In terms of lifespan, restaurant years are not unlike dog years, in that one year in the cut-throat and often ruthless world of hospitality equals about ten in human life. So the fact that Bistro Moncur – the classic French restaurant located in leafy Woollahra, which opened its doors to the public back in 1993 – is still open and thriving today, deserves, in our opinion, several glasses of Champagne (at the very least). À votre santé!
So, how in the world have they done it? Through good-old fashioned hospitality, care for the local community, and an absolute commitment to offering sophisticated French cuisine showcasing the very best in Australian produce, it seems.
Located inside the Woollahra Hotel, the space features a striking black-and-white full-length mural by artist Michael Fitzjames and a grand, domed wooden ceiling. White tablecloths, dark furniture and pristine glassware complete the look, resulting in a timeless, elegant dining room and the perfect place to experience life’s many great moments.
The service at Bistro Moncur, led by restaurant manager Simon Tebbs, is unwavering, professional and warm. Tebbs has over two decades of experience and has been with Bistro Moncur since 2016. He prides himself on the fact that his team knows all the locals' names – and their orders – off by heart (including one guest's love of mashed peas).
Though really, it’s the exceptional food and award-winning wines that has continued to lure guests back throughout three decades, beginning with the original menu by the esteemed Damien Pignolet, co-founder and original executive chef of Bistro Moncur. Today, head chef Tom Deadman (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, the Dolphin) heads up the kitchen, taking inspiration from his time living in France to continue to evolve the menu. Deadman’s new dishes include fromage blanc (fresh cheese) with zucchini flower, Roman beans and nasturtium; confit cured salmon with radish, sorrel, verjus and salmon roe; and Margra lamb cutlet with shoulder croquette, ratatouille and olive jus.
Many of Bistro Moncur’s original hits are also still on the menu – Deadman jokes the locals won’t let him take any off. There's the French onion soufflé gratin; steak tartare with bitter leaves, fermented green chilli and pommes allumettes (fries); and ‘Millions of Peaches’ dessert with peach and whipped white chocolate ganache, fresh peach and peach verbena sorbet. To drink, the 100-strong, forever-changing wine list showcases local and small scale producers.
To celebrate 30 years, Bistro Moncur is going all out by hosting three events, kicking off with a ‘Celebration of the Bistro Moncur Menu’ on Wednesday, April 26. Expect an all-star line-up of previous and current Bistro Moncur chefs cooking on the evening with Pignolet and Deadman, as well as Jason Roberts (head chef 1998-2002) and Tom Walton (head chef 2008-2011). The nostalgic four-course dinner with matching wines will cost $350 per person.
The second event will be taking place on Thursday, June 22, with Bistro Moncur hosting a ‘French Winter Feast’ with matching wines for $350 per person. Looking towards the future, Deadman will prepare a decadent menu showcasing truffle, preserved summer fruits and premium locally sourced ingredients. Keep your eyes peeled for a final event in October, with further details announced soon.
The past three decades have seen trends come and go, and a hot new thing on everyone’s lips each week. Throughout it all, Bistro Moncur has been there, flowing with the times while staying true to its core, and consistently delivering a beautiful and memorable experience for guests. And that really is what it’s all about. Happy birthday, Bistro Moncur. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next 30. Make a booking here.