"If you turn right when you come in, you're somewhere in the south of France; turn left and there's a sense of the West Indies." That's how Bathers' Pavilion new co-owner Ian Pagent describes the interior at the landmark Sydney restaurant.
The Balmoral restaurant was finally unveiled this month, with its new Luchetti Krelle interior just one of many changes since owner Serge Dansereau nabbed a new 20-year lease earlier this year.
The veteran chef brought in Pagent – who runs a car dealership empire and was involved in the seminal MG Garage – as a 50-50 partner. They also shook up the crew, drafting a posse of new talent, including former St Claude's chef Cameron Johnston.
"The focus on the food is clean and elegant, not too busy. Down here, the view is the star of the show; we're not in a back street in Surry Hills," Johnston says.
Rarely spotted in Sydney these days, bouillabaisse is the dish Johnston pinpoints as a potential hero at the reimagined Bathers. The Murray cod receives a clever mix of wasabi, horseradish and mustard cress.
While the restaurant is priced at $90 for two courses ($110 for three), Bathers' maintains its two-tier approach, with new recruit Charles Woodward overseeing the more affordable bistro area.
Pagent has curated a new-look art collection for Bathers', with pieces from big-name Australian artists such as Jeffrey Smart.
"There's also one from the 1970s by Ken Done as a salute to a local artist," Pagent says.
Bistro, restaurant, lounge and terrace open various hours.
4 The Esplanade, Mosman, 02 9969 5050, batherspavilion.com.au