Review: Dec 2018
Published by foodandtravel.com.au
A small suburban shopping strip of Elanora Heights, in Sydney, is not where you would expect to find an outpost of France. In fact, as we step inside Frenchies Brasserie the impression is so strong that if I knew French I would have to automatically begin speaking it. It is difficult to believe that we are still in the Northern Beaches region of Sydney rather than, perhaps, the Gare Nord in Paris, for instance.
Restaurant manager, Muriel Daydé meets us with a smile at the door and shows us to our table under a huge mirror. Born in Toulouse, we later learn that prior to joining the team at Frenchies, she worked at Pilu, Freshwater and Akuna Bay for a decade, and now capably manages the front of house staff.
It is obvious that much planning and care has taken place to ensure Frenchies’ success. On the wet and windy night we visit, the restaurant is packed. It’s noisy too, but at that ‘we’re having fun and enjoying this’ level. The dishes are modestly priced and are paced well, allowing us enough time to relax and talk between courses.
In any fine French restaurant, fresh produce is king, and Frenchies is no exception. My hiramasa kingfish was market-fresh and succulent, perfectly cooked and complemented by a delicate fennel salad with green asparagus. More traditional, my partner’s meltingly tender duck confit and grand-mére potatoes was classic flavoursome French cuisine.
Signature dishes include the mouth-watering St Agur twice-baked soufflé, steak with frites and Frenchies Brasserie signature sauce, duck confit, Moules à la Provençale and Café Gourmand, a tasting selection of desserts.
Chef Fabian Oliveau is visible in the open kitchen to one side of the restaurant. He has worked with inspirational chefs around the world including Joel Robuchon at his eponymous 3-Michelin Star restaurant in Las Vegas, France’s award-winning Claude Le Tohic, and Maxime Deschamps at the Relais & Chateaux property Le Toiny in St Barths, the Caribbean. He was previously Sous Chef at The Centennial in Sydney, working with Justin North, and prior to that was Sous Chef at l’Etoile, Sydney, working with Manu Feildel.
Now it is quite plain that he is enjoying this opportunity to add his own unique twist to classical French cuisine and showcase some innovative dishes.
By definition, one of the main drawcards of a fine French brasserie is its bar and beverages. Frenchies Brasserie is the vision of David Singer who, after many years’ experience in the wine industry as managing director/chief operating officer of a privately-owned wine retailer could see the potential.
“During my time travelling through France, I discovered my passion for the brasseries in the back streets of Paris, and I wanted to recreate this back home on the Northern Beaches,” he says.
And where would any brasserie be without its wines? Frenchies’ exciting wine list incorporates the old world and the new – from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and the US, and curated carefully by David Singer.
The success of any restaurant balances on many supports. Get any one of these wrong and the others suffer – often to such an extent that everything topples. The food, the winelist, the service are all vital to success, and Frenchies has nailed each one.
There is one other major component, though, and that is ambience, essential for a restaurant to succeed, and this too Frenchies provides with aplomb. Mais oui!
Frenchies Brasserie, Shop 3, 54-56 Kalang Road, Elanora Heights, NSW, 2101. Phone: 02 9907 2528. Open for le dîner from 5pm till late Tuesday to Sunday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays.