After years of being, well, on le nez, French food looks to be staging a quiet comeback in Sydney.
Following a testing period for the cuisine when a gaggle of big-name French restaurants fell, David Bitton will open Bitton Rose Bay in January, adding to a rearguard that already includes the opening this year of the French-Euro Franca at Potts Point.
Bitton has nabbed the cafe site on the corner of Plumer and O'Sullivan roads in Rose Bay, where he'll open an eastern suburbs knock-off of his pioneering Alexandria venue.
While it'll initially be open for breakfast and lunch only, the veteran chef has his eye on hitting the evening market soon after.
"I have a really good feeling we'll have a strong dinner trade," he says.
There was a period in Sydney where it felt like you were never more than a few hundred metres from a menu with duck confit on it, but in recent years major food precincts have popped up sans any French representation at all.
Bitton, who has successfully ridden through and developed a successful line of products under the Bitton banner, believes tastes are turning back to the classics.
Duck confit will be on his opening menu, along with salmon rillettes and steak frites. He has made a few modern concessions, with his version of a poke bowl. And there's L'hamburger, topped with a grilled portobello and truffled mayo.
Steffan Ippolito from IB Property says the landmark site has had a 25-year run as a cafe.
"We need to make love to it, we're really going to make something great," Bitton says.