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Hervé's Restaurant and Bar

Restaurateur and entrepreneur Hervé Dudognon is serving up French-inspired dishes and wine in Albion's revamped timber mill.
By Sarah Ward
April 01, 2023
By Sarah Ward
April 01, 2023

Just a few short years ago, grabbing a bite or having a drink beneath the Fortitude Valley side of the Story Bridge simply wasn't possible. Now, Howard Smith Wharves is one of the city's most popular spots. Restaurateur and entrepreneur Hervé Dudognon knows that first-hand, after holding leadership positions at the precinct — and, hopping over to Albion's transformed 100-year-old timber mill for his new venture, he's helping to weave that magic twice.

At Craft'd Grounds, Dudognon is the co-founder and namesake of French restaurant and bar Hervé's, which heroes French-inspired food and wine. The aim: to give the city a homely, relaxed but still world-class eatery that nods to Europe but also embraces Australian culture. "The vision has always been to create a community destination — an extension of your home that's warm and inviting," he explains.

Husband and wife executive chef duo Alex and Chris Norman oversee the kitchen — with Chris as Executive Chef and Alex as Executive Pastry Chef. Between them, the pair boasts The Square restaurant and Ritz Hotel in London, plus The Bridge Room, Merivale Group, The One & Only Resort, Palazzo Versace and Emporium Group in Australia on their resumes. Given that Dudognon's career includes stops at the Hotel De Crillon in Paris, Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, and Palazzo Versace and Merivale Group as well, the Hervé's team isn't short on hospitality experience.

The venue's food range favours top produce sourced both locally and abroad — including  Fraser Island crab, Appellation oysters done two ways and a decadent Australian shellfish bouillabaisse. Among the other menu highlights, chartreuse cured ocean trout, rock lobster ravioli and black angus steak tartare sit among the smaller options, alongside roast duck and a butcher's cut of beef to share, plus kingfish with confit leek and cannellini beans among the mains.

On the wine lineup, the bar is pouring Australian, French and other international vino from eco-conscious winemakers.

Decor-wise, Byron Bay-based interior designer Katie Cameron has given top-floor space an intimate, homely feel. Think: timber aplenty — befitting the building's history — as well as terrazzo, soft lighting and textured fabrics, plus a clear view into the kitchen and its wood-fired oven.

Images: Markus Ravik.

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