A stately new European-style brasserie and bar is opening in an ornate 1930s art deco building in Sydney CBD. The Charles Grand Brasserie & Bar is set to open next door to Sammy Junior, on the corner of York and King streets, on October 21.
At The Charles’s centre will be a grand reception entrance. To its right will be a sophisticated beige- and purple-hued dining room with a mezzanine-level dining space, grand art deco-style chandeliers and plenty of marble. To the left, a more casual 50-person wine bar will be open from breakfast till late night.
Etymon Projects, the group responsible for Milsons Point French boulangerie, bistro and traiteur (deli) Loulou, is behind the new venue. It’s also spearheading four new drinking and dining venues as part of a $1 billion North Sydney residential and retail development, set to open in mid-2024.
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Loulou head chef Billy Hannigan (ex-London’s Ledbury) will be crossing the bridge to oversee the new kitchen. He’ll work alongside the group’s culinary director, Sebastien Lutaud, to create a food menu that’s more broadly European than the French-focused Loulou.
“There won’t be any similar dishes that we do at Loulou. It’ll be more European with French techniques,” Lutaud tells Broadsheet, revealing there’ll be specialty dishes like you’d find brasseries in France, such as a roast beef sauced tableside with gravy jus, and crisp-skinned canard à la presse (pressed duck).
A “fast” menu will cater to the corporate lunch rush with straightforward, classic dishes such as steak and salad, and pan-fried fish. Come afternoon, a dessert trolley will roll out offering pastries, petits fours and cakes.
“We want to fill the space and let people come and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, grab some pastries or grab something savoury,” Lutaud says. “Or if they want, they can grab a bottle of champagne and have some caviar.”
There’ll also be a silver-service element at the grand brasserie, with tableside carving and saucing. “I feel that in the last five years in Sydney you’ve got these amazing restaurants, but the service is super casual. I think it’s time to bring that service element and elegance back, but not too stiff,” Lutaud says.
Visit the wine bar in the mornings for croissants and pastries, eggs Arlington served atop crumpets, and duck eggs with toast soldiers and optional caviar. From 11am a bar menu of snacks such as chicken liver parfait with cornichons and marinated sardines on fresh baguette is served, alongside heftier options like rotisserie chicken and frites, and flat-iron steaks.
Group wine director Paolo Saccone (ex-Mimi’s, Flying Fish) says the brasserie will feature an attractive French-leaning wine list boasting up to 600 bottles (50 available by the glass, including 30 under Coravin) ranging from viognier to grenache blanc and champagne (of course). The wine bar will serve a slimmer version of that, with 20 by-the-glass options.
“The concept is to re-educate guests about classic varietals, and educate them also about lesser-known varietals from France and upcoming ones from Australia,” says Saccone.
A basement lounge is also in the works, with more details to follow in the coming weeks.
The Charles Grand Brasserie & Bar is slated to open at 66 King Street, Sydney, on October 21.
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