Food News

Coming soon to Sydney: a new-wave French bistro from ex-Hubert chef Daniel Pepperell

Expect lobster frites, boudin-noir spring rolls and pasta with garlic butter and snails, plus a list of French and Australian wines.

If there’s one thing Daniel Pepperell knows, it’s how to remix European food. At Sydney’s Restaurant Hubert, the chef turned heads for serving escargot XO and kimchi gratin alongside steak frites and chicken fricassée. Later at Alberto’s Lounge, Hubert’s Italian counterpart, his butter-chicken-flavoured trippa alla Romana quickly gained must-order status.

Now, Pepperell is back with Bistrot 916; an elegant-yet-relaxed French “neo-bistro” that’s taking over the former Lotus space in Sydney’s Potts Point.

“It’s not so classical,” says Pepperell. “French bistros are pretty renowned for classics like steak frites, onion soup and terrine foie gras,” he says. “We’re still doing a few of those dishes, but with more of a modern Sydney spin.”

In Pepperell’s kitchen, new-wave French tastes like handmade pasta with garlic butter and snails; tuna tartare partnered with beef-fat fried potatoes; or boudin-noir spring rolls – house-made blood sausage wrapped in brik pastry, fried then served with an apple cider dipping sauce.

Expect a line-up of seafood-centric dishes too, plus “lots of spice and chilli” says Pepperell. “We’ve got a lobster frites with a shellfish oil that we’ve hit with curry powder and tarragon at the end.”

In the kitchen Pepperell will be joined by chef Michael Clift, who’s spent the past eight years at Rockpool Dining Group. Former Swillhouse group sommelier Andy Tyson (Alberto’s, Hubert) will work the floor.

“I never get tired of making new wine lists,” said Tyson in a statement. “There are always new producers doing new, exciting stuff. Wines are just getting better and better.” There are some 200 drops on the list, and it’s French-centric, of course – grower Champagne from up north, white Burgundy and Chablis from the mid-regions, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape down south. A selection of Australian newbies are also set to be thrown into the mix.

And while Bistrot 916 will find itself in the same neighbourhood as French restaurants Bistro Rex and Francas, Pepperell believes there’s always room for one more.

“We’ve wanted to do something for a while,” says Pepperell. “We were initially thinking a pizzeria, but this site popped up and French just fitted the concept,” he says. “It’s going to be super relaxed and fun.”

Bistrot 916 is set to open on Friday 5 February.

22 Challis Ave, Potts Point, NSW,

Open for lunch Fri–Sun, dinner Mon–Sun

Related stories