Baguette changes hands after 37 years

Natascha Mirosch
Brisbane's oldest French restaurant, Baguette Bistrot and Bar.
Brisbane's oldest French restaurant, Baguette Bistrot and Bar. Photo: Supplied

Baguette Bistrot and Bar has been sold. The Ascot icon was opened by Francis and Marilyn Domenech in 1976 and had been for sale for some months. The Domenechs were keen to retire and spend time with family, Marilyn Domenech said at the time. Sadly Francis died last month.

New owner Emilian Jayakody took over on Monday.
"I am very excited. It's a big responsibility,"Mr Jayakody said. "I wouldn't have bought any other restaurant. I was, in fact looking for a couple of coffee shops to buy but then I saw Baguette was for sale."

Coincidentally, Mr Jayakody worked as a waiter at Baguette in 1994, then went on to train staff at Brett's Wharf, the other restaurant part-owned by the Domenechs until 1996. Since leaving Brett's Mr Jayakody has been working in the retail sector. "It's different now, my children are grown so evenings are my own. And I know hospitality and look forward to working in it again," he said.

Physical changes to the much loved local will be minimal, with a renovation of the bar at the front of the restaurant scheduled for January.

Most of the Baguette staff are staying on, including sommelier Scott Durietz who has been there for over 20 years. Former executive chef Graham Waddell has returned after a year in Melbourne working at the Newmarket Hotel and is once again heading up the Baguette kitchen.
"We've just started a new menu. It's a little more adventurous than before," he said. "I've just come back from Lyon in France, so I've definitely drawn some influences from there and put on a mix of classic and more modern dishes using local produce. My aim is to put Baguette back on the culinary map."

Details: Baguette Bar and Bistrot, 150 Racecourse Road, Ascot, 07 3268 6168