Bistro Thierry is a smart French bistro serving timeless Gallic fare, attentive service and an impressive range of European and Australian wines in Toorak. A faithful clientele and owner Thierry Cornevin’s penchant for protein has kept this little French bistro humming for over 20 years.

But Cornevin's passion for food started well before that. He grew up in a French epicurean household, where life centred around enjoying food and the menu changed often. While his eponymous bistro encourages eating for pleasure, Cornevin and head chef Frederic Naud avoid playing with the menu too much. Instead, they remain laser-focused on mastering French classics.

That starts with the entrees, for which you might have French onion soup (a menu mainstay for 20 years), plump escargots served in a foamy butter-and-garlic sauce, oysters opened to order and hand-chopped tartare. For mains, you’ll find a strong contender for Melbourne’s best boeuf bourguignon, with slow-cooked beef so soft it falls apart braised in a rich red wine sauce. There’s also exceptional steak frites, Black Angus scotch fillet and rockling fillet served with fries, green salad and tartare. For dessert, there’s soft and gooey chocolate soufflé, and sweet crème brûlée that beckons to be cracked open.

While the menu masters the classics, it’s not stuck in the past either. Cornevin and Naud routinely scout France for culinary inspiration, which means you’ll find more modern specials scrawled in French on the blackboard each day.

Whatever you’re eating here, it all calls to be paired with a drop from the extensive, mostly French and Australian, wine list. You can enjoy the full selection by the bottle, or a handful of wines by the glass, like Prancing Horse Chablis or Côtes du Rhône Shiraz. There's also older drops – including bottles from La Tâche and Penfolds St Henri – and BYO on Sundays. Whichever you choose, it’s all more than enough to make you feel like you’re dining in Paris or Lyon.

The Tracey Lucas-designed space has that effect, too. From the black and white striped awning outside, to the French posters covering the maroon walls, to the vintage French military hats hanging on retired champagne bottles above the bar. It might also be the atmosphere, which is buzzing most nights of the week, and the waistcoated waitstaff who talk you through the menu amid the comforting din.

The prices are at the higher end of the scale here, but it’s commensurate with the quality of the food. And the fact that, as Cornevin points out, you don’t have to pay for a flight to Paris to enjoy classic French fare.

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Updated: August 23rd, 2023

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