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Guillaume Brahimi's Woollahra French bistro has explanded to the lower north shore.

While the local in most suburbs is usually a hole-in-the-wall Thai joint or dingy pub with cheap nachos, in Mosman, it happens to be a high-end French bistro. Having found that a large number of regulars at the original Bistro Moncur in Woollahra were from the lower north shore suburb, the restaurant group decided to give them the classics a little closer to home. They've opened inside The Buena, which has just undergone a big refurb.

Resembling a converted greenhouse, natural light pours into the restaurant from every angle, while cushioned bench seats and a mix of small marble and wooden tables make this bistro feel like a luxury indoor garden party. But while the setting is casually chic, the menu is sophisticated and quintessentially French — one that fully showcases the technical prowess of chef Guillaume Brahimi.

There are light options like the vine-ripened tomato salad ($19) as a starter and the pan-fried salmon with baby mushrooms, zucchini and salsa verde ($44) for main — but for the full French experience, follow the butter, cheese and cream.

The French onion soufflé gratin ($24) is what cheese lovers dream of — it's essentially a bowl of melted cheese with crusty brioche bread floating in the middle to soak it all up. If it was appropriate to lick the bowl, you would.

The servings at Bistro Moncur are generous, so if you're planning to have three courses, pace yourself and share with a friend. On the other hand, c'est la vie and order the rich house-made pork sausages with potato purée and lyonnaise onions ($34) all to yourself.

Renowned for their steaks, Bistro Moncur gives you a choice of a sirloin with Café de Paris butter ($48) or a prime fillet with béarnaise sauce ($49). And of course you'll need to get a side of fries and a cracking Grenache Shiraz blend from the Corbiere region in France to go along with that. There's a sizeable book of French, Australian and New Zealand drops to choose from, signature cocktails, forgotten classics and dessert drinks like the French favourite, a glass of Pernod or Ricard pastis for your night (or lunch) cap.

But before you call it, come full circle and finish your meal with another souffle — this time mango — or a cherry pistachio bombe alaska (both $18). Because if the French don't get fat, neither should we.

Images: Alana Dimou and DL Photography. 

Published on February 02, 2017 by Alexandra Middleton

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