The team behind Devon Cafe and Dopa has opened Bistro Nido, a restaurant where Japanese and French influences collide – with fascinating, theatrical consequences. Start with roasted duck breast with Kyoho grapes and jus, before moving onto crepes Suzette set on fire then lathered in Grand Marnier-orange sauce.
“Both our chefs, Zacharay [Tan] and Markus [Andrew], have strong backgrounds in French cuisine, and all our venues have Japanese influences,” Noni Widjaja, the co-owner of Devon Hospitality Group, tells Broadsheet. “So, we thought, why not put the two together?”
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All come together in the roasted duck breast. “It’s two weeks in the making, from blanching the duck, then dry-aging it, then roasting it whole, then carving it, and finishing it on charcoal,” says Tan. “It pairs well with Kyoho grapes. They have a lot of sweetness, so we pickle them to get a sweet and sour flavour that cuts through the duck’s fattiness. We serve it with jus and French foie gras.”
Another decadent dish is the Wagyu oyster blade. It’s a full-blood cut with a marble score of 9+, dry-aged in-house, then accompanied by red wine jus. “It’s so tender, it literally melts in your mouth when you bite into it,” says Widjaja. Then there’s the seasonal pasta. It’s currently casarecce, with egg yolk, parmesan and a variety of Asian mushrooms, including king browns and shimeji.
The signature dessert is a French classic, the crepes Suzette – but with a creative twist. It arrives as a long roll, filled with mascarpone cream and mandarin, then is flambéd (covered in alcohol and set on fire) and doused in a sauce of Grand Marnier, orange reduction, orange peel, butter and sugar.
When it came to the wine list, the team jetted off to France for ideas. “I wanted to learn more about Burgundy,” says Widjaja. “When I came back, I asked for French wine only.”
Consultant sommelier, Louella Mathews (Trippas White), put together a collection covering France’s famous wine regions, with a few Australian takes on French varietals thrown in. Meanwhile, Wen Wang (Maybe Sammy) brought his mixology powers to the cocktail list. The hero is the Nido de L’Amour, a refreshing, bubble-topped concoction of sloe gin, house-made gooseberry jam, makrut lime juice, and apple juice.
“Inside, we wanted to create a cosy, warm, comfortable ambience,” says Widjaja of Bistro Nido’s design. That’s achieved by a velvet-backed banquette, black-and-gold marble bar, warm timbers, and a “French cafe vibe” soundtrack. Outside, white seating and wall lighting create a brighter feel. There’s space for 40 diners all up.
“We haven’t done something like this before,” says Widjaja. “We wanted to elevate our group a little bit, and to be creative – to try things and push the boundaries.”
501 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9283 9762
Wed & Thu 5.30pm–10pm
Fri & Sat midday–3pm, 5.30pm–10pm