For almost 30 years, Woollahra’s Bistro Moncur has delivered an elegant French dining experience to Sydneysiders in a dramatic bunker-like space lined with a graphic black-and-white mural by artist Michael Fitzjames. A number of chefs – including founding chef, the esteemed Damien Pignolet – have led the kitchen. And the latest is recently appointed head chef Tom Deadman.

London-born Deadman brings a packed CV to the Bistro Moncur table, including time at then-Michelin-starred restaurant Read’s in Kent, England; French-accented Surry Hills brasserie Becasse; and Woollahra’s Hotel Centennial.

Deadman speaks to Broadsheet about what’s in store for Bistro Moncur – from how a recent nine-month trip to France will inform his menu, to why simplicity is key.

Never miss a Sydney moment. Make sure you're subscribed to our newsletter today.


What’s your new job title?
I am now head chef at Bistro Moncur. It will involve running the incredible kitchen, which has been a Sydney institution for almost 30 years. We have very strong core chefs here; I will be learning from them about the menu as much as they will [be learning] from me and my experience. It is my job to harness their talent and take us to the next phase of Bistro Moncur. I will focus on using Australian premium produce to bring fresh, seasonal dishes, and new and evolving weekly specials, while the local favourites will continue to please. I am planning to layer on more and more innovative dishes that will surprise and delight.

Why did you decide to take up this role at Bistro Moncur?
What drew me to Bistro Moncur was its longstanding history and the opportunity to run an iconic Sydney kitchen. I know this restaurant, and I know this area and its people – my wife worked on the floor years ago and I’ve worked with Simon [Tebbs, restaurant manager] before – so it’s always had a place close to my heart. It’s a privilege to be able to work with this long-established team and be surrounded by people who are as passionate about good dining as I am. I’m looking forward to adding my take to this famous menu, and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be involved and hopefully give it its best era yet.

Do you have any fun plans or ideas for your new role?
I recently travelled to France for nine months, alongside my [French] wife, and discovered more traditional dishes and techniques. I plan to honour the legacy of Moncur’s hero dishes, while drawing inspiration for the new menu from dishes local to my wife’s region of France, along with dishes from coastal towns in the south of France.

Will you bring along any dishes or ideas you’re known for?
I believe simple flavours speak loudest on the plate. I will be bringing this ethos to Bistro Moncur, and aim to source incredible Australian produce and cook it with integrity and honour. I want to work with suppliers that share similar values and a passion for quality produce.

Will we see any cool ideas or dishes you think will particularly thrill diners?
I’m not afraid to try something different that regulars and new diners alike will love. I also enjoy creating memorable dishes that utilise outstanding produce. Recently I have added a slow-cooked duck breast to the menu, where we take the legs from the duck and make a ballotine with orange, Armagnac and sage. It’s served with a potato galette and honey-and-clove jus, and I can’t make enough of it.

So many restaurants have lost focus on desserts, the last taste left in your mouth at the end of the meal, so I am working closely alongside our pastry chefs to bring back the flavour and theatre of quality dessert fare. Watch this space.