It’s nice to meet someone who’s completely and unreservedly engaged in what they’re doing. For Vincent de Soyres, it’s about beer; Thomas Cauquil it’s charcuterie, or for both of them, anything related to their new venue Frenchies Bistro and Brewery.
The two friends have spent most of the last decade thinking, talking about (while in Kamchatka, a remote peninsula off Russia, no less) and planning the Rosebery restaurant and brewery. Ahead of its opening (in August) – we had a menu preview.
“There will be a core range of five beers, each focused on a different terroir. We'll have a German kolsch, a New Zealand pilsner, an American pale ale, an old world IPA and Australia red rye ale,” says de Soyres. “We will get different terroirs by using different ingredients from each country. So, for the kolsch every ingredient will come from Germany.”
Each season there will also be a Bière de Garde, a traditional high-alcohol northern French ale. “We will have a blonde, amber, red and black depending on each season. They're malt focused, quite fruity and complex but very easy drinking.” On top of that there’ll be a new beer each month bringing the total output to be about 21 different beers in a year.
Unlike almost every other brewery in Sydney though, homebrews won’t be the only option. “We're trying to work a lot with Australian wines, trying to source them as locally as possible. Some from South Australia but most from around here,” de Soyres says they’re interested in sourcing from organic and biodynamic producers.
“We also have some really premium spirits. We have two bottles of cognac, one from 1904 – there’s very few bottles of that left in the world – and one from 1971.” The former, a historical bottle no longer for sale, will sell for more than $200 a shot. “The idea is just to have a taste of history, a taste of how they used to make it,” says de Soyres.
Incredibly, they’ll also be serving other people’s beers as well. They’ll have eight of their own on tap, and 16 bottles, half Australian and half from overseas.
It’s not possible to give concrete examples of what Cauquil will be plating up in the dining room upstairs as it’s going to be different every day. “It's a big demand on me but it's how I like to work,” he says. “It will just be four entrees, four mains and a couple of desserts.”
Cauquil describes the offering as simple, produce-led and seasonal. Although vague terms, they’ve come to mean a specific kind of on-trend food in Sydney: mostly a bare protein with vegetables on the side, using outstanding ingredients and technique. Cauquil’s style is bolder and it involves more sauce (something that seems to be increasingly rare in the “produce driven” camp). “There is a sauce for every dish. There should be a sauce for every dish.” It will be French bistro-style but without the old-school dishes.
Downstairs it will be cheese (a rotating list of seven varieties, mostly from Australia or France) and charcuterie. Cauquil worked under Arnaud Nicolas, one of France’s leading charcuterie chefs. Imagine textural French terrines, mousses, rillettes and pâté en croûte (a puff pastry loaf stuffed with terrine). “I will be smoking a lot of fish as well, salmon, bonito and other things.”
Cauquil’s brother is similarly specialised but in bread. “We'll have all sorts of bread depending on the dish. We'll usually have a sourdough but some days we'll use the malt from the brewery to make some special breads,” says Cauquil.
It’s at the centre of Rosebery’s new Saporium development. On the ground floor you’ll be able to sit at a long bar, which looks into Cauquil’s surprisingly small kitchen, or at one of the high tables, which shows de Soyres’ brews in progress. Take a moment to look at the carpentry too, it’s all by de Soyres’ dad. “He made all the tables, the wooden floors, everything but the seats. He lives in the Loire Valley around an oak forest. He even cut the trees. This is like a little piece of home.”
The upstairs mezzanine is more of a traditional restaurant. The light timber dining tables and an open-air design (which allows light to flood the space) make it feel very casual.
Frenchies Bistro and Brewery
6–7/61–71 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery
0434 031 733
Monday - Thursday 11.30am–10pm