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Sid at The French Cafe Is Transforming into a New Mini Dining Hub in 2024

The top Auckland restaurant is undergoing a dramatic transformation in 2024, becoming a dining hub for two eateries.
By Emma Clark-Dow
December 07, 2023
By Emma Clark-Dow
December 07, 2023

One of Auckland's top restaurants, Sid at the French Cafe, is taking the philosophy of 'new year, new me' to another level by turning the gourmet establishment into an exclusive mini dining hub.

The first change is within the cafe itself. It's dropping 'Sid' from its title and changing back to simply: The French Cafe. Sid Sahrawat and his wife, Chand, switched up the original name when they bought the space from Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright in 2018.

The power couple excels at creating establishments producing South Asian cuisine, with successful restaurants like Cassia and KOL being just some of the contributions the pair has made to Auckland's food and drink scene. Sid at the French Cafe has also done pretty well for itself, placing 309th on La Liste Top 1000 restaurants, the highest spot achieved by a New Zealand restaurant.

The French Cafe's main dining space will be shifting into the room currently reserved for private dining, making way for the Sahrawats' newest venture, Anise, which will focus on modern pan-Asian cuisine. The name is a nod to Sid Sahrawat's first job as a chef in Wellington, a now-defunct restaurant of the same name.

The Sahrawats have taken inspiration from popular restaurants around the world to create Anise's menu, such as Melbourne's Supernormal and New York's Momofuku. The pair has been working alongside Sid at the French Cafe's head chef, Tommy Hope, to curate an offering filled with the "complexity and depth" of Asian food.

"I've always been a massive fan of contemporary Asian flavours [and] I have always incorporated Asian influences in the fine dining context. I am now looking forward to diving back into the robust flavours of this region and sharing them with our diners," Sid Sahrawat says.

Die-hard fans of The French Cafe can be reassured that the much-loved menu offering isn't going anywhere. The restaurant's special offerings, such as the Gaggenau Tuesday Test Kitchen and Chef Eats (where the team puts their spin on street eats each month), will all still be available.

The space around the eateries will also get a makeover, transforming into a luxury dining hub inspired by an old French quarter. Centred around a courtyard, this space will include a fireplace and outside dining, two private dining options and a bar.

The current French Cafe set-up will stay in place until Saturday, January 27, 2024, with bookings open as usual until then. The space will reopen as two separate restaurants on Thursday, February 1 — quite a tight turnaround. Anise will be taking bookings from early January.

The French Cafe is located at 210 Symonds Street, Eden Terrace and is open Thursday–Saturday for dinner. Anise will be open on Tuesday–Saturday for dinner, with both venues open for Saturday lunch.

Published on December 07, 2023 by Emma Clark-Dow
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