A French meal is served heavy with expectations – whether it’s a romantic candle lit dinner for two, a group of friends gathered around bottles of Bordeaux red, or even a lone diner sitting down to people watch over a simple pastry, there’s something about French cuisine that promises a sensory delight.
And Sydney’s newest, perhaps most authentic, French bistro certainly delivers.
From the moment you walk through Bistrot Gavoche’s towering antique entranceway, you’re transported back to Lyon, or that little Parisian restaurant you returned to every night you were in town.
The newest resident on Chippendale’s Kensington Lane looks like it has been there a lifetime – indeed, the oak double swing doors are from one of Lyon’s famous restaurants, The Brasserie Georges, and were brought over with two full shipping containers worth of French antiques.
Chef Frederic Colin and his team have filled the space, which was once an old rum factory, to the hilt with objects from home. There’s the bakery shelves along one wall that co-owner, sommelier and general manager Lionel Richard picked up at a Rhone Valley antique market, and the beautiful four metre wooden table from a French silk manufacturer.
So they have the ambience right, what about the food and wine? They are right on the money, with a menu that plunges into the delicious depths of French cuisine – an impressive charcuterie, pate en croute, tartine d’os a Moelle (bone marrow on sour dough) – but with plenty of less daunting options like pretty, paper thin beetroot and goat cheese salad, hearty hanger steak and a beautifully presented pork belly confit.
The bar is just as well stocked, with an extensive wine collection that’s definitely worth perusing. Start with a Kir cocktail aperitif before moving on to the red, and saving room for a dessert wine.
Before the dessert is definitely worth saving room for – the tarte au citron meringue is pretty with pointy puffs of meringue cut with a sharp lemon custard. Flambée Crepe suzettes are another French favourite. And just when you’re fit to bursting, madeleine cakes are offered up fresh from the oven for you to nibble on over a café au lait. This is a meal that’s simply tres magnifique.
Level 1 #2-10 Kensington Street