Just six months after opening, CBD semi fine-diner Bouche on Bridge has changed direction. The former executive chef and co-owner Harry Stockdale-Powell has quit; in his place comes ex-Marque head chef Joachim Borenius.
“Coming on board I saw a few discrepancies between the idea and spirit of the restaurant and was what being served on the plate,” says Borenius. Stockdale-Powell told Broadsheet after the restaurant’s opening he was hoping the restaurant would be fine dining quality but the opposite of the high end when it came to the vibe. Early criticisms of the restaurant said it was unfocused and lacking identity.
Borenius wants to take Stockdale’s original vision further. “It'll be Australian produce cooked with a French accent. I want fine dining without the fuss,” he says. “I'm not trying to change what Bouche is, I'm just trying to put it on the plate.”
In the new dishes, half of which are already available, all ingredients will be recognisable. A plate of cold smoked mussels, pickled onions, fermented and deep fried potatoes, on a bed of potato-and-mussel broth cream looks like what it is. “It's like a moules frites but with some techniques to heighten the flavour,” says Borenius.
Another of Borenius’ favourites is a pan-fried snapper served with sugarloaf cabbage braised in brown butter and fish sauce. Desserts have been switched over to more home-style dishes like a tarte tatin with blood plums and mulled wine ice-cream. For CBD workers there’s a $45–$55 lunch special, guaranteeing at least an entrée and main within 45 minutes.
Bar manager and mixologist Matt Linklater has also left the restaurant’s semi-independent bar but there have been no changes to the bar or drinks menu yet. Borenius says it will eventually be changed to suit the evolving menu.