Moving in ... 'Guillaume' will open in the site of Darcy's restaurant in Paddington next year. The future of Darcy's is unknown. Photo: Sean Davey
Departing Sydney Opera House chef Guillaume Brahimi will open a new restaurant at the site of landmark Paddington establishment Darcy's next year.
''We finalised the deal last night,'' the chef said on Monday. ''We'll take over at the end of December and open around Easter. It'll be named Guillaume.''
Darcy's has been part of the city's restaurant landscape since 1975. It has an enviable reputation for its service and wine list, as well as high-profile wedding proposals.
Moving on from the Opera House ... Guillaume Brahimi. Photo: Marco Del Grande
The actor Russell Crowe proposed to Danielle Spencer at Darcy's in 2002, Prime Minister Tony Abbott also used the restaurant to pop the question to his wife, Margie, in 1988. It has proved popular with Channel Nine executives as a venue to sign big deals, and other members of Sydney society, from John Singleton to John Ibrahim.
Brahimi has been at the centre of a controversial exit from the Opera House, which signalled its intention this year to replace his fine dining Guillaume at Bennelong restaurant with a bistro-style operation.
The chef refused to take part in the tender, recently won by the team behind Melbourne's Stokehouse restaurant.
Fans of Brahimi's three-hatted restaurant, which closes at the end of the year, will not have to wait long to eat his food again.
''We'll keep some of the classics but I want it to be a place where people can come in for three or four courses or just one,'' Brahimi said. ''It has happened so quickly, I haven't decided exactly how it [the menu] will be.
''Like many Sydneysiders I have a strong sentimental attachment to Darcy's. My wife and I dined there to celebrate the birth of our first daughter and we loved the intimate and elegant atmosphere. We have since had many happy occasions there and we now look forward to many more to come.''