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Chez Crix

  • Restaurants
  • Prospect
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Some of the plates at Chez Crix
    Photograph: Supplied
  2. The fish dish at Chez Crix
    Photograph: Supplied
  3. The sign outside the Cricketers Arms Hotel
    Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

The Cricketer’s in Surry Hills has long been a pub for the youths and the young at heart. Uni students, skaters, hospo workers – as well as those sniffing out a drink on the way home from the Sydney Cricket Ground. So a French(ish) bistro is quite a departure for the pub’s upstairs restaurant. A welcome departure, we learn, when we dine at the newly opened Chez Crix one Friday night. 

Boozers, never fear: the downstairs pub crowd is still your standard Cricketer’s crew, and that space is still the same. Upstairs, though, it’s a different story, with a mix of Boomer couples on dates and hip Millennials in small groups. As we head into the small upstairs bar for a pre-dinner cocktail, we see a painting of a chubby-faced man wearing an olive wreath crown and red lipstick, smoking a cigar and cheers’ing a cocktail. It’s a motif represented throughout the venue, and it gives the impression that although the diner has Frenchified, this is still a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s still a little bit loose.  

Chez Crix is not your standard French bistro. In fact, the team gets on the front foot ahead of naysayers with a disclaimer on their reservations page stating: “*we are not French.” Head chef Antoine Vassallo (Suzie Q Coffee and Records), along with Wesley Cooper Jones (from the Old Fitz and P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants) and publican Dominic Juillet just serve up French-style dishes. The menu starts with nibbles like LP’s saucisson (a French-style salami) with guindillas (Basque peppers); and moves through to an entrée section featuring croquettes and terrine; followed by mains such as a roast chook, a cheese burger and, of course, steak frites. 

We start with burrata – possibly the least French thing on the menu – but it’s hard to go past the soft and creamy cheese. It comes disguised under a dress of vibrant beetroot chunks and delicate orange nasturtium petals. The coffee-roasted beetroot gives the dish an earthy yet sweet punch, and it’s gone in seconds. 

Next, we move onto the mushroom vol-au-vent, and we’re pleased to discover that it’s a more sophisticated dish than the white-sauce-heavy pastry cups that our gran used to serve up at her soirées. One big, flaky vol-au-vent pastry shell comes filled with a pile of glossy button and shimeji mushrooms, topped with fresh tarragon, dill and parsley – all cooked to soft, buttery, garlicky perfection. Between the mushrooms and the pastry is a bed of duxelles, a flavour-rich paste made up of mushrooms minced with onions, herbs, pepper and – yep – more butter. We will be attempting this one at our next soirée.

For mains, we share a big yellowbelly flounder fillet, which comes topped with hundreds of tiny, salty capers and bathed in a delightfully rich yet tangy butter and lemon sauce. It comes with McDonald’s-thin French-style fries, and we spend the rest of the evening dipping them in the rich, lemony juice – as well as in the miso mustard dressing of the leaves we order on the side.  

We’re in Surry Hills, so it's only natural that the wine list – or “Piss List”, as it’s titled – heroes pet nats. We go for a French sparkling rosé called Moussamoussettes – which is rosy and sweet, but not too sweet – because GM Jackson Duxbury (formerly of t​he Agrarian Kitchen and Franklin, both in Tasmania) tells us it’s his absolute favourite. It’s a party in our mouth, and it certainly helps kick-start the Friday-night vibes. 

By the time we’ve mopped up all the butter from each plate, the volume of the room has moved up more than a few notches; it’s well and truly buzzing, a little bit loose, and we realise we’re having a really great time. For non-French people, the crew at Chez Crix certainly does a good job of serving up delicious Frenchy food with a big, fat side of joie de vivre.

Looking for more Surry Hills restaurants? Here's our guide to the best of bunch.

Keen to sink a drink at a pub? Here's our list of the best pubs in Sydney.

Alice Ellis
Written by
Alice Ellis


Cricketers Arms Hotel
106 Fitzroy St
Surry Hills
View Website
Opening hours:
Daily, 5.30pm-late
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