Published on 6 October 2021
Having begun 2021 with the smash-hit Chancery Lane in the CBD, restaurateur Scott Pickett is bookending the year with another French-leaning venue, and has recruited one of the best names in the bistro game to bring the magic. Chef Daniel Southern, whose credits include L’Oustal, Comme and Bar Margaux, takes the reins this summer at Smith St Bistrot, offering what team Pickett has termed "an authentic French bistrot experience with a north-side edge".
The menus Southern and Pickett have drafted run to the mostly classsic likes of dry-cured French pork sausage with pickled radicchio, tuna tartare served with pommes gaufrette (aka waffle-cut chips), thermidor-style rock lobster (traditionally a creamy sauce enriched with cheese, wine, brandy, mustard and cayenne), whole flounder done with sauce gribiche, salad Lyonnaise, and a prune and Armagnac soufflé. If you can discern what the "north-side edge" is there (the pickled radicchio?), please let us know. It sounds delicious, at any rate, and if the plates Southern managed to smash out of Bar Margaux's tiny kitchen are any guide, he's in great form.
The look is described as Deco meets Gothic, which sounds like a win for Francophile fans of The Addams Family, the design executed in burgundy leather and velvet banquettes, oversized antique mirrors and brass chandeliers. Smith St Bistrot replaces Lupo, an Italian venture from Pickett, which had in turn taken the place of Saint Crispin.
The Bistrot will open for coffee from 11am, offering lunch and dinner sever days, with an express lunch option – a steak sandwich on a baguette with fries and peppercorn sauce, say, or a quiche Lorraine. Wines, meanwhile, will lean to the bio, the organic, and the minimal-intervention (northside!), complemented by a handful of cocktails.
"We want to create something that will become a Smith Street institution," says Pickett. "The menu demonstrates Daniel and my classic French training, with dishes inspired by our favourite dining experiences from all across Europe."
Smith St Bistrot, 300 Smith St, Collingwood, smithstbistrot.com.au
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