaces, and the whole enterprise re-opened last weekend.
“When you have a business in the middle of a construction site, it’s terrible. It’s been tough on us,” Damour explains. “Now, seeing it [come] together and people being so supportive – it’s magic. [It] gives me wings.”
All guests to both venues now enter through the bar, renamed Le Bon Bar. Tucked beyond is a wine-cellar function room with an enormous timber table and a selection of wine from regions such as Burgundy and Bordeaux. Upstairs on the roof is a garden terrace, seating 40 guests and providing views across Woolloongabba and Mater Hill. All up, there are five unique spaces spread across three levels.
“We basically tripled the size of what we used to have before,” Damour says.
The original restaurant has a sleek new design, with elegant wooden tables, bench seating running along the wall and plenty of ambient light flooding through the shopfront window. Out back, the heritage frontage transitions into a stunning geometric design of brick arches and cutaways – there's perhaps nothing else quite like it around town. Despite the fresh look, Damour explains that the food has been rewound slightly, restoring a bunch of customer favourites. “We decided to [return] to what we used to do here to get our customer cravings back,” Damour says. “That’s what they wanted.”
The menu includes the restaurant’s celebrated duck a l’orange and a French onion soup served with croutons, fromage and puff pastry, as well as Tasmanian lamb rump served with Moroccan moghrabieh couscous, and quail galantine with walnuts, rocket and sherry vinaigrette. Next door, Le Bon Bar deals in a stripped-back menu of grilled lamb skewers with cucumber, crème fraîche and garden herbs; crumbed Brisbane Valley quail with Moroccan couscous salad and pawpaw salsa; and the traditional escargots de bourgogne.
Drinks include cocktails, beers and an extensive selection of French wines.
The bar also takes care of brunch until 2pm daily with an imaginative menu that includes fresh croissants, a Fijian-style potato-and-taro omelette, chorizo-and-comte croquettes, and a Le Bon “croissant burger” that features slow-roasted provençal chicken supreme, avocado, sliced air-dried ham, pickles and dijon-mustard mayonnaise. There’s also a selection of daily lunch specials from 11.30am.
“I wanted [C’est Bon] to become a place [that you] know is always open, but also a place for people,” Damour says. “It’s a place where you can go and have a fancy dinner at night-time, have a cup of tea and read a book in the afternoon, come with friends and get some food together upstairs, or to have breakfast and a chat … It’s affordable and we let you do what you want, not the other way around.”
Additional reporting by Matt Shea.
C’est Bon & Le Bon Bar
609/611 Stanley St, Woolloongabba
Sun & Mon 6am–2pm
Tue to Sat 6am–11.30pm