Watch out Chinatown, Woollahra is coming after you. The exclusive eastern suburb's white-bread food reputation is finally set to be rewritten, with French bastion Claude's reopening in late September as the pan-Asian Red Rabbit, and the Buzo team also plotting an Asian restaurant for the neighbourhood.
Claude's staid green exterior will be painted red and a DA has been lodged to increase the size of the small window frontage - which has discreetly hidden generations of diners from Oxford Street foot traffic. The Claude's faithful might cough up their souffle at news Red Rabbit wants a bench on the street for takeaway customers.
Phillip Haw, the Claude's co-owner behind the Red Rabbit revolution, says Asian food has long been under-represented in an area with a large body of sophisticated diners.
"[Gallery owner] Tim Olsen was eating at Claude's and made the comment that if we did duck pancakes there would be lines out the door," Haw says. Dishes will be priced between $5 and $25 and Red Rabbit will have a weekend yum cha service.
Haw says they have been playing to packed audiences since announcing Claude's will close, so he has extended its closing season to September 14. Red Rabbit opens on September 25.