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Franca Brasserie

The former Fratelli Fresh site is now home to an elegant French bistro with steak frites, truffle ice cream and 250 wines.
By Cordelia Williamson
July 22, 2019
By Cordelia Williamson
July 22, 2019

Potts Point has seen many restaurants and bars come and go in its time, with upscale digs moving into sites previously home to the dives of The Cross's colourful yesteryear. And with the area becoming more residential (and increasingly affluent), comes the opening of more elegant-yet-casual eateries.

The ApolloCho Cho SanMonopole and the soon-to-close Billy Kwong are all fine diners that have swung open their doors in the area over the past ten years — and joining them on Macleay Street is Franca, a modern French brasserie, which has opened in the former Fratelli Fresh.

With its moniker derived from lingua franca — a common language adopted by those whose native languages are different, historically a mix of Italian, French, Greek, Arabic and Spanish — Franca takes cues from all corners of the Mediterranean, though it leans heavily on France.

Helmed by ex-Est and Bathers' Pavillion Chef Alexis Besseau, the menu features reinvented French classics, be it a niçoise salad with sashimi-style tuna or Besseau's seasonal take on soufflés.

For entrees, expect Gallic staples like foie gras ($26), beef tartare with artichoke ($26) and basil and eggplant tortellini($17), and for mains there are seasonal dishes alongside steak frites ($39), spanner crab tagliatelle ($38) and venison à la royale ($46) — a classic game dish eaten by French aristocrats traditionally made with hare, foie gras and bacon — for the committed Francophiles among us.

Pastry Chef Travin Dehoedt (Bennelong, Bistro Guillaume) is whipping up tasty creation for dessert, including a flaky hazelnut millefeuille ($17), pillowy passionfruit soufflé with popcorn ice cream ($17) and a decadent baked chocolate tart with truffle ice cream ($18)

As well as the a la carte menus, the restaurant also has a dedicated vegan one, a supper menu (available from 10pm till midnight) and two three-course set menus: Le Classic ($85) and Le Modern ($90).

A lengthy cocktail list features European classics made with local ingredients, such as the Hiking in Provence ($20) with peppercorn-infused tequila and pineapple juice, and The Artist ($20) with coconut-infused vodka, red fruits sorbet and kaffir lime. A 250-strong wine list focuses on labels from across France, Australia and New Zealand.

While it's taking over the old Fratelli Fresh site on the ground floor of Macleay Street's Ikon building, Franca looks wildly different to its predecessor. Extensive renovations were led by Steel and Stitch, the design firm behind some of Sydney's top hospo fit-outs, including Potts Point's Chula and the city's Havana-inspired Lobo Plantation, with the space now home to spacious green leather booths, red velvet chairs, an open wine cellar and lots of marble details.

Venue images: Jennifer Soo

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