Deep in the belly of Sydney's Restaurant Hubert lies the Theatre Royal, normally reserved for private dining and events, but soon to become the stage for a series of quarterly dinners that look at French cuisine's influence around the world. La Belle France kicks off next week with a rich French-Canadian feast by chef Dan Pepperell, who'll be crafting five- to six-course menus that loosely reference the culinary traditions of former French colonies. Next up is Vietnam in June followed by Morocco and Polynesia later in the year.
"All the dinners we're doing relate back to France and how each country talks to the other," Pepperell says. "It's more of an interpretation, a Hubert mash-up."
For the Québécois edition, expect bagels laden with fromage blanc and Sterling caviar and a poutine that features foie gras gravy, as well as more classical fare that reflects the decadence French-Canadian cuisine is known for. Foie gras and braised rabbit will be wrapped in caul fat to form a crépinette, which is then finished with a blood sauce, roasted flounder comes with a Noilly Prat beurre blanc and, for dessert, Pepperell will serve tarte au sucre, a triple-threat of maple syrup, sugar and treacle.
Never ones to do things by halves, the Hubert crew will be inviting four-piece house band the Huberts to take the stage, while cocktails will be created especially for each dinner. There's also the option of matched wines. For the first dinner, expect plenty of producers from Quebec and the chance to try a Canadian ice wine.
La Belle France dinners
French Canadian, 26 March, 7.15pm
French Vietnamese, 4 June, 7.15pm
French Moroccan, 27 August, 7.15pm
French Polynesian, 19 November, 7.15pm
La Belle France, Restaurant Hubert, 15 Bligh St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9232 0881, restauranthubert.com, $125 per person, matched wines additional $85, all other drinks charged on consumption.