For more than 30 years, Sydney’s Bistro Moncur has been one of the city’s standard-setters when it comes to French cuisine. Founded by Damien Pignolet, a renowned chef of French descent, and now led by London-born chef Tom Deadman, it’s remained a bastion of classic dining. Like the great bistros of France, Bistro Moncur sticks to its remit of serving up continental classics – trends be damned. That means dishes such as grilled sirloin with cafe de Paris and fries and a chicken pate, as well as a more recent signature: spatchcock persillade.

“[It’s] a perfectly brined spatchcock chicken, marinated in persillade – a punchy, bright-tasting classic French sauce made with fresh parsley and garlic,” Deadman tells Broadsheet. “Spatchcocking, a culinary technique dating back centuries, involves removing the backbone of a whole chicken and flattening it out, resulting in quicker and more even cooking. This method not only enhances the tenderness of the meat but also allows for better absorption of marinades and seasonings.”

Though the recipe calls for a two-step brining and marinating process – involving the chicken being immersed in saltwater for seven hours then left to marinade for another 12 hours – Deadman says it’s well worth the time commitment.

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“This brine penetrates the meat, ensuring it’s seasoned to perfection and retains its moisture during cooking. After brining, the chicken is generously coated in a classic persillade marinade made with fragrant garlic, fresh parsley and optional umami-rich koji seasoning.

“Once marinated, the spatchcock chicken is seared to golden perfection in a hot pan before being finished in the oven until tender and juicy. I recommend serving your spatchcock chicken alongside seasonal vegetables and a zesty lemon thyme jus, split with olive oil, just like we do at Bistro Moncur.”

Make sure you leave at least 24 hours for the brining and marinating process.

Bistro Moncur’s spatchcock persillade

Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 7 hours brining, 12 hours marinating and 5 minutes resting
Cooking time: 20 minutes

550ml water
32g salt
4 butterflied spatchcocks (approximately one whole chicken per serving, size 5)
80ml grapeseed oil
20g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
10g garlic, finely chopped
20g koji (optional; alternatively, use 10g umami seasoning like Tony Schifilliti’s)
10ml vegetable oil

To make the brine, bring water and salt to a boil in a saucepan, then take off the heat and allow it to cool. Once cooled, pour the brine over the spatchcocks, ensuring they are completely submerged. Let the spatchcocks brine for 7 hours. Drain the spatchcocks and pat them dry with paper towel.

To make the persillade marinade, blend grapeseed oil, flat-leaf parsley, garlic and koji (or umami seasoning) in a blender until the mixture is finely chopped and well combined. Rub the marinade over the spatchcocks, ensuring they are evenly coated. Allow the spatchcocks to marinate for a minimum of 12 hours.

Once ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220°C.

Heat vegetable oil in a non-stick pan. Once the oil is hot (but not smoking), add the spatchcocks, skin side down, to the pan. Caramelise the skin until it achieves a light colour.

Transfer the spatchcocks to a wire rack and place them in the preheated oven. Cook for 10 minutes or until the spatchcocks are cooked through.

Allow the spatchcocks to rest for 5 minutes before serving with seasonal vegetables.