Opened in November 2016, this French bar and bistro is the first solo venture for Mary Randles after two years running front-of-house operations at husband Philip Johnson’s iconic CBD restaurant, E’cco Bistro.
The post-war style creates a “dark, sexy and mysterious” atmosphere, featuring a central bar, booth seating, heavy red-velvet curtains, a moody colour scheme and a wall of vintage-inspired French poster art. Candle-lit tables and 1950s-style jazz and blues give the venue a lively Parisian feel while blocking out the noise of passing traffic outside.
In the kitchen, Matthew Short (formerly Olé Fuego) produces a range of classic French fare. The menu was a collaboration with Johnson and starts with hearty favourites such as a gratinated goats cheese soufflé, and boudin noir (black pudding) served with seared scallops and celeriac puree. Mains include dishes such as steak frites, slow-cooked duck leg served with du puy lentils, and poulet roti – whole chicken accompanied by fricassee mushrooms and jus gras. A handful of desserts such as creme caramel, apple tart and profiteroles round out the menu.
Behind the bar, Alberto Manresso (formerly of Stokehouse) has developed a menu of wines, spirits and cocktails with a strong French influence. There is a range of Australian and French wines available by the glass, and the cocktails skew towards the classic, smooth and spirit-heavy. A dessert drinks menu offers sweeter concoctions and post-meal tipples.