Back in 2020, hospitality group Sydney Collective (The Morrison, Watsons Bay Hotel and more) won the tender to open an eatery in the legendary waterfront space in Circular Quay that housed Sydney Cove Oyster Bar for more than 30 years. The heritage building was once a toilet block, before being converted into one of Sydney’s premier pieces of restaurant real estate.

Now, Sydney Collective has announced it’ll use the space to open Whalebridge, a French-inspired restaurant, in early May. It will be led by Will Elliott – a chef with a formidable background. He was last at subterranean French bistro Restaurant Hubert, and worked the pans at landmark London restaurant St John. He’s also spent time in the kitchen at top Melbourne diner Cumulus Inc.

Elliott will be putting his experience to good use at Whalebridge, unleashing traditional French techniques on a seafood-heavy menu. Expect whole-lobster thermidor, a caviar menu, steak frites, soufflé and other French classics executed with a deft modern touch. Here’s what else he has in store.

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What’s your new job title?
Executive chef of Whalebridge. I’ll be working with and developing a team of amazing chefs and kitchen porters over two sites (we’ve taken on a production kitchen in Woolloomooloo also) to deliver our French-leaning menu, as well as driving the menu growth and building relationships with suppliers.

Why did you decide to move to Whalebridge and Sydney Collective?

I chose Sydney Collective before I knew anything about Whalebridge. Speaking to the existing team, I knew straight away that we were aligned on values. The opportunity to take on a site that already means so much to so many people in Sydney and do something new and exciting with it was the cherry on top.

Do you have any fun plans or ideas for your new role?
I’m really excited to be a part of a group with such varied venues; not every idea has to fit Whalebridge’s brand. With a dozen other venues, and more to come, there’s so much space to be creative in and so much great talent to collaborate with.

Will you bring along any dishes or ideas you’re known for?

Dan Pepperell and James MacDonald at Hubert gave me a passion for reaching into the past for overlooked classics of French cuisine, and looking at them with a modern lens. It’s something I’ll continue doing at Whalebridge, and it’s the core of what excites me about the menu there.

Will we see any cool ideas or dishes that you think will thrill diners?

Our house specialities are all larger format, sharing dishes. I love the way food brings people together, and we have such an amazing space by the harbour for people to come together in.