Manon is an ambitious new brasserie by Manny Spinola and Marco Ambrosino – the former co-owner of Sydney icons 10 William St and Fratelli Paradiso. The pair also own Lola's Level 1, a Bondi restaurant that had the misfortune of opening in between Delta and Omicron waves. (Visit if you can, it's great.)
Manon's timing, on the other hand, couldn't be better. Right now, it feels like Sydney's the busiest it's been in two years. It's not raining, the year's in full swing, and Vivid is back. It's the perfect time to welcome a new restaurant to the city-centre, and Manon, which opens today at the base of the QVB, is that restaurant.
Head chef Thomas Boisselier comes to Australia after two years working as deputy head chef of three Michelin-starred restaurant Hôtel et Spa du Castellet. Brasseries in Paris are renowned for their far-ranging, crowd-pleasing menus of French classics, and Boisselier's menus are no different.
At breakfast, there's a range of pastries, baguettes, tartines, and omelets available – alongside classics such as Croque-monsieur and Croque-madame, and fun dishes like a plate of seasonal fruit. That eventually gives way to a lunch menu that includes Brittany-style crepes, burgers, club sandwiches and a salad niçoise.
The evening menu is split between a raw bar rife with caviar, oysters and other fruits de mer; and typical French entrées and mains (including the all-important steak frites). There's a range of appealing prix fixe set menus, too.
The wine list, curated by sommelier Harry Hunter, boasts some 400 bottles of mostly French labels, as well classic cocktails, house signatures and a variety of French aperitifs and digestifs. There are also plenty of Champagnes available by the glass.
Enjoy your drink outdoors – the entrance to the QVB, by the state of Queen Victoria, always delivers the people-watching goods – or take a seat in one of the red-leather booths inside. The interiors, by H&E Architect Chris Grinham, do justice to the grand dining rooms of Paris's Belle Epoque era as well as the QVB's Romanesque Revival bones.
Gourmet Traveller visited Manon this morning, and it's already packed. We suggest making a booking or heading in from next week onwards, to allow the team the chance to get into a good rhythm.
Manon Brasserie opens on Friday June 10.