French chef Philippe Mouchel and his succulent rotisserie-cooked chickens, which garnered a cult following at PM24, return to the CBD on Friday, June 23.
You'll find his namesake restaurant, Philippe, in the basement-off-Collins that was previously Brooks of Melbourne (and once David Malouf's MoMo and Jamie Oliver's Fifteen) – a mod-French bistro with a raw bar that's very Paris-right-now.
Mouchel's imported more than just an embossed zinc bar top (a very good spot for an aperitif); he's recruited Burgundy national Aurelien Gransagne, previously of two Michelin-starred L'Esperance, as his chef de cuisine.
Together they've created a menu that makes good use of the aforementioned rotisserie – the first thing you see when you walk in the door – and throws around comforting buzzwords such as foie gras, escargot and souffle.
Front of house maestro Tim Sawyer, previously at Bella Vedere in the Yarra Valley, oversees the split-level dining room. It's been given a bit of a spruce-up with the help of Crosier Scott Architects but the foundations are the same – soft leather banquettes line the wood-floored room and a wall of plants brings a little sunshine to the subterranean space.
A reasonably sized wine list sports a selection of champagne, of course, and a 50/50 representation of French and Australian producers, but it's the pre-dinner drinks list you should have your eye on, with oyster-friendly sherries and vermouths.
Open Mon-Wed noon-3pm, 5pm-10pm; Thu noon-3pm, 5pm-11pm; Fri noon-3pm, 5pm-midnight; Sat 5pm-midnight.
115 Collins Street, Melbourne, 03 8394 6625, philipperestaurant.com.au