Artist Brett Whiteley put Lavender Bay on the map with his paintings. Now Loulou is looking to do the same for French food in the harbourside suburb.
Loulou opens in August at 61 Lavender Street, close to the famous garden Whiteley's widow, Wendy, created in the postcode.
Sebastien Lutaud, culinary director at Loulou owner Etymon Projects, has pulled together a promising team for the sprawling project, which will see a French bistro next door to a boulangerie and traiteur.
Head chef Billy Hannigan spent eight years at The Ledbury in London, and was more recently chef at Bistro Guillaume in the Sydney CBD. General manager Lucas Christofle joins from Half Acre in Melbourne, while bar manager Colin Tam has Charlie Parker's on his CV and sommelier Shun Eto worked at Icebergs.
"We really want to be that great local, somewhere you can grab a chocolate croissant in the morning. The bakeries in Sydney seem to close early, we want to offer a fresh baguette after work like you can get in France," Lutaud says.
To that end, Loulou has snared Brendon Woodward (Chouquette Boulangerie, Bread Ahead) who Lutaud describes as a "bread geek". "His passion and knowledge for bread is amazing," he says.
They are also hoping to forge a new definition for local French bistro food. "Not as creamy and buttery or heavy, something a little more Sydney," Lutaud says.