Fitzroy's Gertrude Street has transformed again.
In great news for the north, chef Philippa Sibley has left Syracuse in Bank Place to create textbook French bistro classics at Bistro Sousou, which relocated from Brunswick Street to the corner of Napier earlier this year.
Sibley says the menu is so classic, "it's almost tongue in cheek." We're talking moules frite, warm goat's cheese salad, onion soup, steak au poivre and tarte tatin Tuesday to Saturday and breakfast at weekends, with Sibley's famous ice-cream work showing up as a chocolate-slathered sundae for two in Marimekko glasses. An upstairs cocktail bar is coming in the following weeks.
Further down, cafe stalwart De Clieu has become Gabriel. The space has had multiple owners since coffee lord Mark Dundon opened it in 2010, so when Andrew and Stephanie Skoullos took the reins late last year they plotted a rebrand that has finally come to pass.
It's mostly the same staff, but a new look of pink and turquoise candy stripes and huge vintage glass light fixtures is a hat tip to the '50s. Specialty coffee remains the focus and the refreshed menu from chef Kate Pratt still deals in Fitzroy staples from pimped oats to lunch ragu and cocktails.
Then there's Ish, a split-level modern Indian restaurant on the old Harry Monty site, which swung open doors this week. Dishes draw inspiration from the north and south of India, but take a western spin. Yellow lentil sambar mixes with mozzarella inside arancini; pork stew is spiced with Carolina Reaper chillies (declared the world's hottest), and margaritas are made with masala-spiced tequila. But the wine list is all Australian.